“One Hand Washes the Other” and other variations of the phrase all carry the same meaning: one cannot accomplish something alone. This simple idiom is reflective of many relationships that have taken place through this learning project. There was the support of digital resources in helping me best achieve my goals. There was the support of peers through kind words and advice. Finally, there was the more literal support of my dominant right hand in teaching and guiding my left hand in learning how to pick up its share of my needs.
How could I call a #LearningProject on ambidexterity complete without challenging myself to a day-long performance of said hand’s abilities? That’s right. I glued my right arm to my side and attempted to go about my day with only my left hand.
Before I attempted the ‘performance’, I set some ground rules to guide the experience and provide me with some sense of safety.
- Both hands can be used to drive, because, duh. And also, I am responsible for driving a small child during my morning so no endangering other lives.
- Both hands can be used to type because I’m not into hen-pecking and I need to get schoolwork done! However, all cursor movement must be done with my left hand.
- The entire experience must be documented through this blog post on at least an hour to hour basis to ensure data collection that is as accurate as possible.
- The experience will begin at approx. 7:30AM and end at 7:30PM, giving a fair 12-hour window that covers most routines and tasks in a day.
With that out of the way, here’s how my day went with one arm hanging uselessly and my only form of assistance being a semi-cooperative left upper limb.
Ahh… the sun is (kind-of) shining, the birds are chirping, that classic ‘morning song’ is playing in the background. You know, the one that used to play in every cartoon as the character comically stretched awake? And as of now, I only have one arm. I have relatively high hopes for the day. It’s a matter of mind over matter and making due for a day. Though I can see myself having problems putting pants on in the next few minutes.
Getting dressed: accomplished! And not even too bad, if I do say so myself.
My hair, on the other hand, was a bit of a struggle, but I got the job done. Luckily I have curly hair so it’s pretty forgiving. And teeth brushing, face washing, and cleaning up my tattoo were not much of a problem either.
MMmmm… morning coffee. The day is off to a beautiful start as I have a wonderful Keurig to do the work for me. (As a side note here: I was very hesitant to use a Keurig or Tassimo as the amount of plastic waste coming from these machine’s inventions is heartbreaking! However, I actually found a reusable Keurig pod at Canadian Tire that is super simple and easy to use. Although it is still made of plastic, it is extremely durable and cuts down on my waste immensely.)
Work, work, work, work, work. This left-hand scrolling is gonna take some getting used to. I don’t usually use a mouse, but I thought I would hook it up today and switch the controls so I could have a little extra challenge. Don’t even ask the number of times I’ve ‘right-clicked’ when I didn’t mean to.
Off to my second job of the day: cleaning!
My poor weakling arm is not quite equipped to vacuum quite yet, but I’m sure it will get there one day. Time to get back to the grind.
Scrolling! Is! Impossible! I am forever grateful that my mouse has a scroll wheel on it. At the same time, my struggle with clicking and dragging the scrollbar smoothly is a reminder f the need for more improvement on my control and fine motor skills. Many of the skills I practiced were directed towards gross motor skills such as grippng a toothbush naturally, while I did not put as much focus into detailed work. If I were to do this project again, I think I would continue working on detail-oriented work such as printing throughout the length of the project, rather than just as a starting point. I think I would also consider finding some printing practice resources rather than just self-guiding.
I keep noticing my left shoulder getting all tensed up as I work. Very strange. Good thing I always book myself a massage for the end of the semester! Check out Lisa Markham if you live in the area. She is a miracle worker.
Tummy is a-grumblin’. Time for some lunch.
Now I’m off to my second cleaning job of the day. I am quickly finding that cleaning is one of the best ways to practice grip strength, a concept which I had explored in my earlier blog posts. I had practiced increasing grip strength through eating meals as many of the ambidexterity tutorials suggested this. Eating a meal is practiced daily while heavy cleaning is not typically done as often.
With many things to do and dwindling time to do them, it’s back to work again! I find using the trackpad is easier for my left hand than using the mouse is. I wonder if again, that is due to the room for error with it compared to the specificity needed to control the mouse. If I were to do this project again, I would pick a wider variety of tasks to work on, rather than just the specific few that I have been. I had talked about wanting to be a ‘One Woman Band’ but I don’t think I’m quite there yet. I definitely feel closer to this cat; I’m only able to do a few things at a time.
Final little side job of the day: tutoring a student in math. We’re testing out a resource called Roll it! Rounding from a website Shaleen Hengen shared. The game uses dice, so that should be rather entertaining with my left hand. It was a rather beautiful afternoon out, so I decided to walk to the lesson.
Tutoring was a blast today thanks to that game!
I wasn’t feeling overly hungry when supper came around, so I just decided to make some quick scrambled eggs. Eggs, milk, a little salt and pepper and good to go. While I don’t always whisk the eggs up beforehand, I decided to do it for the #LearningProject. Dinner is served. Check out my greedy Chicken Nugget in the background!
As it is such a nice day out, I had been working hard on projects all day, and I wanted to get the yard cleaned up a little before I have company over on the weekend, I decided to spend some time outside. Here’s my project of the day:
My backyard has been untouched for a number of years so it needs some major TLC. In fact, we didn’t even know there was a flower bed in this location until we started raking up years of leaves and uncovered it underneath! The grass sown through the flowerbed was tough to pull at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was no problem at all. It felt good to start working on this so I will have it ready to go for my Bee Feed wildflower mix and poppies once it gets warm enough.
It’s Tuesday! That means time for the #822chat. Tonight’s question was:
It was a relatively quiet night for the chat, with some regulars busy, but it was a great discussion as always. I found using Tweetdeck to be confusing my left hand for some reason. Perhaps this was due to the speed at which I felt I had to post my response, as this particular chat is only 8 minutes long. Speed was something else I attempted to tackle with this project. I feel that while accuracy in doing something is important, it becomes impractical if it takes you an incredibly long time to accomplish anything. I did practice writing quickly through this project and I make sure to brush my teeth or brush my hair as quickly as I can after I have already done a thorough job.
As this project comes to a close, I think now is an appropriate time for final thoughts. My top three areas of success were:
- Regular Integration – I feel like I was able to incorporate some of the tasks, such as brushing my teeth into my regular routine so they were adequately practiced instead of being brushed aside.
- Documentation – My blog posts were a true account of what occurred. I felt they were fairly detailed and interesting to read, allowing for a clear view of what I had done. As well, I shared several pictures and evidence of my progress.
- Variety – I think I chose a variety of areas to work on, allowing for different skills and abilities to be practiced that were both specific to certain tasks or more general such as opening doors.
And my top three areas that could use improvement were:
- Focus – Although I had tested out a variety of different skills, I think I would have seen more overall improvement if I had focused on some more specific areas over the short time span, such as cooking and writing for example, instead of trying to keep up with so many tasks.
- Tech expansion – I did use some YouTube videos to practice grip form, some articles for various tutorials, a digital font creator, and of course Twitter and WordPress to communicate my progress, but I could have expanded my tech use further. I could have attempted using a writing app, as I mentioned earlier in this post or I could have worked on making more videos to see progress or lack thereof in action.
- Community Support – Despite this being a fairly unique #LearningProject, I think I still could have turned to my PLN for more support and advice in how I moved through the project. That being said, I’d like to thank everyone that offered encouraging words throughout the project as they motivated me to keep going!
That’s a wrap on this #LearningProject, but stay tuned for upcoming projects in the future!