Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Make It With Her, Not For Her (or at least try)

She didn't like her old bed, which actually new, heavy, and had black pull out drawers underneath the matress. So she and her mom posted the bed on Craigslist and finally off it went. Now she wanted a loft bed. The ones at Ikea weren't great SO I thought it would be good idea to build one, of course with expert help from a best friend, a man on my men's team, who is a contractor/builder.

My daughter Z came up with the drawing, which I thought was great (wonder if I can find that drawing to post). My buddy G  took some measurements and gave me the lumber list; plywood, 4 x 4, 2 x 4, 2 x 6, and shelf materials. Z was out of town for 2 weeks at summer camp and the idea was that when she got home the bed would be done. Well... as I was beginning to sand and prime the wood, I realized that I "didn't want to make it for her, I wanted to make it with her," you know, do the dad thing, bond over showing her how to works with tools and wood. It was a great idea to me.

She was game in the beginning. Electric sander, paint, we did get into trouble when I (and I am the professional artist!!!) got the oil and acrylic paints mixed up...I know, I know. The next day of painting started out well but the energy turned. Z has always been creative and a good sport around art but something snagged her when she was painting designs on one of the book shelves and she went down. She got critical of herself and what she had done that nothing I could say would help. She left and went inside for the rest of the day.

Next day our energy was off again. I wanted and needed her help (remember my idea that we do this together - bonding experience) and she... seemed to have no energy to the point that she ended up most the day on the couch reading and sleeping and not to be involved. So thanks to G, we got most of the wood cut and the bed put together on the side deck. I painted it some more that evening and the next day we took it apart and reassembled it upstairs and Z did help again in the end.

And wa-la, a loft bed for a new 7th grader!
Love, Dad

 The Art of Being a Dad is a highly illustrated and colorfully creative collaboration between a dad and his two small kids. It is also one man's journey as he navigates the colliding worlds of babies and career, co-parenting and being a man, and the awe, beauty and exhaustion of Being a Dad. The book is 120 pages and includes a Toolbox: 130 tips, tools and tricks of the trade for helping dads take care of their kids as well as themselves. Mark Wagner is unique, not because he has equally helped in raising two small kids, but because he is a freelance artist, and when he became a dad he was curious, observant, jotted down notes and insights, took photographs, created drawings and made art with his kids. 

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