Quite a while ago Nathan started really enjoying letters — asking me to draw them, singing the alphabet song by himself, pretending to fingerspell along with me, all that good stuff. (The fingerspelling is the best part. He’ll hold up one small hand and move his fingers into semi-random positions while he says things like “Cat. E, Q, 4. Cat!” It absolutely cracks me up. But I digress.)
With all this letter interest, I decided I wanted some alphabet blocks for him. Now, these are neither rare nor particularly expensive, unless you get caught up in the desire for handmade, eco-friendly, fair trade toys. Which, I must admit, I am. We’ve bought all our toys so far from thrift stores, but if I were going to buy new, I would really want buy something which was lovingly hand-carved by a local artisan from blocks of wood sustainably harvested from a tree that had naturally fallen down in the forest, and that, while alive, had really, really wanted to be made into children’s toys.
In case it isn’t obvious, I may be exaggerating a bit here for effect.
But all that is just an aside. The truth is that, when I thought of getting alphabet blocks for Nathan, my primary thought was that they would be so easy to make.
We have scrap 2×2’s. We have a woodburning tool. Sure, the blocks wouldn’t be all neat and fancy, but being handmade goes a long way with me, and being essentially free goes even further. And it would be so easy. All I needed was just ten minutes with the table saw and then some time with the woodburning tool to burn the letters in.
And, several months later, I finally managed to pull out the table saw. I am burning the blocks a few at a time, in moments when the kids are safely occupied elsewhere.
They aren’t neat and fancy. They are slightly uneven in size, occasionally saw-burned, and hand-lettered. No one else, anywhere, will have a set of alphabet blocks quite like this, but I like them. And Nathan doesn’t seem to mind them, either.