You'd think someone would invent steel-plated gloves to wear while holding ten-penny nails in place for little carpenters. But they don't, so we had a few serious words before starting.
"I need my fingers. Please pay attention while using the hammer. Look only at the nail, and take small hits"
It worked out. There was so crying, swearing, or bleeding. The lack of those things equals quality family time! For real though, Home Depot offers Saturday workshops all over the country. I just never knew. It's all free, and offers more than what meets the eye:
1. Free project on Saturday, yes.
2. Undivided attention for both of you. Nobody's looking at a phone, or ANYwhere else when hammers and nails are involved.
3. Vocabulary explosion. Words like "ten-penny nail"... holding a board "flush" with another... "aligned"..."regatta"...different types of tools and wood... you name it, millions to learn. Literally. I mean, you have been in a Home Depot, right? Whoa.
4. Assertiveness!! My thing is, you want it? You go ask for it. You want a new paint color? Go ask the lady politely for it. We even practice sometimes briefly before he gets up to ask: May I please have some blue paint? Want something from another human across the table? Ask em. Think what they're doing is cool? Tell them if you want! It will make them smile, watch!
And there's like this metamorphosis of shyness turning into assertiveness.
So much, that my child later told the cashiers at Costco out of nowhere that it had been his birthday that week. And he had a pirate party. And he was four. (Aaaaand, although I was feeling like we needed to get going since this was Costco and a jillion other people were in line, do you think I was going to put a cap on that assertiveness? No way!)
4. Hands off mommying. Literally. His hands did it. (Except holding the nails in place and reading the directions.) Who CARES if he knows the heart goes here but actually wants it THERE? Who cares if he's mixing paint? Who cares if he's "doing it right" (i.e. like a mom would)?