Geez, I am so sad for some kids. There is a woman sitting in the library with her child imprisoned in a stroller next to her, with nothing but a TOOTHBRUSH to entertain himself with, while she does something on a computer. He’s about two years old, so chewing on things has lost the thrill it once held for him. Still, he is mostly quiet and well behaved – babbles to himself sweetly for a while and then sort of groans in what I interpret as boredom. Her response is to jerk the stroller closer to her and snap at him to “Be quiet!” Ummm . . . hello? Library? BOOK? Do ya think that adorable curly-topped head might have a brain inside of it that needs some stimulation?
I went to the children’s section and found a board book (anticipating correctly her eye-rolling objection that “He’ll just tear the pages”) and then after pointing out to her the durable pages, gained her permission and handed it to him. He clutched it and looked at me, almost smiling but like he wasn’t sure what to do. I smiled back, pointed to the book and said enthusiastically, “Look at the bears!” Then he looked down and slowly started turning the board pages and looking at the pictures. He’s been bent over the book intently for several minutes now. I’ve heard him chuckle a couple of times, and he looked up at me and smiled once.
You will never hear me saying that parenting is easy. But Godfrey Daniels! There are some elements of it that are pretty dang simple, and when I see someone blessed with a child and seemingly unable to grasp the really basic stuff, it worries me. If I hang around long enough, I’ll probably have that kid in my high school class, and he’ll probably look at me like I’m an alien when I suggest he read something.
Please – surround your children with books they can enjoy from an early age, and read to them often. It is one of the least expensive ways you can find to entertain them – free if you use the library – and the rewards are invaluable.