I'm not beginning this entry with an apology. There's a week and a half until my final packet of the semester is due, and I have a nine-month old baby. I post when I post. That being said, I am looking forward to more regular posts during my nearly two-month break before the next semester starts. (And yes, I am aware of the paving material for the road to Hell.)
Despite the irregularity of my posts since the arrival of Superbaby, I have tried to keep one thing consistent: no torrent of baby-related posts. This is not a poke at my friends who have child-centric blogs. That is the purpose of their blogs, and I read them with relish (mostly.) My blog, however, is about my life as a student and writer, and also a place for me to rant about films and books. I'm afraid I'm going to have to break my rule, however, as these two areas of my life (books and baby) have intersected.
I have already written about my obsession with children's literature and my joy at having an excuse now to revist old favorites. Only recently, however, I got do the one thing I have looked forward to since the day I found out I was pregnant (and even before that)....I took Lucy Addison to the library.
Deciding when a child is old enough for the library is a tricky thing. If I'd had my way, I would have been wheeling her in there for a load of books on the way home from the hospital, but alas, the library is a quiet place, and squawling infants are met with stern looks over ancient reading glasses. So I waited. At eight months, I decided that I'd been patient long enough. We made our first trip to the library.
As I carried my twenty pound infant on my hip (a mistake I didn't repeat...stroller from here on out), I half-expected bright lights and an angel choir. I was, after all, introducing Lucy Addison to the library. Here she will choose books, find her favorites, go to storytime, win summer reading contests, oh, wait, I digress. Back to reality. Things weren't quite like I remembered from my childhood library visits (and there were many.)
First of all, Greenville libraries have automatic sliding doors now. How unromantic is that? I was prepared for the computerized card catalogs and infrared scanners and book barcodes, but not the sliding doors. It was a little disappointing. Then there's the whole smell thing. When I was little, my favorite thing about the library was the smell. I was the only five year old who got a contact high from the scent of musty books. Since I can no longer smell, something of the whole experience was diminished.
The visit improved greatly, though, when I got to the children's section. As I wandered (as much as one can wander when their right arm is numb from carrying a baby) through the picture books (set in shelves at kid height), I spotted the sign for storytime. Every Tuesday at 10 and 11. It was Wednesday. We'd have to wait a whole week for it to come around again. "Lucy Addison," I said, "we'll be back." She didn't seem particularly excited at the prospect.
We checked out her very first library books and rushed home to begin reading them. That part was as good I'd hoped. I remembered all the books my mother had read to me, all the trips to the library lugging the maximum number of books allowed from library to car to house and back. Checking out favorites again and again. Was Harry still a dirty dog? He was. Was Lyle still the most clever crocodile? Turns out yes.
Then came the day for storytime. I followed the other mothers in with their squirming toddlers and even a few infants. A smiling librarian with a Clifford puppet on her hand met us at the door. "Clifford" spoke to each child as they entered. Lucy Addison inspected the red dog from the safety of her stroller, looking a little skeptical with furrowed brow, and then we rolled into the auditorium with fifteen or twenty other children for the main event.
May I say that I never felt more like a mother than I did for that half hour. It was magical. There was singing, story reading, and even a rhythm/marching band where Lucy Addison got her own instrument (a rice-filled plastic egg.) There was even a bubble break. Part of me didn't want it to end. The best part was that Lucy Addison really seemed to enjoy it. That's it. No clever quips or funny anecdotes. It was perfect. The librarian even read Harry, The Dirty Dog.
Cue the music. This was the moment I had built up in my mind all those years. I am the mother of a little girl, and I just took her to storytime at the library.
And we get to do it again next week.
For anyone who's curious, here are the books we've checked out and read so far:
Thirsty Baby, Catherine Ann Cullen
Olivia and the Missing Toy, Ian Falconer
Olivia Forms a Band
Angelina Ballerina, Katharine Holabird
Angelina Ice Skates
Angelina's Baby Sister
Princess Baby, Karen Katz
Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, Bernard Waber
Harry, the Dirty Dog, Gene Zion
LMNO Peas, Keith Baker
Too Many Frogs, Sandy Asher
Maisy Goes to the Library, Lucy Cousins
On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC, Rachel Isadora
Bears on Chairs, Shirley Parenteau
Lyle and the Birthday Party
Eloise: a Book for Precocious Grown-Ups, Kay Thompson (we didn't finish this one. Too much for LA)
Wee Little Bunny, Lauren Thompson
Plus these that we checked out this week and are in progress....
A Beautiful Girl, Amy Schwartz
Emily and Albert, Jan Ormerod
Emma and Mommy Talk to God, Marianne Williamson
Martha Walks the Dog, Susan Meddaugh (Martha is after my time, but I'm in love with her!)
Angelina at the Fair
Angelina and Alice
Angelina at the Palace (Noticing a pattern here?)
Say Cheese!, Lauren Child
Katy and the Big Show, Virginia Lee Burton