It is for posts like these that I keep myself so doggone anonymous on here.
Early in December I had a dentist appointment for Big Sister. The dentist we go to (well, except for the past couple years because I scheduled our family for appointments for 2006 nine or 12 months in advance, didn't write it on the new calendar, and went to my brother's wedding in Minnesota that day. Oops.) is in Town, in a not-totally-renovated house alongside the public library.
We used to live about 3 blocks from that library, from about the day Big Sister was conceived, until she was nearly 2. I remember walking there occasionally with her in the stroller. Ah, the urban life. I also remember taking both (older) girls there when you-know-who was about 18 months old or so, desperate was I to research Consumer Reports for vehicle recommendations. I ended up tying her, with my scarf, to the iron rails that guard the stairway overlook*. Have mercy, that girl was busy!
In any case, in the midst of my errands last month, we ended up early for the appointment, and they weren't ready for us. To kill 20 minutes or so, I strapped Organique in the Ergo, took Li'l Artist by the hand, and Big Sister walked alongside the block or so to the front entrance. We went in, then down the staircase to the children's section. Big Sister recognized some Dr. Seuss books on the nearest shelf while I repeated instructions to stay quiet and well-behaved. Big Sis looked up at me with her huge, deep brown eyes after taking in the view, and whispered, "Will they let us look at the books?"
Oh the shame. If my state required homeschooling credentials, mine certainly would've been revoked. My 7-year-old knows not the joys of a public library!
While hanging my head as low as it could go with a squirmy toddler on my chest, I explained that yes, we can look at them if we are careful. And if your mother wasn't so cheap she'd buy a library card and we could actually borrow them at home.
Admittedly, I have issues with the public library. I don't like their 'freedom' interpretation that allows pornography to be viewed on computers in full view of children (I don't know that's been an issue locally, but I recall when the American Library Association or whatever defended that 'right'). Even before I was so firmly anti-bureaucracy, the library and staff displayed to me an astonishing example of how truly inept so many publicly-funded employees and organizations are. It gives the DMV a run for it's money, let me tell you.
But there are virtues, to be sure. We don't lack for books around here (though the kids tend to expect most of their scholastic reading material to emerge from the printer), but access to endless shelves could be most inspiring, I admit.
So did I break down and buy a library card? No. Big Sis managed to discover Put Me In The Zoo (which was one of my old faves! I LOVED those colored spots!) before we had to make our way back to the dentist office. I have, however, stooped to harassing my mother-in-law, who needs to renew her most-unused card, for one in her name. As a resident within city limits, her card is free. And I paid property taxes on that little house in town for a good few years after moving out, so I figure they owe me. :) Perhaps I will be able to reinstate my 'decent homeschooler' status, with time. I just hope my mother-in-law doesn't start screening my calls. It can be my birthday present, okay mom? How's that for a deal? Ah well, it's not like she reads here. Maybe I should tell her that in real life?
*I didn't tie her body-and-limb, train-track-style, but rather tied one end around her waist or belt-loop, and the other end of the scarf to the rail. She had some room to move and play, but far less room than she would've preferred (like all three floors of the library, and all the shelves within).