When you’ve got kids, every issue is more important than the last, and everything needs immediate attention.
A snack, some juice, a game on the top shelf, a stuffed animal left out in the car. Missing lego pieces, missing puzzle pieces, and random pieces off.. something. A couch cushion fort that won’t stand on its own, kids that won’t respect couch fort territorial boundaries, and the toddler-couch-fort-destroyers who knock them down.
So you do what you can to reduce the noise. Place cups and bowls closer to the ground, put cereal on the bottom shelf, organize the legos and puzzles, fireproof the couch cushions. The usual.
A couple months ago, I labeled a “fix-it” bucket and put it on my workbench, with simple instructions. Something breaks, put it in the bucket. Small note optional. This is actually an improvement on the previous process of “drop it wherever, and tell dad about it as he’s heading out the door”. Now I can tackle it all at once.
Last weekend it was pretty quiet in the house; prime time to tackle the bucket. Everyone but the 7 yo was out or napping, so I decided to have him help me with it this time. Just in case, I sealed the deal with some hot chocolate. Hey, gotta at least try to make it fun working with Dad! We get a bad rap.
I brought up a couple old towels and a handful of tools, and we re-purposed the living room as a makeshift workspace for an hour or so. All the essentials. That crazy glue in the blue bottle… it’s like liquid duct tape. Seriously, the other tools are just for show.
Luke wanted to tackle a toy car first. We learned how to tell which direction the new batteries go. In the end, I figured it out. I think he lost a little confidence in me though – he insisted on a couple test runs to make sure it worked.
Here’s a hole punch with a dislocated catcher thing (its technical name for sure). We took our time looking at it, and figured out which way it should snap back on. Again with the quality control. It’s like he has zero confidence in my abilities.
Then a doll. Just some more batteries, but these ones were a little tougher to get to. By now Teresa had woken up from her nap, so we had another helper.
The last thing we tackled was a small handheld game someone put in his Halloween basket. It must’ve been old as dirt. The battery was all corroded and, it being of such obviously high quality, the entire thing had to be disassembled to replace it.
We got to see how the switches work to complete the circuit with the battery, where the buttons pushed down on the circuit board, etc. Luke thought that was pretty neat.
Christmas is tomorrow, and broken toys are inevitable. The only thing we can control is how we handle it.
Sure, I could’ve done it on my own in a fraction of the time, but kids are capable of learning so much… with a little guidance. It was really enjoyable.
My 4 yo just asked me if we could fix her pink toy laptop together. I should’ve thought of this sooner!