So this post starts with a story. Occasionally I take care of a sister duo, Sweetness and Light. Sweetness is four, and Light, is around… oh, seventeen months.
Sweetness is a rather independent and precocious soul. When learning to walk she would refuse anyone’s help, waving hands away, and shout “SELF! SELF!!!” One day while we were drawing, I looked over to her paper and asked her what she was drawing. I expected something like, “a rock.” Instead I got, “The Lunar Landing Module.”
If you haven’t guessed, her father is an engineer.
Well, since I’ve been taking care of her, occasionally she’ll see me knitting or crocheting. We’ll have a moment when Vivi is playing and she is drawing, and I’ll pull out my knitting or crochet to get a few rows done.
Well, lately she’s been asking me to teach her. You see, at first I taught her finger knitting, but she quickly realized that what she was doing, and what I was doing were two different things. She wanted to knit with sticks.
Okay, I said, fine by me. I really didn’t expect it to go anywhere. It’s the rare four year old that has the hand-eye coordination, never-mind the concentration to learn to knit.
So I taught her. She practiced for a few minutes, got tired of it, and decided to make up her own knitting. Which basically meant that she made a big tangle of the yarn.
That was fine. I only gave her a little yarn. (yes, I’ve been through this before. Children will use all of any resource you give them. That’s why my mother only kept three band-aids in the box, and the rest somewhere else. Otherwise, we’d want ALL the band-aids for our dolls) I really didn’t expect her to even sit through the whole lesson.
Well, a week passed, and I was knitting again. She asked to help. I put her hands on the needles and just let her watch as I worked.
Another week passed, and again Sweetness asked to learn. It had been a rough day, and I might have responded a little harshly. I said it wasn’t fair to me to teach her if she wasn’t willing to practice. She said she would.
I taught her, at first, her just placing the needles and me wrapping the yarn. And then, at her insistence, I taught her how to wrap the yarn so she could do it herself. And now? She’s still working on it. It’s slow, and she only does three or four stitches, but when you’re that young? That’s quite a feat.
My point is, when you learn a new skill, things can often look rocky. Take my Kitchener stitch. For the longest time, every time I needed to do it I had to look it up. When I do it now, I always accidentally purl the first few stitches, and then have to undo it and correct it again. But one day in the future I will whip out something that needs to be Kitchenered, and I will remember it, right away.
And it will be a beautiful day.
The other lesson: indoctrinate children to knitting/crochet early. It can keep them occupied and quiet for a full five minutes.