My husband made us a fly swatter a while back. Every once in a while something like that comes up, and rather than putting it on the list to buy, my husband looks around and sees paper, resin, and scrap wood, and sets to work.

The fly swatter is one of the great toys of the household, on par with the LED flashlight and the dustpan. For a while Nathan could frequently be seen running around the household swatting at… well, everything. Presumably flies.

And the other night Ryan was introduced to the action. I heard a “SNAP!” sound, and then a shriek of laughter from both kids. I looked into the sun room to see Dave with the baby in one arm, the fly swatter in the other hand, and Nathan bobbing around him like a cork on a string. “WHACK!” went the fly swatter again, and Ryan threw his little head back and laughed like he would pop out of Dave’s arm, and Nathan followed suit.

We think that some of Ryan’s enjoyment of things being whacked comes from a feedback loop he has going with Nathan. Nathan is just as susceptible as we are to the fun of entertaining a baby, and experiments with a wider variety of stimuli than we do. Occasionally we find ourselves in a difficult situation, where we’re asking Nathan to please not throw the blocks against the window, thank you, but we can understand why he keeps doing it — Ryan goes into hysterical, topple-over baby laughter with every impact. Our words have a tough time competing with that kind of positive reinforcement.

To be honest, the other day I found myself swatting at the floor experimentally, to see if I could get the same reaction from Ryan. Baby laughter is highly addictive.

We have gleaned one other important observation from the family fly-swatting sessions: Never let the baby hold the fly swatter.


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