Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Local Library Shenanigans

As a self-professed bibliophile, as well as a teacher and coordinator of family literacy, it is with some embarassment that I admit that today is the first time I have ever taken my 18 month old son to the library.  I have excuses (don't I always?): the hours at my favorite branch (the largest branch downtown) don't mesh with the toddler's nap and my evening yoga work schedules; somehow in our move over a year ago I ended up seriously missing some due dates and somehow owing the library system $60, which then took me months to repay; in the meantime I was removed from the online system where I usually browse and couldn't be reinstated until I appeared in person, which kept me from reserving any books, which would have compelled me to go in and pick them up; my mother and in-laws give books as gifts and they've kept me well enough supplied that I didn't absolutely need to go; I indulge in store bought books for my son in a way I don't for myself because I can eventually donate them to my classroom and what better to use as lesson plan material than stories I perfected at home with a real, live audience, and.....well, you get the picture.

But today we had an afternoon pediatrician's appointment, the library is smack dab between the doctor's office and our home, and my husband needed to stop there after work anyway, which coincided exactly with the time we would be passing my favorite downtown branch with the glass walls and ceilings that allow the late afternoon sun to permeate and wash the entrance in a warm, welcoming light.  And so it was with much excitement (admittedly, mostly on my part) that we wrangled a paid parking spot, walked through the double glass doors, and took the escalator upstairs to the second floor.  I couldn't wait to show my son all the exciting new books!  He LOVES books!  He's not a stereotypical boy, who would prefer to run and bang and crash.  We have shelves full of toys and yet he chooses book after book, carefully bringing them to me, or his dad, asking: boo? boo? as he holds them aloft, arms outstretched.  My uncle, after observing his slow, measured behavior, remarked:  Well, this one isn't gonna need Adderall, is he?  We laughed, but it is true, and I am both grateful and proud of his careful and deliberate manner.  So, of course you see where this is going, right?

We arrived at the library and took the elevator up to the fourth floor where the children's section is located.  We could scarcely enter the room before he was wiggling out of my arms and running away from me, toward.....the many shelves of children's books?  No.  The small bin of baby board books?  No.  The puppet show materials available for creative children to act out stories to their heart's content?  No.  He found the one small choo choo train in the entire place, carried it over to the kiddie table and began to bang.  As hard as he could.  Repeatedly.  While shouting, at the top of his lungs:  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  I brought books over to him, opened them, and began to read.  He had this to say:  Bye-bye!  All done!  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Bang!  Complete with the pounding for punctuation.  He paused a few times, only to grab the books from my hands, close them and throw them resolutely on the floor.  The librarians sniffed, and then avoided eye contact.  I cringed, cajoled, and then finally conceded defeat and found a comfortable chair to settle into.  And my boy had himself quite the time, between the banging, the climbing up to stand on the seat of the chair while loudly announcing:  Up!  Up!  Up!, and then the high speed running from his parents, accompanied by the attempt to free the entire library CD collection from its prison upon the shelves, at which point we decided it was probably time to go.  Is it simply a sign of insanity that I found myself wondering why the library doesn't have an indoor climbing apparatus?

And of course, as soon as we arrived home, he headed right for the bookshelf, gently grabbed his favorite alphabet picture book and carried it over to me, asking in a calm and quiet voice:  Mommy? H-I-J-K?  Boo, Mommy, boo?

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