Sarah Avery (dr_pretentious) wrote,
Sarah Avery

Monkey See, Monkey (Sort Of) Do, And An Incidental Cautionary Tale

Because reading is the only grown-up activity that's really compatible with being on baby duty, it's the activity Gareth sees me do more often than any other. Most household tasks require two hands, and many of them are hard to drop immediately when the baby gets into something he shouldn't. It's not a coincidence that most injuries to children under five happen while their adults are preparing meals. Fortunately for Gareth, I've always been a terrible housekeeper.

We go out a lot, to parks and kids' sections of libraries, to bookstores and playgrounds, and of course to Starbucks (my unnatural habitat), because those are places where I can alternate between vigorous games of peekaboo and slow perambulations holding a book in one hand while Gareth tows me along, his little fist gripping my pantleg.

Sounds kind of charming, doesn't it? Actually, while I was letting Gareth tow me around Starbucks and reading a book with half an eye's attention, a couple of thieves noticed I had my back turned to my stroller. They lifted my wallet right out of my purse. I noticed the theft within a couple of minutes, and everything's going to be just fine. But by the time Bank of America had finished turning off all the relevant plastic, the thieves had made about $7000 in purchases up and down Route 18. Turns out mothers of toddlers make notoriously easy targets. With my nose in a book, I was an easier target than most.

But hours on the phone with the fraud claims office can't get me down, no, because Gareth has started demanding that we read to him. He chases Dan and me across the house, carrying his little board books, and prods us with them. Better yet, he likes to turn the pages himself. This is the kid whose first birthday isn't for two more weeks.

I'd been feeling a little guilty about forcing him to share my attention with the books I read, comforting myself with the thought that at least I was modeling reading behavior. I wasn't expecting to see him imitate it so soon.
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