Tuesday, 5 January 2010

little hands at work

Today was a proud day for a mama. My eldest daughter, after watching me applique letters onto fabric for Daddy's surprise birthday bunting, asked me when she would be able to sew. I have been looking forward to sitting her down in front of the machine for some time now, but, mindful of the Waldorf philosophy of waiting until a child is developmentally ready (rather than until the adult in charge is ready), I haven't mentioned it even once. I hesitated for a moment - was my just-barely-five-year-old really ready to put the pedal to the metal? Wouldn't her tiny fingers be lambs to the needle's slaughter? I bit my lip and finished zig-zagging round the letter 'b'. Then I turned to my baby girl and asked, 'Well, how would you like to sew today?'

Her sweet face puffed up with excitement. She actually seemed to grow a little before my eyes. I finished up with the applique, then moved so she could take my place in front of the machine. We both laughed - her leg was too short to reach the pedal! So I moved it up to the footrest of her chair, then showed her how to lift and lower the presser foot, guide the fabric and which button to press to sew backwards. I surreptitiously moved the speed control to the slowest setting. She watched, listened carefully, and silently nodded her head.

My very grown up five-year-old then bit her own lip, lowered the presser foot and very gently eased her foot down on the pedal. As the needle started eating its way through our little bunting flags, I realised my eldest daughter had just sailed over a threshhold from infancy towards girlhood. I thought back to my earliest memory of sewing with my mother, some 28 years ago. I remembered the swell of pride I had felt whilst sewing two pieces of red felt together in the shape of a Christmas stocking for her. And I looked forward to cultivating a lifelong love of making for my own daughter.

1 comment:

  1. getting them sewing young - super idea. I was so pleased my Xander enjoyed making a heart with me the other day - lovely to see an 8 year old boy sewing and enjoying it.