The Book Swatter

photo (71)I never saw it coming.  Last week I mentioned that Timothy had started beeping noses.  Then, as I fed him yesterday, Timothy was sitting in his high chair and I turned my back to him to get his milk from the refrigerator.  As I bent down, the little mink goosed my rear end.  While I was flattered and impressed with how quickly he was applying this talent in new areas, I asked him to look for more productive uses of his beeping skills.

Staying a little on the blue side, Timothy enjoys pounding on the door when someone is in the bathroom.  It’s probably just his way of expressing that if he doesn’t getting any privacy during his delicate moments, neither should anyone else in the family.  And actually, the kid has a point.

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In the past few months, we’ve worked on Timothy’s communication by giving him choices – which shirt to wear, food to eat, family member to hit, etc.  It’s a way for him to tell us what he wants, and he’s done well, but now he’s showing signs of boredom with a life of choices.

While he was in his high chair, I recently asked him to choose between some puffs (in my right hand) or pieces of sausage (in my left).  Timothy paused and then responded by grabbing the food from both hands.  No fair.

Recently, when I gave him the choice of two books, he seemed ambivalent, looking back and forth at the books without making a decision — and the look on his face said, “Seriously,  Go Dog Go and Hop on Pop – is that really the best we can do here?”

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Actually, with reading, he’s been going through a little funk.  In his first year and a half, he would usually sit quietly for long periods of time and be read to.  But now, faster than you can say ‘Terrible Two’s’, he has started getting antsy and swats a book out of your hand.

(As a sidenote, I’ve gone on record many times saying that the authors of these board books need to up their game on plot and character development.  I mean, Hollywood isn’t exactly fighting to make a movie version of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, what do you hear?.  Still, no book deserves to be swatted.)

In the past, we would give him a choice of two books, like Green Eggs and Ham and Lyle, Lyle Crocodile, and Timothy would carefully weigh the merits of each and make his selection.  Then Timo would watch, with noticeable guilt in his eyes, as we put back the book he had not selected.  But these days, before Green and Lyle are offered as official choices, T swats one away book away and then pushes the other one aside.  It’s a little like watching Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris take on a whole group of bad guys –- except that TRBL is battling a slew of oncoming board books.  This anti literacy guerilla effort took us by surprise and initially made us a little sad as we wondered if this was the end of an era.  But then we remembered that our arms are longer his arms.  And so we’ve found success in picking a book, then extending our arm and holding the book way away from him (so he can’t reach it) and reading like that.  He may fight it initially, but then he sits back and enjoys, and sometimes he’ll still turn the pages.  And while this is not a long term solution for keeping him liking books, holding a book way out in front of you is actually a good exercise for your arms.


My Dad, Tom Lee, taught us kids to work hard and be ethical, and he also gave us a tremendous example of how to treat people.  And if what other people say can be a good reflection of who we really are, my Dad is looking pretty good.  Many, many times I’ve run into someone who knows him.  It could be a friend or work colleague of Dad’s, or someone who has just met him once or twice.  But this wide collection of people share one thing – they can’t wait to gush about what a great person my Dad is.  It’s really cool to hear, and it reminds me how lucky I am to have such a great role model and Father.

Thanks, Dad and Happy Father’s Day!

The Lees

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1 Response to The Book Swatter

  1. Carol Michalke says:

    Dear Jack and Laura, John and I have been thoroughly enjoying your posts this past year and a half and as I have said before to you, Jack, you are indeed gifted with a writers talent. John agrees. John sits with a smile on his face as I read each chapter to him. Apparently TRBL has been blessed with his father’s sense of humor and that is a great blessing. We wish you a very happy and blessed Father’s Day. The Michalkes Sent from my iPad

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