I haven’t made my three-year-old daughter any jewelry until now. Well actually, I gave her a beaded bracelet for her first birthday, and she cried until I took it off. Subsequently, whenever I showed it to her, she threw it on the floor. I gave up after it was jettisoned out the car window. The truth is, she resents my jewelry just a little. So many pretty little things, so many fascinating sharp tools and chemicals, and only Mama gets to play with them. And Mama’s always sneaking out of Play-Doh time and disappearing into the basement to hammer on things. I can understand the rivalry. So I decided I should play it cool and not make her any more jewelry unless she seemed interested.
The other day, she got hold of my ring bending pliers and started bending rings out of her gloves, my sweater, our leather couch. After a day of this, I snuck the pliers back to my bench. Recently I’ve converted a table in my basement workshop into a “bench” for her. I install her there with some mildly dangerous objects like scissors, hammers, crayons, and hot chocolate, and we crank up the Pandora Kid’s station and pretend to get a little work done. But this day, she was relentless. She dragged her bathroom stool up to my bench and poked her nose over the edge to see what I was up to.
“Mama, here they are, my ring bending pliers. YOU took them! I need these to make a ring.”
It was like playing Whack-a-Mole. I’d reclaim the sharp objects, tuck the stool away, and remove her to her own bench, but the stool kept reappearing, the little head kept popping up at different spots on my bench, the hand kept grabbing. She was dead serious about making a ring, whether I helped her or not. The truth is, I’d be thrilled if she inherited the creative bug. I want to teach her to work with her hands. I would love nothing more than to spend long, sunlit afternoons with my daughter, quilting, gardening, sewing doll clothes, and making special jewelry for her birthdays.
Ha! Since when do daughters EVER like what their mothers like?
So I snipped off some copper wire, filed the ends and bent it into a circle, and slipped it onto her finger. She was not buying it.
“That’s not a real ring. See, it’s open right here. You have to make me a REAL ring Mama!”
OK, fair enough. I started over with sterling silver wire, soldered and shaped it, cleaned it up and slipped it on. A perfect fit! She was still not satisfied.
“But where is the pretty thing? It needs a pretty little thing on the top!”
“Oh, you want a gemstone?”
“What color do you want?”
“Blue. I need a pretty blue one.”
So I soldered on a bezel cup and set a tiny ocean blue apatite cabochon in there. Voila! It was a dainty and perfect child-sized ring, and it looks so sweet on her hand. I was pleased to see her wear the ring for a whole ten minutes before she started fiddling. But… she only wanted to trade fingers. The ring stayed on. She jealously guarded it from inquisitive eyes, like a little secret just for her.
The next morning, I said “how do you like your little ring?”
She inspected it carefully. “I wanted a red one, Mama.”
“Oh, but you told me you wanted blue.”
“But now I want a red one.”
“Ah. Well I don’t have any red stones. I only have pink.”
“Oh yes, pink! I need a pink one. For my other hand.”