Thursday, February 20, 2014

Introduction to Sharp and Pointy Things

The bravest thing I have ever done is willingly put a pair of safety scissors in my three-year-old's hands.

Allowing my daughter to play with scissors is a huge step along my path to conquering motherhood paranoia. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had frightening hallucinations of what could happen if either of my girls came charging into the kitchen while I was chopping vegetables. It's almost second nature now for me to always hold the cutlery high over my head as I'm moving around, even if they aren't even in the house!

My friend Stacy lets her daughter use knives! She lets her chop her own food up! The very thought of allowing my daughter anywhere near sharp pointy objects fills me with a terrible dread that I cannot even logically explain!

Something my sister-in-law said to me once sticks with me to this day, though. She's a child psychologist working for our area schools. It's her job to assess children to see if they're even ready for school or if they have any learning disabilities or may be gifted. She said to me once, "You'd be surprised the number of kids I see who don't know how to use scissors before Kindergarten."

I'll be honest here. I didn't know that was a requirement. I thought using scissors was a skill kids learned in Kindergarten! Not before they even started!

Though, it does bring back memories. I'm pretty sure I was the only kid in Kindergarten who didn't know how to tie her own shoes. I was the only one wearing Velcro. I'm pretty sure all the other kids were secretly making fun of me. I remember feeling embarrassed, for maybe the first and only time in my life, when my teacher said in an astounded voice, "You don't know how to tie your shoes?" It's the very same tone of astonishment Sarah Heren used when she asked me, in high school, "You don't believe in God?"

That's another story entirely, though.

Let's get back to talking about the terror of allowing my three-year-old to cut things. It turns out she's surprisingly very good.

It's also adorable that she has to open the scissors with both hands before she can squeeze them shut again to actually do any cutting. When we first bought her the scissors, we set her at the table with a piece of construction paper and let her go to town. But as I've been out and about at the book stores, browsing the learning sections with all the gorgeous workbooks (I wish I could afford every single one), I remember noticing one book that was all nothing but scissor skill projects.

Sunday I was sitting here at the computer working on something or other, and I thought, "Hm. I wonder if there are any free scissor skill projects online I can print?" Because we finally got more ink for our printer and why not put it to use, right? So I Googled "free scissor skills printables" and the search results came up with a large selection of web pages to browse. I clicked the first one for DLTK's Crafts for Kids to get the clown and balloons pictured above, and a small handful of other ones.

This week I learned just how frustrating it is to work with preschoolers. Maybe it's just my daughter, but she has the shortest attention span in the world. I had to tell her so many times to "stop looking at me and pay attention to what you're doing!" Trying desperately not to sound panicked because I was totally terrified that she was going to cut her fingers off. With safety scissors. I know.

The funny thing is that I found her using safety scissors even more terrifying than that one time I let her stand on the step stool and help me chop vegetables for dinner. Uh huh huh huh huh... Yeah. Not doing that again any time soon.


  1. I may let her use butter knives, but funny thing is, I'm terrified of the safety scissors too!!!

    1. Hahaha! I know the knives you let her use are super dull and everything, but there's this tiny little me inside cringing in a corner every time I see her with one. It's crazy and completely illogical on my part, I admit!

  2. I remember reading something about how other, "more primitive" cultures don't do any kind of child-proofing. They have sharp tools, hunting implements, etc. all around, and they sort of just trust the kids to figure out that, "Ow, that sharp thing hurts. I better not play with it." and the kids DO figure it out. While I am not quite *that* laid back, I do try to make myself stand back and let the kids figure some things out on their own. Safety scissors don't bother me a bit - my only fear with them is that I'll look away and they'll cut something that wasn't meant to be cut, like the furniture, or the carpet, or their clothes...