Friday, July 29, 2011

Alyce Helping With Her Swing Set

For the past few weekends I've been working on building Alyce and Luke a swing set. We purchased the set some time ago but were waiting on some concrete work to be done before it was to be assembled.  Now that Alyce is getting older and wants to be a builder I thought it would be fun to share the experience with her and she'd learn how to use some tools in the process.

The first few steps in construction I completed with my friend Josh's help.  The pieces were large, required some lifting, and we were under some time constraints so we kept Alyce away. Now that I'm nearing the end I wanted to include Alyce.

One night this week after dinner Alyce came out to help me.  The goal for the evening was to assemble and install the two seats for the club house and to assemble the rock climbing wall necessary to get up to the second floor of the clubhouse.  The first thing we did was to go over the instructions for this step and for me to show her what parts we needed. Alyce helped locate the tubes for the seats and helped get them in the right locations. While I was holding the pieces, she would run bolts through the holes, and I would tighten the nut on the other end.  Alyce got her first experience with a crescent wrench and its ability to adjust its size with swipe of a thumb. Getting the seats on the tubes was a little difficult. So much so that Alyce couldn't even turn the screw driver. She was a bit disappointed with that but after some encouragement she moved on.

Next we assembled the rock wall. This required lots of pieces of wood, some measuring, and driving of lots of screws. Alyce was a lot of help for me on this one. Together, working off the instructions we were able to get all of our wood lined up. I drove in a few screws to get everything lined up and after that Alyce and I shared the work. Alyce would hand me a screw for when it was time to drive in screws on my side and when it was her turn I'd start the screw and she'd use my cordless drill to drive it in the rest of the way. She didn't hold the drill correctly but I didn't mind. I also taught her the basics of reading a tape measure. I showed her how to count inches to see how far apart something was. I left fractional inches as a lesson for another day. When the wall was assembled Alyce found the rocks in the big pile of materials all by her self. By this point she was getting antsy to try out her new ladder so I rushed ahead and installed the rocks myself.

When finished I took the pieces and her out back to the assembled structure. I need to do some modifications before I can permanently affix the wall to the club house but it was still usable enough for Alyce to climb up top. She seemed very pleased with herself, however, without the slide being attached she didn't know what to do up there and wanted to get down after a minute or two. I need to hurry up and get that slide installed.

I'm really enjoying spending time with her. Sure it slows down progress but sometimes the journey is as important as the destination. I doubt she'll remember this instant but the next time Alyce sees a tape measure and knows how to use it it'll be because I've left a piece of myself with her.

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