Boo is in a neverending throwing phase. Catriona says this phase is very common among boys and it typically lasts a few weeks. I can’t remember when boo didn’t throw stuff—and he’s showing no indication of ever stopping. One minute he’s holding a block. The next minute that same block is crashing into the wall ten feet away. Nothing really wrong with the habit in a basic sense—in fact, his form is impressive, the effortlessness, the grace—except that sometimes it’s not the wall, but your face that lands up with a block in it—or grandma’s face.
Catriona says we don’t want to stop Aidan from throwing. It’s a great skill to have. Maybe he’ll wind up a pitcher! And it does give him such great pleasure. But she said we can replace the heavy, solid, sharp objects he throws with soft ones, like balls and stuffed animals. Pretty clever, that Catriona. She says sometimes in class when they have a kid (always a boy) who loves to throw stuff, they’ll literally remove every hard toy in the room and fill it with balls, so the kid can throw to his heart’s content. And that’s what we should do at home. Unfortunately, it’s hard to control every object he comes into contact with. For example, when he’s outside, he loves to mess with the cat dishes. Usually we remember to place them out of reach, but sometimes we forget. And last week, he broke not one, but two of the cat dishes. Picked them up and shoved them off the step where the cats eat and broke them into big chunks on the cement. Poor cats.
Aidan loves to throw stuff off my bed, and I have to fetch it. Catriona says this is another issue that can be rectified: Don’t put him on the bed. Duh. Unfortunately, that’s where I nurse him and I just can’t imagine sitting on the floor leaning up against the wall or something (he throws stuff off the rocking chair too). He used to be in love with these plastic Paul Frank monkey cups we had, one on each nightstand. He loved them so much, we thought he thought they were God. He looked at them worshipfully and loved to touch them, suck on them, drink from them…and, of course, throw them. Eventually they became cracked, with jagged edges. He once cut his gum chewing on one. So, we packed them up and stuck them in a drawer for posterity and replaced them with mugs. Then he fell in love with my alarm clock. It was the cheapest, ugliest little plastic, battery-operated alarm clock ever. I’d had it since college. It traveled the world with me. And boo loved it. It was actually his first word (after Jack, our cat’s name): caw! claw! cai! All sort of meaning clock. He loved it. He’d cuddle it while nursing. He’d suck the grime out of its crevices. And inevitably, he’d hurl it across the room, where it would crash to the floor, sometimes losing its plastic cover, sometimes losing the flap that encased the battery. And finally one day, it just busted apart completely. The plastic cover flew, the face—a thin metallic slip—fell off, even the minute and second hands, strewn. The inside was rusty and corroded. I picked up all the little pieces, thinking I could somehow fix it, but realized pretty quickly the futility of the endeavor. I was truly sad. I said, gravely, “Aidan, you broke it. You broke the clock.” He gazed at me, quizzically, then smiled. “Ca! Ca!” “The clock is broken,” I said. “It’s dead. You killed it,” trying to make him understand. He didn’t.
Using Catriona’s advice, I put a stuffed bird by my bed where the clock had once stood. (Until I get around to replacing the clock, I use my phone to tell time while in bed.) He would nurse cuddling the bird, suck on its leather beak, delight when I pressed its tummy to make it tweet…and, of course, throw it. But no damage was done. The bird was soft. It was a much more appropriate object for throwing, until my dad let boo take it in the yard, where he threw it in the cat dish and then in the dirt and it became disgusting, so I hand-washed it and replaced it with a stuffed bunny by my bed. The bunny’s the best of all. It’s soft and cuddly and very good at singing songs to Aidan and making him laugh. But I still have to fetch it when boo hurls it across the room.