Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read

Seek and Destroy: Everything My Toddler Son Would Rather Do Than Read

My daughter loves to read. She always has. As a baby, she would sit contentedly on my lap looking at board books. As a toddler, she would page through her stories for an hour at a time, if I let her. (Of course I let her. An uninterrupted hour to myself? Heck, yeah!) Even though she cruelly gave up naps weeks before my son was born, I could at least rely on her to read to herself during a mandatory quiet time. It was – and continues to be – my saving grace.

Elisabeth at four months, in her happy place.

Elisabeth at four months, in her happy place.


Elisabeth asleep atop a pile of books.

Elisabeth asleep atop a pile of books.

I thought James would inherit this love of books. As usual, I was wrong.  The kid has zero interest in reading. Like, none. I am partially to blame. I was far too tired to read to him as a baby like I did with Elisabeth. Perhaps I missed the opportunity to instill a love of literature in him. I’ve surely stunted his future academic achievement as there is no way he hears the recommended 30,000 words/day necessary to ensure literary and language success. Unless hearing, “Stop!” or, “No!”, or “That oven is hot!” over and over 30,000 times counts, in which case he’ll be fine.

His future intelligence aside, I mainly wish he would read because reading usually involves sitting still.  Sitting still means not destroying my house or finding new ways to hurt or kill himself.  But, no. Books – boring. Electrical cords – fun! Reading – nerdy. Death defying stunts – exhilarating! So, what exactly does he like to do, if not read? Almost anything. Here you have it: A list of everything my toddler boy would rather do than read.

1) Sniff his lovey. It’s super weird but super cute, and notable because it’s the only time he is ever still. And while he absolutely loves sniffing his lovey, this unfortunately does not account for much time in his day.


2) Climb into bookshelves. (Which of course requires removing all the books from the shelves first.)



3) Climb up the bookshelves.

Not dangerous at all.

Not dangerous at all.

4) Eat crayons. Really, most of the greens in James’ diet come from Crayola.

5) Smear Chapstick over his entire body.

6) Splash in the toilet. Especially when someone *cougholdersistercough* forgets to flush.

7) Open dresser drawers and empty all the contents onto the floor.

This is why I don't bother with laundry.

This is why I don’t bother with laundry.

8) Remove wine bottles from the bar and see if mom hears before they shatter on the floor.

9) Rummage through trash cans and chew on discarded Kleenex. Lovely!

10) Shove trash cans down the stairs.

This was grosser than it appears.

Thankful there were no coffee grinds in this bag.

11) De-Babyproof the kitchen cabinets. One strong tug is really all it takes!

12) Turn on the stove burners, now that he can reach the knobs. Or rather, turn on the gas. So yeah. That’s safe.

13) Lock himself into closets.

14) Bang his head against the wall. Intentionally.

15) Distribute shoes throughout the house so it’s impossible to find a complete pair.

16) Brush his teeth – Whose toothbrush he uses is of no consequence.

17) Sweep, which is super helpful and never, you know, makes more of a mess.


18) Fling cushions and pillows from the furniture.

19) Lob food to the floor as forcefully as possible. The more something splatters, the better!

You cannot stop me from throwing this onto the floor!

You cannot stop me!

20) Reorganize his sister’s meticulously arranged dollhouse. So cute. Never causes conflict.

21) Crawl into the dishwasher.


22) Expel every single one of his toys from their baskets, and then not play with a single of them.

23) Unless “playing” with toys means, “violently bang them against a table.” He does a lot of that.

24) Dance. The kid loves to groove. And when he’s dancing, he’s not demolishing anything, which is a nice bonus for me.

25) Play hide-and-seek in the shower curtain and pull down and break rod. Oh wait, that was the other kid. Because having one child who completely destroys the house is simply not enough.


I realize many of these are pretty typical toddler activities. But shoot, keeping up after this little terror is exhausting. If any of you have any suggestions for something that will keep my son entertained and immobile – besides a restraining device – I’m all ears.


  1. Diana you have a gift! I love reading about your family!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *