Last week, D was inexplicably cranky. Like, "there-isn't-enough-coffee-in-the-world," "I'm-regretting-all-my-life-choices," "we're-never-having-another-kid" level cranky.
He threw engines in the kitchen sink. He drove recently-washed engines on the curtains I was ironing, leaving wet track wrinkles behind. He spent quiet time ripping the letter F photos down from his alphabedroom wall and tearing them Langoliers-style.
I never realize it in the moment, but during these inexplicably cranky days the explanation is often pretty simple: he's bored. So he finds himself new challenges, like "can I rip this in the most methodical, eerily terrifying way?"
This week I came up with my own scary challenge. I've kept the sewing supplies on a high shelf. Because needles. Because scissors. Because electricity. But sewing supplies are endlessly fascinating: elastic is fun to pull, bobbins are fun to spin across the floor. And none of the fundamentals of sewing are all that hard. Tracing, cutting, pinning: an attentive toddler can't quite master any of these skills, but he can help with all of them.
So I grabbed some paper from our shared studio and sketched a two-piece pants pattern from an existing pair. I grabbed last year's unused Halloween fabric from my stash and we traced the pattern together. I wasn't ready to let him wield the fabric scissors, but did let him help me pin the legs together. Then I pulled him up on my lap and we started sewing.
When it came time to press the pants for hemming, I let him hold the iron. When later he still hadn't tired of sewing and we'd moved onto a second pair of pants, I had him help me "drive" by pitting his foot on top of mine.
Now kiddo is decked out for Halloween almost as early as Target is.
Our afternoon of sewing has reminded me to keep giving us new challenges. Maybe tomorrow I'll give him a chef's knife.