We read a lot at our house.
As a former teacher and collector of children's books, we have lots of books at our house. (I won't even tell you I have more than 1,000 books, because then that would lead you to wonder, "How does she know it's more than 1,000?" and then that would lead me to admit to you that I have all of our children's book in a database, and then that would lead to... well, let's just say that me admitting to all of my obsessions is another post for another day.)
So... because we are fortunate to have lots of books, we haven't ever had the need to go out and borrow books. You know, like at the library.
When Rylee was little, I took her to story time at the library quite often. But, after listening to stories with other little kiddos her age, we left. We didn't stay to browse. I really didn't see the point in checking out books because:
a) we had lots of our own books at home
b) Rylee was usually getting antsy or tired or hungry when story time was over, which was the universal sign to me as a parent for "get-the-heck-out-of-public-in-case-child-has-meltdown."
c) I was a
germ freak germ-conscious parent and I was already wiping Rylee down with anti-bacterial wipes after leaving the library... I didn't think I needed to bring books into our home that most likely had an adorable (but snotty-nosed) little kid holding it just days before us.
d) I really didn't want to have to remember to return a book to the library... especially a book that Rylee wouldn't show any more preference to than any other book we already had once we got home. (A.K.A. She wasn't picky. A book was a book.)
Fast-forward to days with Carter.
When he was about one year old, story time at the library nearest to our home always fell at an inconvenient time. Either Rylee was just getting done with school, or it was Carter's naptime (still unsure of the thinking behind a story time for one-year-olds at the most popular time of day for naps.) So, we never went.
And again, because we didn't really need to borrow books, a trip to the library seemed unnecessary.
I'm not sure what got into me on Monday. Maybe I was feeling a little bored by our own books. Maybe I was feeling a little guilty that Carter has been playing on his own a lot lately in the mornings while Rylee is at school because I've been doing lots of volunteer work and I haven't made good "quality time" for him.
Whatever the case may have been, we went.
We went to the library.
He was excited. Not really EXCITED, but just excited. He looked at a few books here and there, but kept asking me where the Toy Story books were.
He didn't look for too long before he found something that caught his eye...
Good 'ole Blues Clues.
Now, both kids used to be really into Blues Clues. In fact, Rylee's 5th Birthday Party was a Blues Clues party. But in the last year or so, the cute little blue dog hasn't interested them much.
It was almost like he'd found a long-lost friend.
So, we sat down to read a few pages of the book. (We probably would have finished the whole book except that Carter heard another little boy ask his mom where the movies were. Carter's ears perked up, and he turned to me, "MOM! They have MOVIES here!" *sigh* What ever happened to the good 'ole days when libraries only had books?)
So after talking Carter out of a movie, I told him that we could check out the Blues Clues book. I had to explain to him that it wasn't like a store -- that we were only borrowing the book for a bit, and then we'd bring it back so other kids could check it out. (I guess I didn't need to tell you how that all works... you've probably been to a library.)
(One quick note: having my camera there in the library elicited lots of strange looks. I guess taking pictures at the library is looked upon quite similarly to shouting at the library. I wonder if someone has ever shouted while taking pictures... they probably had their library card revoked.)
We waited at the desk, and when it was our turn, the librarian asked for my library card. When I said I didn't have one, she asked for a photo ID (all the while treating me as though I was un-American for not even having a library card.) While I was tempted to explain to her my reasons for not having a library card, and rattle off a list of books I had read to my kids that week -- you know, just so she knew I wasn't neglecting literacy in my house -- I realized that I didn't owe anyone an explanation. (You know, like the explanation I have given all of you here on my blog.)
Anyway, I ignored her disbelief in my lack of library-card possession, and instead talked to Carter about his book.
Now, I'd love to end this story by telling you that Carter hasn't put his library book down since we got home. I'd love to tell you that we've read it several times each day. I'd love to tell you that our trip to the library was so meaningful that Carter can't stop talking about it, and that we're heading back there next week.
But, instead I'll tell you that after stepping outside the doors of the library, Carter asked if I would hold his book for him. H wasn't interested in his book on the ride home. Rylee got home from school shortly after we got home, and Carter did show her the library book. But, after sharing a quick laugh at the picture of Green Puppy and Magenta (Blue's friends) on the book's cover, Carter set the book on the counter and they both ran outside to play.
I've asked Carter several times since then if he wants to read his library book.
"No fanks, Mom."
If anyone wants to borrow my library card, you can. I won't be needing it anymore.
(Note: Another disclaimer... you know, in addition to the one about me reading to my kids. I do comb Carter's hair. It was a wacky hair day in which his hair didn't respond to any sort of combing or teasing or spraying or gel-ing.... I think his hat just got the best of his hair. Just had to get that in there.)