Boa constrictor

Written Jul 5, 2012

There was a thoughtful op ed piece in the New York Times on Sunday by Tim Kreider called ‘The Busy Trap’ (  It’s a reflection on how busy people are, and bragging/whining about their chosen busy schedule and he questions a bit the value of what we’re all so busy doing.  My favorite quote from it is “More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary.”

Like many people, we often wear our busy schedule with pride, and also sometimes question it.  But a funny legacy of the little red head of the family is that Timothy has both taken up a lot of time we didn’t think we had, and also forced us to slow down and pause more than we ever did before his arrival.  Those forces don’t seem like they’d go together but they do right now at our house, and we’ll try to embrace the contradiction while it’s here.

Guidelines are helpful.  It’s a good thing that the sign at the State Fair says ‘You must be at least this tall to ride the Crazy Mouse’.  And it’s making more sense why God encourages people to have those babies before they’re 40 years old, and certainly before 47.

We’ve seen this in action a few times recently, as Laura threw her back out picking up the bundle of boy.  She’s back to normal now, but it was a good reminder that in our early 30s, we didn’t think twice about how we picked up or carried the babies.  But nowadays, we have to be more careful with Timothy and also keep a chiropractor on speed dial.

We’ve also seen it in the aftershocks of Timothy reconsidering his angelic sleep habits.  In the last 6 months, we can count on one hand the number of times he’s gotten up in the middle of the night.  But we might need a second hand soon.  Timothy’s teething means that he has been a tougher sleeper for the past week.  And as much as you lose your memory as you get older, your aging body seems to get better at reminding you when you miss out on sleep.  Those would be the aftershocks.

Many months ago, Joan (from the school district) taught T the age old game of patting your hand over a baby’s babbling mouth to make a ‘ba ba’ sound.  In addition to making an adorable sound, the game teaches the baby to summon his voice on command.  He initially liked the game but then stopped making sounds when we’d try it, which probably meant he was bored or maybe we weren’t being patient enough, but you also let your mind roam and wonder if it could be a sign of a developmental delay.

Well, we recently trotted out the ‘ba ba’ game again, and he is embracing it with gusto.  The only hiccup is if you do it when he’s in a screaming mood, his low stuttered growl can sound like a cross between a monster truck rally announcer and a heavy metal band.

And then one day recently, Laura noticed that T was bringing his own hand up to his mouth.  He was trying to do the ‘ba ba’ game on his own (my first thought was ‘oh great -– the kid’s not even a year old and he’s already finding places where he doesn’t need his parents’ help anymore’).  But now he’s done it a lot and has gotten to be pretty good at it, and it’s really cute to see him do it.  It’s also neat to think about what’s going on, as he took an activity and decided that he liked it enough to replicate it himself — to figure out how to do it and where to put his hand and to synch up his hand while he makes the sound with his mouth.  Pretty cool.

And I bet that not even the Richard Scarry boa constrictor can play the ‘ba ba’ game by himself.


The Lees

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