Friday, March 03, 2006

The Blonde-Haired Book Goniff

Unlike my three year-old daughter, my twenty-one month-old son has not yet learned not to pull books down off the bookshelves in our house. He used to sneak into the living room on almost a daily basis and pull a sefer (usually a small Tanya) off the bookshelf and walk around with it before he was caught red-handed. I finally put our vacuum cleaner in front of the bookshelf to stop him since I knew that its menacing presence would scare him away from the room.

The vacuum cleaner trick was successful in keeping him out of the living room and I was finally able to put the vacuum cleaner back in the closet. Now, my son pulls books off the lowest shelf of the bookshelf in the family room. The lil' book goniff snatches one of two small paperbacks each day; either "The Diary of Anne Frank" or Primo Levi's "Survival at Auschwitz".

He has bookshelves for his books in his room and also in the playroom and he still can't keep his little fingers off mine!


At March 3, 2006 at 8:59:00 AM EST, Blogger torontopearl said...

See...I told you that baby pose in the pic a couple days ago was that of a thinker: Tanya, Anne Frank's Diary, Primo Levi's works...there's the evidence!

At March 3, 2006 at 9:02:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

At one time, he also used to snatch Rabbi Lazer Brody's book "Nafshi Sidom" as well since it is a smaller-sized book.

At March 3, 2006 at 10:04:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a very good sign!
#1. Liking books at an early age
#2. Diverse interests
#3. Multiple languages
#4. A father that provides the opportunity for all of the above

At March 3, 2006 at 10:48:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks Chabakuk Elisha.

Let me ask you, how do you keep your small kids away from your bookshelves?

At March 3, 2006 at 11:02:00 AM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of them used to pull seforim off the shelves, but not for many years now. I didn't have any great solutions then - I ultimately ended up clearing the bottom two shelves for them, and used it for their toys until they were bigger, but that was a long time ago.

Although it is a far lesser problem, my 3 year old daughter likes to move them around and especially to push them all the way in. So, we have this "game" we play - every Friday I pull them all out to the edge of the shelf, and by the time we eat the Friday night seuda, she usually has most of them pushed all the way back in again...

At March 3, 2006 at 11:05:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

It is funny you mention that story with your daughter. Since I am so particular with my books I can always tell if the kids have moved them.

How were you able to teach your kids about the proper kavod they needed to give to seforim? [You can answer that one too Pearl]

At March 3, 2006 at 2:11:00 PM EST, Blogger Soccer Dad said...

I have this small leather siddur that's 20+ years old. It used to be my Shabbos siddur. My first 3 children didn't do much to it. But #4, ripped out some of the pages and crumbled others. Then #5 one morning got a hold of the siddur and started ripping out pages indiscriminately. I was able to tape it back together, but got myself a new Shabbos siddur.

At March 3, 2006 at 2:14:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

David: How were you able to teach your kids not to pull books of the bookshelves?

I know you also have a little one at home who probably does what my son does, right?

At March 4, 2006 at 7:06:00 PM EST, Blogger Alice said...

OK, so put your books in his room and the playroom and put his books where yours are now. Or move yours up a shelf and put his down there. Keep in mind that you have much more parenting experience than I. I have two friends with 1.5 year olds and they are having a heck of a time because they can not be contained. They can open doors, climb baby gates, and climb out of their cribs. Eeek!

At March 4, 2006 at 7:30:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Alice: I am not brave enough to put my books in his room ;)

At March 5, 2006 at 12:30:00 AM EST, Blogger Holeches Levadi said...

I usually don't like to plug my blog, but can you please comment on my most recent post? I need advice, and I feel like you might have some for me.

(Feel free to delete this comment after you've seen it - again, I don't mean to plug my blog.)

At March 5, 2006 at 11:46:00 AM EST, Blogger RebYidd said...

I think it is great that you start them off young with a love for books!!

Goodluck to you and your wonderful kids!

At March 5, 2006 at 6:29:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks Reb Yidd! I appreciate your kind words.

At March 6, 2006 at 12:31:00 AM EST, Blogger Post-Denom Jew said...

Hey, nice choices, though. He'll grow up to be a mensch.

At March 6, 2006 at 6:46:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

G-d willing!

At March 6, 2006 at 2:15:00 PM EST, Blogger Akiva said...


Baruch Hashem, a good problem to have. B"H, I've gone through it many times. Here's what I've done:

1. Cleared the bottom two shelves and used them for childrens books only.

2. On seforim shelves where that's not the case, I had wood-framed glass doors installed (inexpensive at Ikea). Then used a cabinet child lock on the glass doors.

3. Make sure to BOLT the bookcases to the wall, since #1 occasionally leads to climbing the shelves or using a chair and then leaning on the shelves.

4. Bought and presented each child with their own small set of seforim. "Here's _your_ siddur, here's _your_ tanya, etc." The pocket or travel editions are just their size. Alternatively (if you don't want to watch holy seforim getting damaged), the "my first siddur", "my haggadah", etc, also are a good fit, lots of pictures (attractive), and usually don't have shemot kodesh.

With #4, it's easier to make the point of "go get your siddur, we're davening now" kind of thing. Then he/she gets used to going after their own.

And the most important, make sure to read to them. When they get just a little older, you'll then see them grab the seforim and 'read' it to themselves (long before they actually can). And, G-d willing, when they're are able to, you'll see them not only read to themselves but to their siblings.

May you be blessed with many such 'problems'!

Oh, getting the name of a seforim repair is not a bad idea also! Duct tape can do wonders.

At March 6, 2006 at 2:27:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Excellent advice!! Thank you, Akiva :)


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