The only thing worse than having our movements restricted by current quarantine requirements, even if some of those have lessened, is being restricted even further by inclement weather. Considering the majority of my day gets spent in the sunny outdoors watering my lawn, tending my flowers and cycling, rainy days can throw a damper on my mood and my ability to follow my usual routine. It’s even worse for a restless five-year old boy who is used to coming and going from the backyard at his leisure.
My son Nathan is restless by nature, and is rarely satisfied with anything placed in front of him. He has a ton of toys, games and a small amount of electronics (not least of which is his own iPad) that he plays games and watches cartoons on. None of that prevents him from moving on from one thing to another almost without end, driving his mother and I insane in the process. So a rainy day with no school and no means of burning off energy outside can be burdensome to everyone in the household.
That’s where I decided to get creative and build a bird house with him. I called him downstairs on the promise of a fun surprise that would keep him busy for a while. He had received the materials to build a bird house as a Christmas gift, which I promptly hid away for fear that he wasn’t old enough to properly build it. My second fear is that he would likely damage or destroy some of the required parts, which is what he often seems to do with a lot of his toys.
He approached the wooden pieces with unconfined glee and started grabbing at everything in sight, including a small screwdriver and several small screws. I had to contain his eagerness long enough to explain that there were instructions to follow in order to properly build the bird house. I also explained that if he followed instructions and correctly assembled the project, that I would attempt to hang it outside his bedroom window so that he can watch birds come and go.
We worked diligently for almost an hour. One of us holding pieces of wood steady while the other one turned the screwdriver to fasten them together. It was tiring work for his tiny hands and he often relinquished the tightening of screws to me as he held the wooden pieces instead. But close to the end of that hour, we had assembled his small bird house and he quickly scooped it up to go show his mother and to keep it in his bedroom until we hung it up outside.
The only hiccup is that our bird house is plain, unfinished wood with no colour and Nathan insists that it needs to be painted. Further, the rod at the front for birds to stand on needs to be glued in place and we have no wood glue to work with. I promised that in the days to come, I would obtain glue and some bird seed to fill the little receptacle at the front. Then we can install a hook and suspend it from the overhang outside his window.
All in all, it didn’t kill off the entire afternoon but it kept Nathan busy for about an hour and has him pretty excited about the prospect of watching birds from his bedroom. It was a definite change from the usual things he would be stuck doing on a rainy day, like watching cartoons or grating on my nerves. Yet another example of how there is always something to be done. Sometimes it just takes a little imagination. ☯