My four-year old and I went to the public library after school yesterday for our weekly visit. He takes pride in the “jobs” he has at the library. He heads straight to the book drop slot to empty our bag. He surveys the adults at the circulation desk and asks, “Awww, where is Miss Eleanor?”
I say, “She must have the day off from work. Everyone needs a day to rest.”
Then he marches over to the elevator and presses the button to get us upstairs. We walk a long corridor to the children’s room. He now heads over to the “Disney section” to choose the stories we have not read before. We have progressed from nursery rhymes to fairy tales to specifically Disney stories. He chooses Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and asks who the bad one in the story is. I suppose this means he is starting to understand fairy tale story elements. We flip through the pages to find the poison apple. He is satisfied and drops the book into our bag. He walks among the stacks and picks up books we’ve read before saying, “Mom, remember this one?”
I only brought one bag today and I know we have holds waiting at the circulation desk so I say, “Let’s only choose five books today. We can come back later for more.”
He says, “I’m not five. I’m four. How about if I choose four books?”
“How about six?” I say. I know we will never make it out the door with so few.
I break my own rule within two minutes of being in the children’s room. I’m stuffing new titles into our bag and he is finding books to add as well. We make our way back to the elevator. I’m sure he’ll rush to push the button but instead he opts to take the stairs. I’m thinking about all the books waiting for us at the circulation desk. He has other plans. He stops at the window to look out. “Where is our car, Mom?” It forces me to get out of my own head and look with him.
“Do you see it? Beyond the trees? There’s our white car.”
Satisfied, he continues down the stairs. We walk towards the circulation desk when I bump into a student’s mom. We start chatting and he says, “Mom, I’m going over there to do my work!” He is referring to the computer station where patrons can look up books and write down call numbers. He wiggles his way up on to the computer chair and helps himself to a golf pencil and scrap paper. Then he pushes buttons on the computer keyboard.
He finds his way back to me and I finish my conversation. We bring our books up to the circulation desk. As I hand over my library card and the woman behind the desk leaves to get our holds he asks, “Why is there a cat up there?” I look up and, sure enough, there is a stuffed cat on top of the bookcase.
A man behind the desk says, “It’s name is Dewey the library cat.”
The woman returns with our books and says, “We rescued that cat from the Lost and Found.”
My little guy says, “It’s a stuffed animal cat.”
The woman and I say, “Yes, it is.”
He asks to carry Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs himself. He sits himself on the bench and starts to flip through the pages.
I ask the woman if I can purchase another bag for all our books. She finishes checking out our books and says to him, “Miss Eleanor will be very sad to find out she wasn’t here to check out your books to you.”
We say goodbye and I take his hand as we walk down the steps toward our car.