muchmorewherethatcamefrom

The Last Storytime

In Books, Hazelnut, Peanut on May 22, 2017 at 2:42 pm

So it seems quite anti-climactic to follow up my last blog post with anything other than a reaction to the election, but right now I don’t have the time to quite do that topic justice. Suffice to say, a terrible thing happened, and we need to be praying — and working — for the disenfranchised whose suffering has increased, and for the millions of people who don’t seem to care.

In the meantime, though, as hard as it has sometimes been to believe, life goes on. Winter came and went as always. Work continued for Tolkien and I. School proceeded along for Peanut, who’s now finishing the second grade. (Cue shock and awe.) And Hazelnut is now almost three and a half. Over the past few months, it’s been easy to mourn the sometimes disheartening world in which these two will be growing up, so I’ve been making a concerted effort to focus on the positives.

One of those positives is the fact that, since residency ended (which was around the same time we became parents), I have always worked part-time. For almost 8 years, I have had Mondays off, which I spent solely with Peanut until she went to school and which I now spend with Hazelnut. This is a huge blessing for our family, and not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for it. One of my favourite things to do on these Mondays is go to toddler library storytime. (That is, it’s one of MY favourite things to do. The kids, they could take it or leave it.)

I don’t know if I’ve gone into this before, but I love libraries.  Part of it is simply that I love reading, and part of it is that I grew up in a town with an incredible public library. (The first time I took Tolkien there to visit he was openmouthed at the five-floor glass building on top of a hill with a sweeping view of surrounding towns and an in-house coffee bar built long before such things were ubiquitous.) But my love also stems from the fact that I think it’s amazing that society considers it important to provide this service to its citizens. Free books, free classes, free events for children, free computer access … especially now that we’re in a time in this country when everyone seems to want to deny privileges to their neighbours, I realize that even things we’ve always had could be taken away, so I don’t want to take them for granted. Since I was a very young kid, I’ve just been moved by the idea that stepping into a library gives you access to thousands of free books.

So it’s probably no surprise that one of my very favourite things about being a parent has been picking out books for my kids. It’s a huge treat for me to go to the library once every couple of months and spend an hour curating two new stacks of books to enthrall a seven-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy respectively. (Obviously said seven-year-old and three-year-old can’t actually accompany me on this trip or none of this would get done.) I especially love finding books that I read as a child and attempting to brainwash my kids into adoring them too. I’m already sad about the day when both of them are old enough to pick out their own books. Apparently then it’ll creepy if I keep hanging out in the children’s section.

In any case, storytime (which in our system has the politically correct name of “children’s educational programming”) is also part of the library experience for me. I think it’s just lovely that a librarian selects several books to go along with a theme, some titles of which I may not have heard of either. It’s so sweet to see a bunch of babies and toddlers lisping along to the songs that go with that theme. It’s fun to see Hazelnut interact with other kiddos his age, as Peanut did. And I most love snuggling with Hazelnut while he’s still small enough to fit in my lap, as I did with Peanut before she grew like a weed. It’s not like we don’t snuggle at home, but in public he’s maybe 1/8 less rambunctious than he usually is, which if my math is correct translates into 2 more minutes of lap snuggling than I’d get at home, where the temptation to leap off a bed while hollering “To infinity and beyond!” is too great to resist for long. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just like every other parent, and the actual listening to books meant for a toddler comprehension level gets boring pretty fast. But the overall idea still makes me warm and fuzzy.

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However, I realized recently that Hazelnut is starting preschool this fall. He’ll be gone on Mondays. And Peanut is about to finish school for the summer, which means we won’t be going to toddler storytime (I’m sorry, CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING) for the next couple of months because we’ll need to find a Monday activity that engages both of them. So today was my last library storytime. Oh sure, there might be one or two more in the future if there’s a Monday when Hazelnut’s school is cancelled or what have you, but for all intents and purposes, an era is ending here. Eight years of library storytime. Eight years of having a child at home full time. Eight years of raising a baby or toddler. Gone like that.

Someone told me once that every stage of raising kids has its pros and its cons, so Tolkien and I have been trying to enjoy the positives of each stage rather than dread the upcoming negatives or long for the departed good stuff. There are certainly a lot of things that I think will be great about having older and adult children. I will never miss potty training, for example. And if I ever miss being woken up all night long, you can be confident that I’ve suffered a severe head injury. But for today, I’m going to let myself be a little nostalgic about the precious Monday mornings I used to spend listening to picture books and songs with one of my chubby little ones. And I may or may not be making a mental list of story time locations for the grandkids. 🙂

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  1. Aww i used to do this with Ro too when he was really little, but now he’s at the Montessouri school. I’ll definitely be doing it for our next 🙂 I’m glad I’m not the only parent who loves libraries! I thought I was the only nerd I knew 🤓

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