8577091108_ca45aeb901_kMy oldest son, Grady, has two small LEGO sets that make up houses, helicopters and cars. Today, Grady wanted me to help him put together the helicopter. I remembered doing this when I was a kid and thought it would be a great opportunity for me to teach my son. Oh wait, I’m blind. How is this going to work? How am I to teach him to follow the instructions when I can’t see them? I gave it a try and this is how it went…

I tell him to find the little book with a helicopter on the front and see if there are pictures inside, of the helicopter in pieces being built. Check. He finds the instructions and proceeds to tell me what he sees on the first page. He says, “it’s a long yellow piece with two grey pieces on it.” Recalling my childhood building skills I ask, “Tell me how many dots are on the yellow piece.” He then counts out loud and ends with 8. I know for a fact that I’ve never felt an 8 dot long LEGO, so I instruct him to cover up half of the piece and count only half of the numbers. I tell him there are fat pieces (two rows) and skinny pieces (one row), so he can better explain to me which piece we are looking for. I have him close his eyes and then put his hands over them. “This is what I see,” I tell him and he understands there is no more need to talk about colors. I can almost see his mind concentrating on how to describe the next piece. We get to work.

After 30 minutes, a lot of describing and feeling pieces, we have successfully put together only 5 of the couple hundred pieces. What an exercise in patience! Our attentions were both fading, and it didn’t help that my youngest son strew the Trivial Pursuit cards and pie pieces across the floor. Needless to say, the lesson ended. But I have to remember these moments, the times I get to spend with my kids, watching their minds think and learn.

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