Carlos plopped down on the carpet in the den with a few pieces of white paper from the printer tray and a pair of green safety scissors. He held the silver blades tightly with one hand while he got the fingers of his right hand positioned in the grips.
“Way to go!” I exclaimed, before he even began to cut. Holding scissors the “right way” is one of his goals in school. It has been a goal for a while. I’d never seen him get them in position like this, so I was already excited. Ever so slowly and carefully, he moved the grips of the scissors between his fingers and began to make tiny snips around the edge of the paper. G and I clapped.
As his cuts traveled farther down the sheet of paper, the paper began to wobble and slip away from the scissors.
I got down on the floor with him. “If you hold it like this, the paper won’t shake.” I moved his hand up closer to where he was making the cuts. He snipped a couple more times. Back on track.
Huck scratched at the back door so I turned my attention away for a moment. When I looked back to Carlos and the paper…
Y’all probably think I’m going to say that he had cut all his hair off, right?
Nah. But he had gone back to holding the scissors with two hands, otherwise known as “the wrong way.” I hovered in hopes that he would correct his grip. He snipped away happily as well as he could with the scissors all wonky.
“Baby? Don’t you want to hold those the way you had them before?” He ignored me.
“Here,” I offered as I sat down beside him. “Let me show you the right way.”
He pulled the scissors out of my reach.
“No, Mommy! I do it the LEFT WAY.”
So I kept my mouth shut while he snipped the paper in a clumsy line. He’ll learn eventually that the “right way” became the right way because it makes controlling the scissors easier. It’s the way of precision.
Tonight’s little moment reminded me that, until he cares about precision, the left way is a perfectly fine path to travel too. Two paths diverge, the right way and the left way.