Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Library Day

on July 24, 2013

Barring sickness or some other emergency, Wednesday is our usual library day. We generally try to start school work soon after Daddy leaves for work, squeeze in an hour and a half of planned learning, then head to the library for preschool story time.

Today, however, did not go according to plan. I slept maybe 3 1/2 hours last night (hello, pregnancy insomnia …) and was hoping to sleep in a bit … until Baby Bear woke up crying at 6:45 a.m. and woke Little Bear with her cries.

I staggered into the kitchen to find that I had only decaf coffee left in the pantry … not a good way to start any day, especially a day when Mommy and kidlets alike have had too little sleep. Breathing deeply and hoping the mere aroma of decaf coffee would do some good, I managed to get the girls fed and dressed. We even muddled through morning Bible stories.

Then, we sat down to flip through the 37 library books we currently had checked out and figure out what we could return. … Each week, I go online and reserve theme-related books for us to read over the course of the next week. Each week, we also spend enough time at the library for both girls to pick their age in just-for-fun library books. Usually, the bag of just-for-fun books gets read the soon after we get home from the library (and if the girls chose well, their picks get read several more times over the course of the next week). Last week, however, the “fun” bag got set in a corner and forgotten about … until this morning.

“Mommy!” Little Bear shrieked as she opened the bag, “we haven’t read any of my fun books from last week!”

“Well, we can keep them for another week,” I said.

“No!” she cried, tears welling up in her eyes. “If we keep these, I can’t check out any new books today! You can only have your age in library books. That’s the rule!”

(The whole age-in-library-books thing is Mommy’s rule to ensure that we can actually keep up with the stream of library books entering and exiting our apartment. But I really didn’t want to discuss exceptions to the rule with my very rule-conscious, black-and-white thinking 5-year-old.)

Glancing up at the clock, I told here, “We have time to read them before we go. Bring the bag here.”

Good-bye, Library Day school work. Hello, morning read-a-thon.

We finished reading, loaded up the van, and got to the library just early enough for me to swing through the coffee shop drive-thru next door and get a desperately needed iced caramel macchiato with double espresso. And just for the record, it is possible to consume an entire iced coffee drink in the time it takes to cross from one parking lot to another and park a minivan.

By the time story time ended and both girls had finalized their book selections, they were clamoring for lunch. So we stopped for tacos before heading home to begin our school day.

… except that Little Bear didn’t want to chance this week’s library picks being forgotten. Both girls clamored for me to read the bag of books we’d just brought in the door. (Hello, children, we spent an hour and a half reading at home this morning; then, you spent another half hour listening to stories at the library. How many books do you want in a day?!?)

And so we read … for another 45 minutes or so, until the previous night’s lack of sleep caught up with me.

“Hey, do you girls want to watch Kipper?” I asked.

They weren’t about to pass up that opportunity. They took the iPad and ran while I closed my eyes for 34 blissful minutes …

until Baby Bear’s screams alerted me — even before Little Bear called, “Mommy, it’s over, so I turned off the iPad!” — that their entertainment and my nap had come to an abrupt end.

It was hot, I was tired, and Baby Bear was grumpy. We headed to the pool (once we managed to find the sunblock, Baby Bear’s Crocs, and Little Bear’s cup …) and spent most of the afternoon playing.

By the time we got back inside, I was feeling somewhat guilty that we had done no actual academic work over the course of the day. Baby Bear wanted to play Hi-Ho-Cherry-O, though, so we did — and called it math in a box. Baby Bear got counting practice, while Little Bear added, subtracted, and made more/less comparisons. We also reviewed bodily orifices in which small plastic fruits (and other objects) should not be inserted — health class! And we used prepositions to help each other track down escaped cherries, apples, and blueberries — “Your apple is behind the recliner.” “I think my blueberry rolled under the rug.” “Is that a cherry beside the piano?” Surely, that counts toward language arts.

Only when Little Bear pointed out that we had done no actual bookwork did I feel guilty enough to pull The Reading Lesson off the shelf. She too was tired, however. After reading through two pages, she’d had enough. We shelved the book and called it a day. We’ll try again tomorrow.

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