It’s the first thing he asks for in the morning. It’s the last thing he relinquishes before bed. All day long, it’s all he seems to care about.
“Skoos” – or Screws as you or I might know them – Loren is completely obsessed.
It’s not unusual for a toddler to develop a possessive obsession, favoring a particular toy, dragging a blankey around or clinging to a pacifier day-in and day-out. But a handful of screws isn’t something I’d expect to be the center of his universe.
Yet here we are.
It was almost a month ago that I showed you this picture, where Loren woke up with screws in his hands:
Nothing has changed.
The best we’ve managed to do is define screw-free areas. For example, Loren is not allowed to take screws outside. There isn’t any good reason for this other than the desire to be able to prove to ourselves that we are, even just a little bit, still in control of the situation. That, and we’d prefer to keep this embarrassing habit out of view from the other neighborhood parents, lest they think we’re totally unfit for this job.
Likewise, he cannot hold onto screws while he’s eating. I mean, we’re not idiots, right?
Other than that, if you’re looking to mend something and need some screws, you know where to find them. He’s usually got a few square-drive trim screws, a couple two-inch coarse-thread drywall screws, and the occasional four-inch wood screw. When they aren’t in his hands, they are in convenient piles around the house.
It’s no surprise where he’s developed this interest. I’m working on some project or another around the house almost everyday. This is where you’ll find Loren in his element, following me around, picking up tools I’ve sat down momentarily, mimicking my every move. The progress pictures from the bedroom build out I’ve shown you aren’t staged. He’s tinkering in almost every picture because it is very difficult to shoo him away from the scene for even a few seconds.
In fairness to ourselves, we’re attempting to find ways of harnessing this obsession, perhaps making it just a little safer and a little more controlled. Our latest efforts seem to have grabbed his attention – for now.
A while back we found this great (if ragged) rush-seat dining room chair, and brought it home for fixing up. While we are a little delayed in repairing it to its old glory, we figured Loren could use it for practice. I placed a few screws between the seat threads:
And let him drive them in:
Which, much to my surprise, he actually knows how to do.
I’ve been going back to the baby books, trying to figure out when they should be hitting the milestone of “properly operates a Phillips head screwdriver.” No such luck. Twenty months sounds about right to me.
He might not know his shapes or colors, and he still hasn’t figured out how to jump with both feet at the same time, but his carpentry skills are decidedly ahead of schedule. Every kid is different I guess.
Somehow, again, it is Friday already. Here’s a quick look back at the week:
-Monday I made significant gains on Loren’s bedroom build out, installing bi-fold doors and priming everything;
-Tuesday was all panic following a day full of a feverish toddler and contracting wife, but finding relief in good family; and
-Thursday was all about the kid-friendliness of Farragut Square’s food truck bonanza.
A worthy Longform.org pick of the week can be found here. In honor of my first place Washington Nationals, it’s baseball related. There, you’ll take a look back at players who join the infamous “Cup of Coffee Club” – that is, the guys that make it to the big leagues for just one game, realizing their dream of becoming Major League Baseball Players, only to see it yanked away from them in the blink of an eye. It’s hard to tell whether you feel happy or sad for them. Either way, it’s interesting to see how these things unfold.
Watching professional sports conjures many thoughts, but I find it fascinating to think about what it takes for these players to make it to the pro level. The odds are impossibly long, and it’s important to remember that even that bench player on your favorite team, that guy that never sees playing time, the guy we fans can say “stinks,” was probably the best athlete his hometown had ever seen, lettering in multiple sports and looking like a man-among-boys while doing it. And yet there he is, riding pine and generally over-matched at the highest level. To make it to that level, and to have even modest success, being the best athlete your town has ever seen isn’t remarkable, it’s an assumed prerequisite, and really just the first bar you need clear. It just blows my mind.