Another project from:
A couple of months ago, I was feeling a little guilty about having another child — for my son’s sake. His near first two years of life were perfect: mom and dad all to himself, a big yard in which to play, going to Gymboree and the park, and walks in a stroller — the non-double kind. But then Elliott was on her way and I knew life, as Griffin knew it, was over for good. A little sister meant mom would be busy, all the time. He’d have to learn to share, which is the biggest curse word in a toddler’s vernacular. And he’d have to deal with constant crying and not being able to be picked up because mom’s hands would be full of baby. Sooner or later, Griffin would come to realize what goes through every big brother’s brain at some point: sisters stink.
Hoping that Griffin would avoid that realization for just a little while until Elliott was settled in, Big N and I decided to make an extra special gift from Elliott to her big brother that she could “give” to him when we brought her home from the hospital. Griffin is into all sorts of things now but he especially loves figuring out how to open and take things apart with his hands. At the family restaurants, when he’s given a box of crayons and paper to draw on, he casts the paper aside and spends 2o minutes taking the crayons out of the box, only to put them back in, over and over again so he can rearrange them just so. (I hope this isn’t a symptom of OCD). He also loves to be dad’s helper when he’s working on honey-do projects around the house.
After searching around, I found a few possibilities for his special present: the Melissa & Doug Latches Board seemed cool because it would allow Griffin to figure things out with his hands, but it wasn’t special enough. I spotted a hand made latches board on Etsy and knew I was on the right track but it was $75 and I thought I could do better. So I took a trip to my local True Value and scoured the aisles for some cool hardware. Then I went to Michael’s and picked up a thin wooden board. Of course, I ended up spending about $85 when all was said and done but whatever. Can’t win ‘em all.
I enlisted my husband and his drill to put it all together (I could have done it myself but it was a fun way to spend some time together outdoors), and added the stamped finishing touch to personalize his board. We then hid the comleted board until Elliott was born.
When we brought Elliott home from the hospital Griffin walked around with a worried look on his face, understanding that something was different but not really sure what or why. He was curious about this new baby that seemed to be permanently affixed to his mother, but he also seemed a little lost. We knew it was time to pull out his “special present from Elliott.” It was an instant hit. He said a quick “tank yoo” to Elliott and immediately sat down on the kitchen floor with his new latches board. And it seemed to work. He was fully transfixed by his new puzzle and all was right in his tiny world again.
Since then he’s been a wonderful big brother, kissing and hugging Elliott, and telling her goodnight before bed. He’s had a few “moments” as well, but to date he has only chucked one jar of lotion at Elliott’s head. I convinced myself it was an accident and gave him the benefit of the doubt…for now.