The Library: A Place of Quiet Introspection and Toddler Rampages…

It’s been a hurly-burly whirlwind of emotions again this month, with my return to work looming near.*

Baby boy has settled into nursery in good time** but it means the nursery fee rise coincided with the end of my (not-that-impressive) SMP (Statutory Maternity Pay). There’s a loooong, expensive month looming ahead before payday…

So I’ve been especially grateful for the fantastic resource that is my local library. Not only is it a source of books that I’d otherwise have to boycott until we’re solvent again, but it’s also a lovely free morning out with the kiddies (providing I can avoid getting lured into the “lolly shop” by my 3yo…)

Aside from which, I do love libraries.

Being the nerdy, bookish sort my fondest memories include childhood library visits and bedtime stories, so it’s been a mild source of anguish that my eldest has shown only limited interest in sitting still to read a book with me. “Quiet mother!” her look would say, “Let me focus on getting these things off the shelf so I can climb it..” Particularly painful as her best friend happily spends entire afternoons reading with his mummy.

Don’t get me wrong. She enjoys books for their own sake: turning the pages, tearing them out, ruthless editing with a wax crayon… Apparently she would sit in the corner with a book at nursery and laugh hysterically at the pictures (history of mental instability…us…?). And she likes stories. On the mooter. (aka, computer…). It’s all in there, but always behind whatever physical development needs working on next: crawling, standing, climbing, running… Talking and listening have taken a back step at every developmental leap.

But now her speech has caught up we can have proper conversations, and books are emerging in our daily life as I’d hoped they would. Library visits feel like so much more than a token effort now. So whilst my 10 month old empties the troughs of baby books  she carefully selects the books she wants to read (usually something totally inappropriate from the MG section that happens to have a picture of a fairy on the front, but no pictures inside. Fortunately she can “share” the ones picked out for her brother.) As I suspected, she’s often happier reading for herself, or to her brother, than she is passively listening. Which is probably a good thing.

Another bonus of the library is that they have a thoughtful “for adults” shelf in the children’s section, although I’ve yet to get around to exploring it thoroughly as I’ve been side-tracked by the rather good children’s books that have come out since I last looked for myself.

So now my biggest dilemma is whether to start cooking dinner, or make the most of the afternoon sunshine with a cup of tea and the rather compelling Dodger by Terry Pratchett. The latter would probably be the most responsible…after all, I have books on reservation to pick up when I’ve made room on my library card…

* I’ve officially started this week, but as it’s the holidays I’m pretending it’s not really real yet.

**After being traumatised by the minimal induction my lg had before my first day back it seemed best for everyone. I’m still so bad at leaving them that my husband still does the drop offs when I’m at home.


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Mum, writer, gamer, geek. Trying to master the first two whilst squeezing in time for the latter.

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