A couple of days Hannah brought worksheets home from kindergarten. They were meant to help each child master printing their name in block letters. The attached note stressed that the worksheets were optional, which is good, because I find the idea of homework for kindergartners to be sort of ridiculous. Also, Hannah is already quite good at printing her name in block letters.
In spite of my opinion, I decided I would give Hannah the option, and she wanted to do the worksheets. If it’s really her choice to practice printing her name, I’m not going to hold her back. But she wanted a pencil to do it with. And we had no pencils.
Evidence that Hannah can print her name in block letters
OK, scratch that. We had dozens of pencils. All of them broken, blunt, or otherwise unusable. And life with kids being what it is, not only did we have many broken pencils, we also had many broken pencil sharpeners. Realizing that I had no pencils for my daughter to practice her printing with, I felt like a less than stellar parent. These are pencils! Why is that so hard?
In my own childhood, we had a wall-mounted pencil sharpener. It was the very same sort of pencil sharpener that was found in my own elementary school classrooms. And probably my high school classrooms, too, come to think of it. It was sturdy, fast, and it kept the shavings contained. Back in the dark ages of the 1980s, when pencil crayons didn’t come pre-sharpened, I could sharpen mine at home before school started. And then while the other kids all lined up to sharpen theirs on the first day of school, I could sit at my desk and colour. I loved that.
My shiny new pencil sharpener
The solution to my parenting dilemma seemed obvious. We needed a wall-mounted pencil sharpener of our very own. So we headed to the teacher supply store, because I knew they would have just such a thing. They did, and for only $14.25 I was its proud new owner. I took it home and installed it immediately. Hannah started sharpening pencils. And pencil crayons. And the other end of pencil crayons, making a double-pointed drawing tool. She was in love. I was, too.
Hannah tries out the pencil sharpener
Our fancy new pencil sharpener makes points that are really sharp. You could seriously injure yourself on those points, if you weren’t careful. There’s something so satisfying about those points. Also, emptying the pencil sharpener is 15 kinds of fun. Hannah sharpens pencils just so she can empty the sharpener. It’s a waste of pencils, but this is all still very novel, so I’m not sweating it too much.
Look at how sharp those points are
Even 2-year-old Jacob’s getting in on the sharpening action, dragging chairs over to the sharpener so that he can reach it. He hasn’t figured it out yet, but he’s doggedly determined to master it. When you have no TV, a new pencil sharpener is what passes for family entertainment. We’re all crowded around that thing, watching each other sharpen.
Jacob attempts to figure out the pencil sharpener
When Jon got home on what I have come to call Pencil Sharpener Day, I was eager to show it to him. He walked into the kitchen, and ooh-ed and ah-ed suitably. And then he asked why I put it on the left side of the sunroom instead of the right side of the sunroom. You see, the left side of the sunroom is adjacent to the fridge. The right side of the sunroom is where the craft table and craft drawers live. I committed an ergonomic sin. Too bad, because I am definitely not moving it now. Not after the amount of swearing it took me to get it up in the first place.
You can see the pencil sharpener on the left, and the craft table on the right
Poor placement aside, the pencil sharpener makes me happy. I feel like we have the best tool for the job. A sturdy tool, that will outlast the children, that will keep us all in sharp pencils, and that will remind me of my childhood whenever I see it. I have a pencil sharpener in my own kitchen, just as I did when I was a child, and I have come full circle. Let us all join hands and sing about it.
Do you have a type of pencil sharpener that you enjoy above all others? Or do you think that such affection for a pencil sharpener is a bit … unusual? And have you ever installed something at great effort only to realize you really shouldn’t have put it there at all? Tell me all about it in the comments.