Thursday, November 15, 2007

How to Ruin a Book . . .

Just a note: if you ever want to ruin a book, I know how. It's really easy, actually. You just give it to Spe, my two-year old. He is wickedly destructive with books.

Just so you know, I'm the mom who used to look at nasty chewed on books at the library and shake my head with disdain. Who, I would think self-righteously, lets their children chew on books? I'm the mom who used to about have a mental breakdown when my oldest daughter would accidentally rip a page. "Oh, honey!" I would say gravely, in the same tone that I would use if she were to take permanent marker to our couch or piano, "Books are VERY special. We NEVER treat books this way." She learned very quickly to take excellent care of her books. She doesn't even lose the pieces to those puzzle books. I'm the mom who used to congratulate myself on raising a careful, enthusiastic reader.

And then Spe came along. Spe LOVES to read, which I'm thrilled about. However, I'm not so thrilled with his utter disregard for the proper care of books. Now I'm the mother who stops at the library desk and furtively looks over my shoulder before saying quietly, "Umm. . . my son chewed on this book. I don't think he meant to, but . . ." I endure the withering glare of the librarian, and worry that she will take my library card away. Now I'm the mother who sets aside a few hours every month to repair all the books that Spe has torn. Now I'm the mom who's thinking that Veevs has my book genes and Spe must have Rhett's.

I really don't think Spe means any harm to his books. He's just SO enthusiastic about turning pages and seeing the next picture. When I give him my grave, sad little "shame on all book destroyers" talk, he kind of looks at me blankly, like he's trying to figure out who I'm talking about.

For now, he's on a strict diet of BOARD books only. I still find myself taping and repairing (board books are NOT indestructible, oh no, they aren't!) but at least the shreds are in tact so I can repair them. The other day, I heard the sound of ripping coming from Spe's room and then I heard Ivy say, "Oh, Spe! Books are VERY special. We NEVER treat books like that."

At least I've gotten through to one of them.

In the foreground of this picture is my nephew Drew, who was completely book safe by the age of one. In the background is me and Spe, who received all board books for his one year old (and for that matter his two year old) birthday. Sweet little Spe . . .


Valerie said...

I know it's cliche, but boys will be boys. I guess it's in their nature.

Jen said...

My nephew once brought me a Readers Digest to distract me and proceeded to disembowel his mom's favorite pop-up book to my dismay. Small boys are so cunning!