What are safety scissors protecting us from?

You probably won't poke your eye out. |  gloriak2700  for Pixabay

You probably won't poke your eye out. | gloriak2700 for Pixabay

We've been reorganizing snackdinner HQ because kiddo has grown tall enough to reach my Sharpies. He's amassed an envious collection of art supplies. Classic crayons, glitter crayons, metallic crayons, scented crayons. Colored pencils. Chalk, both outdoor and indoor. Markers, both washable and sort-of washable. Finger paints, tempera paints, watercolors, and Do-a-Dot markers. So many stickers. 

As we cleared out broken crayons and added old drawings to my scrap box, we unearthed his neon-green yet long-forgotten safety scissors. Like many parents eager to skip ahead a few years to the good crafting, I'd bought the scissors imagining a mini Matisse. 

My son used them to "open" Thomas Mini blind bags for reenactments of his favorite unboxing videos. The scissors were useless for cutting plastic, but perfectly fine for pretending to cut plastic, which suited me just fine because kiddo insisted on keeping the scissors in the playroom with his empty bag collection.

The scissors found a few more uses before being lost under the art shelf. They're excellent for cutting wet spaghetti and play dough. They're not good for much else, though, because the blunt tips, blade covers, and squeezing hinge all conspire to prevent him from cutting his skin, my clothes, or our couch, but also fruit snack packaging, cereal boxes, and paper. 

Why did I buy the safety scissors anyway? The purchase lacks imagination. If I can envision a scenario in which my child accidentally stabs his eye or his friend while running around with a pointy pair of scissors, why can't I be creative enough to imagine all the ways kids can get hurt even with the safety blade? And why did I think real scissors were too dangerous to be trusted to the same child I left alone near all those tubs of paint? 

I handed over the Fiskars last month because I realized that scissors are a low-cost, low-stakes invitation to responsibility. Scissor-wielding kids can cut the tags off of new socks and open the mail. Cutting things is also just fun, which I learned when I gave kiddo a table full of cuttable things.

A month in, it's clear that paper is his medium. There are tidy piles of confetti in the living room, a solar system on the dining room floor, and a 30-piece orchestra in the office, cut while he was supposed to be helping me declutter the art supplies. 

Yes, I fear for the safety of my couch. I'm even more afraid that he'll cut his hair. But if he destroys the furniture he will learn how to fix it. If he cuts his hair it will grow back--or not, because it's his hair and really his choice how to style it anyway.