Finding Knowledge and Other (Green) Things at the Library

On this, the first morning of the school holidays, we walked to our local library. The walk was not without the usual handful of small dramas that tend to accompany any stroll with a toddler and a five-year-old, but all things considered, it was fairly successful. We encountered only one slightly scary, yappy dog on our journey. We had brief but friendly conversations with a man fixing his car in the driveway and a small boy peering through his front gate. We skinned one knee twice, but thankfully the knee belonged to the more physically resilient of the children, so we got away with minimal tears. Of course, the less hardy child noticed that her injured brother was receiving the lion’s share of attention and attempted to amend this discrepancy by fake-falling-over three times. But when the wheel of the pram accidentally clipped the back of her ankle, she was provided with a genuine opportunity to stage her own short production of suffering and sorrow. The balance of attention thus restored, we reached our destination in good spirits.

I’m a Library Teacher, so naturally I hope that my children will cultivate their own love of the library. I hope that they will learn to relish the hushed stillness, the smell of books, the cosy intimacy of a shared story, perhaps even that pit-of-your-stomach flutter of almost-hunger at opening a new book and devouring the first fresh and perfect words.

When we entered the children’s section of the library today, both of my children selected a pile of books and settled down on the floor to look through them. I felt a rush of pride at my well-behaved and studious offspring. We were getting ready to go when the library’s hushed stillness (and my momentary parental smugness) was pierced by the voice of a two-year-old not overly concerned with inside voices: “I’ve got green boogers!” He held his finger aloft, as if celebrating a Eureka moment of discovery, except that in this case the tip was adorned with a rather spectacular globule. “LOOK AT MY GREEN BOOGERS!”

Pick (excuse the pun) the Library Teacher’s son: making discoveries, eager to share his knowledge with others.

The Comedy Act

When she’s in a particularly good mood after her bath, my five-year-old daughter likes to dabble in a bit of physical comedy. She throws her underwear into the air, cries “Where’s my knickers?” and spends the next minute scrabbling madly around the room pretending to search for them, while her two-year-old brother just about hyper-ventilates from laughter. It’s HILARIOUS. My toddler has never once attempted to imitate this comedy act, but he heartily enjoys the show.

This morning my two-year-old is sitting in the trolley as we do the weekly shop. Bonds underwear is having a sale, so I devote a minute to the merits of a three-pack of cushioned-sole, low cut socks. And then a voice interrupts my meditation: “Where’s my knickers?” I shush him, but he knows he’s on to something. This time there is a certain confidence, an authority in his voice as he bellows, “WHERE’S MY KNICKERS?” And then again, but this time in a weird, sinister growl I’ve never even heard him use, “Where’s my knickers?” For goodness’ sake, he doesn’t even wear knickers. Full marks for timing, though.