My five year old son Louis has a new love - modelling. We sit and cut tiny bits of cardboard out, he uses scissors and I a knife. Wheels are made from dowel and sawn up plastic cancer research pens - they're the perfect size. Initially I glued most of the little pieces together, but now he does it himself. Below is one he just made while I wasn't looking, I sawed the pieces of dowel for the wheels and funnels.
Painting is Louis' job. He knows exactly, with absolute unshakable certainty, what colour each engine should be. I bow to his insight. I have my own ideas too, but these are his engines not mine. I struggle with that.
Albert, my two year old is fascinated by them. When I give them him to play with he looks at me in disbelief - 'how is it possible I can play with something which has an intricacy so absent in my other toys?' - this is an expression rather than words. Somehow these small creations have a different value, he sees them as precious. And my reasoning was if he broke them I'd just glue it back together. Interestingly none of them have required any repairs. They disappear too, but then always reappear - they seem to be indestructible and unloseable.
And what a gift for me. Louis dragged me out of bed at 6.30am to build the American style Jupiter engine. There wasn't even time for a coffee - the excitement so great. Such clear, focused, pure enthusiasm and love for a bit of cardboard and glue is literally changing my life.