Planting Seeds at the Library

Growing Up AustinWhen Sparkles and Buttercup pretend to read books or when Blue Eyes and I read to them at bedtime, they prefer their all-time favorite books to their library books.

We check out library books. We lose library books. We search all around the house for library books. We pay late fines for library books. But we don’t often read library books.

Some might stop going to the library in these circumstances, but not us.

Sparkles and Buttercup like the library. They like looking through all the books and making stacks of the ones they like. They like asking the librarian for books about princesses. They like to take turns swiveling in the the orange and red swivel chairs, which aren’t really related to reading, but they are a lot of fun.

They struggle with choosing just three books each, but they work through the struggle and they are able to make their final choices. They love the self-check-out system. They can complete the check-out process on their own, at just 3 and 5 years old.

The books they choose don’t always make sense. They check out the same book over and over. They check out books they already have at home. They check out books in Spanish. The other day, Buttercup wanted to check-out John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

But we keep going because they get excited at the library and they associate reading with fun. It plants a seed that I hope continues to grow, especially as Sparkles starts Kindergarten and she learns to read on her own. That is worth searching the house and paying a few dollars now and then.

Consistently Inconsistent about Bare Feet

Growing Up Austin

(If this feels like deejay-vu, I’m reusing an old photo, but the post is new.)

It is easier to be consistent.

Like our rule about no dress-up clothes outside the house. If I were to be honest with my girls, it wouldn’t hurt for them to dress like a princess when they play on the playground every now and then.

But, dress up clothes aren’t that sturdy and playing outside leads to dirt, washing, tearing and sewing. Rinse and repeat. I have limited time and I can save a lot of time if the dress-up clothes stay inside.

And, if I tried to judge each individual situation, depending on where we are and which dress they want to wear, it just ends up more complicated than it’s worth. The girls understand it less, it takes more explaining and it wears me out, so I don’t have energy for other things.

But, I’m not always consistent in my consistency. For example, I’m consistently inconsistent about bare feet.

A pediatrician will tell you that your kids should wear shoes outside all the time because it is safer for the feet and if you’ve ever stitched up a kids’ foot after she stepped on glass, you would say the same thing.

But, in all of our civility and modern ways, I don’t want to lose the feel of grass under my bare feet. I don’t want to always, every day, for all time, have rubber and leather and stitching between me and the earth. I want to feel the texture and temperature and squishiness of the ground and this feels fundamental to me, this connection with my Earth, in its most direct form. And I want that for my kids too.

So I judge each individual situation, depending on where we are and what the ground looks like. Some would say it is more complicated than it is worth, it takes more explaining, but in this individual case, for me, it is worth it.


Sweet Moments in the Sharing

Growing Up Austin - Sound of Music

I wrote about seeing The Sound of Music at Zilker Park last week and that reminded me of how I’m lucky. I don’t need or want my girls to be just like me. I mostly want them to have kindness in their heart and what happens after that isn’t that important. But I appreciate when we share something, because I find sweet moments in the sharing, like when snuggle to watch the DVD, sing along to My Favorite Things in the car or when we never, ever get tired of The Sound of Music.