Wednesday is the day that Squishy and I have set aside for books. We spent all of last year hopping from library to library looking for a story time that he could enjoy. Anyone who has ever gotten advice on what to do in the first five years of their child’s life, has undoubtedly heard about the virtues of story time. It is great! All the cute little’s lined up on the carpet, eager to hear about a caterpillar that is oh so hungry. Sitting patiently with their legs in criss-cross applesauce. The other moms sit back in the plastic chairs lining the walls; gossiping, playing on their phones, knitting, even taking cute memory photos. It was the same at every library we went to…Squishy and I stood out like a sore thumb. I couldn’t help but be a little envious, as I sat on the carpet with the kids and squish climbed me like a tree.
It wasn’t the librarian’s fault, for the most part, that we continued to search for our place. He loved the songs, the stories and seeing the kids every week. He just could not sit still in the same spot for a whole hour. It was making him literally crawl out of his skin. After trying and trying and trying again, after hearing the snide comments from fellow moms and some librarians, we stopped going to the library all together. I was angry and embarrassed.
I had to find a different resource to quench Squishy’s appetite for books. I stumbled upon a local used bookstore that featured a low-key story time with Mother Goose. It was like finding home. They didn’t care if Squishy was wiggly, loud, or had a need to chew gum. She remembered his name. She remembered the little quirky things that interested him and made him special. Do you know the effect that has on a child, to remember and treat them as the special unique individual that they are? It was priceless to us. The only downside was that it was at a book store and even though most books in his age range were about $2.00, it was starting to get expensive equipping my little book-worm. Most people assume that since he can’t sit still and hangs upside down while I do our read aloud, that he doesn’t like books. That he is not paying attention. The truth is, he devours books. There will be no empty shelves in the house when he decipher the code that is letters and words.
I had to figure out a solution that would benefit Squishy, not what I was told was the correct thing to do. Squishy’s interest, book wise, has sadly moved beyond the sweet story’s that Mother Goose tells. He still loves to visit, to see her, but the story’s hold his interest less and less. So we decided that each Wednesday would be our special library and book day. I chose the library closest to us (Yay, no more driving all over town!) at a time when there would be the least amount of people. We spend at least two hours scouring the stacks. I only have two rules for him; I have to check the book first to make sure its appropriate, and he has to pick some non-fiction books too. That latter has never been a problem, but I wanted to make sure he was clear on the rules.
Every week our routine is a little different. Some days he will spend time in the Lego corner, or sit at the puzzle table and let me make a few choices for him to pick through. Some days he will find THE book, flipping through the glossy pages over and over again. Still other days he will search through the stacks finding covers that intrigue him, especially if he already has a topic in mind. (One week we went home with 15 books about bridges.) The result is the same, though, we have a mountain of books, and a very happy bookworm. That is the goal I had in mind when I started our library journey, forever ago, and why I kept dragging him from story time to story time. I still get a little pang seeing the bulletin board hanging so colorfully over the kids section, full of cute crafts from the story time kids. Kids I know I should be “socializing” him with. But I’m not, I can’t. At the end of the day I am raising a lover of stories and words. If I had continued to push against our reality, his affection may have turned.
This weeks haul was a doozy, and will keep us thoroughly entertained in the week to come. We read the first of our stories as soon as we got home. Squishy and I spread a blanket outside on the grass, to have a picnic lunch. He ran inside to choose a tale, as I set the food out. Maybe one day I will find a story time that is outside and provides trees to hang from. Until then, I will take a lunchtime snuggle out on the grass.
Squishy had an idea while we were laying on the blanket today; that we could tell you all about what turns out to be our favorite title. Usually his ideas make me nervous, but he might be on to something. So in the weeks to come Squishy and I will have a review of the weeks favorite pick. The one that he makes me read over and over again. So, be on the lookout for that coming every Wednesday. Hopefully your bookworm will enjoy some of Squishy’s recommendations.