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Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Many Uses of a Drum

This week, we had a visitor at our house, Jill Dabney, who played and sang two of the songs from The Debt Collector. She came by on Wednesday, which is the day I have off to do things not involving Bow, and Lawrence reported to me that the whole time when Jill was recording the songs, Bow was listening intently to the music she was making.

On Thursday, I started work on getting the songs edited and uploaded, so Bow got a chance to hear them again. On Friday, as I was listening to one of the songs, Bow asked me to be allowed to play music. (תני לי לנגן). I went to look for a keyboard for him to use, but neither of our portable keyboards worked, so I asked him whether he might like to make music with his drum, instead.

Granted, drum music isn't all that melodic, but Bow agreed. So I brought in one of the drums he received as a present from his uncle years ago.

There is a reason that Bow doesn't have all his toys in with him all the time. Most toys require tight supervision, because once he destroys them, it's possible to create all kinds of havoc with the parts.

While he understands perfectly well what a drum is for, and he can he even demonstrate that he knows how to play the drum quite well -- he has an excellent sense of rhythm -- Bow is never content to use a toy or a tool only for the purpose intended. He gets very excited when he has an object to play with, and he explores every possible use, consuming, taking apart and re-purposing as he goes along.

By the time he was done with the drum, he had liberated the metal rods that were a part of its outer structure and set about finding novel uses for them.

Here is a video of the progression of Bow's activities using the drum and its remains.

How many different uses that Bow makes of the drum can you spot?  My interns used to try to convince me that this creative behavior by Bow with every single toy was not destructive: he was constructing new objects from the remains of the old ones. Much as I appreciate Bow's creativity, I beg to disagree. Bow consumes things. He enjoys the various stages of taking something apart, and he is clever at devising new uses. But he never puts two things together to make a new one, so his actions are not constructive. The goal of his activity is always to take apart.

For this reason, Bow gets to play with one toy at a time, and always under tight supervision. While his destructiveness is usually playful, imaginative and harmless, there is always the potential for Trouble with a capital T in all his music making!


  1. He sounds like a lot of boys who like to take things apart and put together new stuff. Some guy told me he did that with a door once just because he could.

  2. Yes, Julia, in this respect, he is like a lot of boys -- in the sense that they all like to disassemble things. But Bow never puts together new things from the old ones. He finds novel uses for each part, but he never takes two parts and puts them together to build something new. He's also that way with building blocks. We build. He takes apart. But on the other hand, he loves to clean!