Navigating the World with My Left Handed Child
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When I was in grade school I wanted desperately to be left handed. There was something exotic about those few kids who wrote with their left hand and I felt like being a righty was so ordinary. So much so that I started to eat and brush my teeth left handed just for fun and I also used to practice writing with my left hand. Truth be told, I wasn’t half bad but it ended up being too much work and I finally accepted my right handed fate.
When my oldest son, Red was about two I started to wonder if he might be left handed and my mother noticed it as well, but alas it was just a toddler experiment. So when Dub started using his left hand for most things around two I noticed it but didn’t think much of it. At three, he was using his left hand even more dominantly but I wasn’t ready to call it yet. At four, I am ready to call it. My Dubster is a lefty. He writes, draws, eats, hops on one foot, kicks and throws a ball all with his left side. At this point his right hand may as well just fall off, that’s how useless it is to him.
No one in my family is left handed so this is completely unfamiliar territory for me. My husband’s father is a lefty as are a couple of my friends so we do have someone to ask should there be something that my son’s two very right hand dominant parents can’t relate to. Of course being left handed isn’t a negative but there are some things that we are going to have to be mindful of as Dub gets older that we righties take for granted.
The guitar, baseball glove, child-sized golf clubs, and archery bow of Red’s that we thought would make great hand-me-downs someday? Nope. Not so much. Dub will need new ones made for a lefty. We will also have to buy a new can opener, a pair of scissors, teach him how to tie his shoes backwards (to us), and we are already highly aware of seating arrangements in restaurants.
One interesting phenomenon that we’ve noticed is that he writes backwards. Not one letter here and there that would be typical of a young child, but he writes in mirror image. We heard that this was normal for left handed children and it will eventually correct itself. My father-in-law said he did the same thing as a small child, but it’s very interesting to watch. This is how he writes his name (Kian) on his chalkboard:
I am pretty excited about navigating this right handed world with my little lefty. If I couldn’t be one myself, at least I can live vicariously through him. Remind me of my slight jealousy when he is complaining about the adaptations he will have to make because of all of the everyday things that are made for righties.
Photo credit: Schoolboy writing by stockimages via freedigitalphotos.net
I’m a lefty and my son showed very soon that he is a lefty too. Keep in mind with golf that some people don’t golf off their dominate hand. Eg. My dad is right handed but golfs, bat, and shoots (hockey) on his left side. I shoot and bat on my right side. I know I also use a normal can opener and scissors. I started using right handed scissors in high school for sewing class and actually found it easier that way. When I learned (kind of) knitting I learned it right handed as my mom figured the patterns would be too difficult to “flip”, however I learned to crochet left handed, and I don’t think I would be able to do it right handed.
An interesting thing you may find is that he may have trouble with door knobs. If you stick out your hands and turn your hands outwards you have a large range of motion. When you turn your hands inwards its a small motion. So some knobs like to be turned a certain direction to unlatch and lefties often turn the wrong way or don’t have the “turning radius” to open the door with their left hand. And yes I have given myself a little panic once or twice 🙂
That’s very interesting about the door knobs! I will have to keep an eye on that.
A friend of mine who is a lefty does some things right handed as well. She said we may not have to buy him a lefty bow (if archery is something he ends up being interested in) because while she’s left handed she shoots a bow right handed since her right eye is dominant.
I have always been so fascinated by the way lefties do things. I am very excited to see how this all plays out with my son.
i was left handed as a child and it was hard trying to navigate through life at times. when i was little, it was considered bad to be left handed. the teachers woud fuss, and my mothers was very aggrevated at me when i tried to do some thigs because she said i did them wroung. i too wrotw backwards until later grades.
One of the first things my father-in-law said was not to try to force him to be right handed. It’s not something we would ever do and I don’t think schools do that now but I found it interesting that that was his experience. He would have started school in the ’50s.
My daughter is a lefty. She flipped letters and numbers too. This year (3rd grade) is the first year that I don’t see as much in her writing as I used too. Its always interesting to see how she does things. Sometimes we will be doing something and she will stop and reposition her hands and say I’m left-handed mom! lol
My son hasn’t noticed yet that he uses a different hand than the rest of us to do things. Our biggest issue so far is when we go out to eat and forget that he has to sit on the left side. We’ve played musical chairs in public more than once 🙂