Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I do anything to keep the kids around.

I just put M down for her nap and my super wife had just headed out for a beauty day. L asked if she could play on the computer.
"Not now love. I have a better idea."
"See the wood pile out back, under the clear tarp?"
"We are going to chop up all that wood and stack it in the garage."
No response.
"You guys get to do whatever part of the project that you want. You can start by bringing down the blue wheelbarrow. I will get the maul axe."
"Yeah! The big wheelbarrel!" Shouted T.
"Can I push one side, T?" Asked L.
"Sure." responded T.
They pushed the wheelbarrow across the yard. I laid down the biggest log to use for a base and was about to place another log on top to split. T grabbed the axe when I was not looking.
"I can split this one dad!"
He lifted the 8 pound axe and thumped it into the log. It made a much bigger dent than I ever would have thought he could at 4 years old.
"Wow, T! You almost split that log!"
He kept hitting it. Then L wanted a turn. I kept busy stacking some of the pieces that I had already split. Then I started shooting them into the wheelbarrow.
"Hey! Let me do that!" Called L.
She began filling the wheelbarrow with the split pieces of wood.
"T, can I take a swing now?"
"Sure, Dad."
I balanced a smaller piece of wood on the piece that T had been pounding. I asked the kids to stand way back because the pieces can fly. I easily whipped the axe through the air and split the wood with a direct hit. The 2 pieces went about 8 feet in opposite directions.
"Wow Dad, you were right. Those pieces do go far!"
I split a few more and then L and T wanted their turns splitting. I gathered up the wood while they diligently tried to split that piece of wood.
We moved 3 barrels full of wood into the garage. On the final piece I told the kids that they had really helped on that one.
"Guys, you got this piece started for me. It would have been much harder to split without all of your hard work."
The kids beamed. We all high fived and carried the last pieces of wood into the garage. T helped me stack while L rode her bike for a while.
"I love having you help me around the house, T."
"You are welcome, Dad."

The splitting may have taken a little longer with the kids, but it was so much more fun than doing it productively, but alone. We bonded, talked about the birds and the leaves and the cat and poop and whatever else came into our heads. I do whatever I can to keep them engaged in a project that I am working on. It is really a special time.


Josh said...

No lost fingers... Not bad.

DaveFlynn said...

The axe is pretty dull, but it would have broken them in numerous places. It is funny. Later in the day T was helping me dig up some weeds in the garden. He started swinging his spade at a tree branch and hit me square on the top of the head. I saw stars.
That was another time to stay calm. Blood started pouring down my neck, but I knew it was not a serious cut.
I told T, "Daddy will be fine. I know it was an accident."
He stayed very calm. When we got inside he even appologized for hitting me with the shovel.
I told him a story about how I pushed one of my friends into a fence while trying to catch a football. He was furious, and I did not appologize. He punched me in the nose.
T learned the value of a real, heartfelt apology and I think he also learned that accidents happen. He will not be harshly judged when he does commit a minor infraction.