Because, of course she wanted to.
She told Weatherdude she was going to mow and there was an immediate "she's too young" reaction from her father. Right. So I said "let's just see if she can keep the blades running" and "I have no intention of leaving her outside mowing without adult supervision on her first try." Yeah. She can keep the blades running. I gave her instructions to mow in a straight line where possible, but I must admit I didn't mention overlapping straight lines. She mows likes she vacuums. We'll work on coverage as a concept, using spatial geometry (which she has) to break up an area into some sort of pattern that has full coverage with least effort.
Thirty minutes later, we had a lawn looking like this:
Weatherdude calls it a "random walk on the lawn."
There were times when she resembled one of those cartoons where you see someone going one way and then see them going the other way. The way I see it, this is independence, this is self-reliance, this is "I can do it all by myself." And this is, most importantly, "I can do what a boy can do, I can do anything I want to." Pretty much. And I'd like to see more boys doing this, frankly (Weatherdude does it too!):
Eventually, she disappeared on us, downhill through the trees (ack!) and into the back area (which I'd mowed on Friday). She thought she was done. Yeah, gotta talk to you about how to vacuum, too. We sent her back round to the front and she cleaned up a number of spots before calling it quits. She hauled the wheel around so much I wasn't surprised. Straight rows are much easier on the arms. The tractor sort of runs itself in a straight line. But that's for the next lesson.