16 Sep 2011

All Of These Books Have Been Read!

27 Comments Personal Crap, Toddler

About a month ago, Garrett and I went to the library together for the first time. It’s not that I’d been putting it off, it’s just that I wasn’t in a big rush to get there. After all, there used to be a thing called “A Book Store”, where you could walk in and pick any book off the shelf. And purchase it. Yes! For reals!! But, since I have to drive 40 minutes to get to the nearest “Book Store” now, I thought we’d try the library. That’s a lie. It was G’s idea. He said, “Let’s go to the library!” And we did.

We walked in and headed straight for the information desk, where a lovely 20-something girl offered to help us find whatever we needed. What we apparently needed were dinosaur books. “Picture-books, or information-books?”, she asked. I looked at Garrett. “Information”, he offered. So we went to that section.

Within minutes, G had a lap-full of dinosaur books that he literally could not wait to start reading. “Let’s bring them to a table!” We did. And we spent the next hour going through those books, him telling me about all the dinosaurs and asking me about the ones he didn’t know yet. Every ten minutes or so, he’d tell me how AWESOME he thought it was at the library and how HAPPY he was to see these books. His head nearly exploded when I told him we could borrow them for three weeks. He read them over and over when we got them home.

The library is a magical place. But I’m going to admit something that many of you will not find at all surprising. Used books freak me out. I like new, crisp books that have not been read by anyone yet. And here is why:

As G and I read and became filled with dinosaur knowledge, I couldn’t take my eyes from the stains and splotches on nearly every page. These were my thoughts as we read: Why are the stains always brown? Do people take their library books to the bathroom and use the pages to cleanse themselves? Do they eat chocolate pudding, using the books as place mats? Do they clean their wounds with the pages and let the blood dry slowly on the words written there? What’s that awful smell? Did the man next to me just poop himself? Oh. Nope. G just turned a page.

I also feel the need to wash my hands even MORE than I usually do, after touching library books. They’re gross. But Garrett has found a place that he loves, and it’s filled with stinky, poop-stained, disgusting books that are filled with fantastic information. We’ve gone a couple times now, and both times have truly been wonderful. He pulls books off the shelf with such excitement and we spend so much time reading them at the library, and then at home. I do love it there, and I love our time there.

I just wish I was really rich, so I could fill the library with brand new books, and enforce jail time for anyone who stains them, writes in them, rips the pages, or uses them as loofas. Reading is fundamental. But library books are funky. (And not in an R&B or Hip Hop kind of way.)

*The views expressed in this post are not supported by my son, the information girl, the librarian who helped us get our library cards, or the man sitting next to me who did not poop himself.

written by
Lisa Arch likes being a working actress... but LOVES being a Mom!

27 Responses to “All Of These Books Have Been Read!”

  1. Reply Melisa says:

    OMG you are SO WEIRD!!!!!

    I’m thinking it’s not likely that anyone is wiping their butts with library books. Just a guess though.

  2. Reply Mike Badger (@Used2b500Pounds) says:

    Thanks a lot. I am total OCD and until now never thought about how gross. Now all I will see when I see a used book is a binded set of used toilet paper squares.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Oh no!!! I’m pretty sure they’re not used as toilet paper. Pretty sure. I’m a total germ freak, but I put up with those books because the library is truly an amazing place, and they’re FREE!! (I just use a LOT of hand gels when I’m there.) Think of the magic, not the toilet paper.

  3. Reply Michelle says:

    LOL!! Well, I can’t say that your thoughts hadn’t passed through my mind. I try not to think about it and we DO wash our hands after reading library books. I find that the older I get, the more germophobic I become. What’s up with that?

    I think that my 5 yr. old daughter, S, and G would be immediate best friends. She is obsessed with dinosaurs. When she watches TV (1 hr. MAX. per day), she always chooses to watch Dino Dan or Dinosaur Train! I DVR them for her. I also DVR’d the Discovery Channel’s special on dinosaurs and she loves to watch that, too. Her room is lilac with sea creatures painted on the walls but they are covered up with dinosaur posters. She knows more about dinosaurs than most adults.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Michelle, that sounds so much like G! Dino Dan is on A LOT in this house, and you should hear him explaining a Quetzocoatlus to people. (Well, it sounds like you DO hear the same thing!)

  4. Reply Brooke says:

    I’ve had the same thoughts before. Well, not about the man pooping himself, but library books are kinda nasty. I have actually wiped them with lysol wipes before. Ha! I’m a germ phob. You are funny! Glad I found you 🙂

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Thanks, Brooke! I’m glad you found me, too!
      I’m feeling just the tiniest bit guilty for this post because I really do love the library. (Except for all the stinky parts.) 😉

  5. Reply Sherry says:

    I worked in the library of my son’s elementary school. I love books, but I can’t stand the stains and rips. I too can’t stand the thought of what’s touched the books. I would use hand sanitizer too. As wonderful as the library is, it is funky! 🙂

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Thanks for backing me up, Sherry!!! But we must respect the library, as it is now the ONLY place you can find a real book!

  6. Reply Koch says:

    Hm. Not sure yet. But this might be my new very very favorite entry.

  7. Reply Karen says:

    Oh Lisa, how can you diss a place that takes you on adventures for free! That little card really represents the old fashioned notion of a promise. They give you a card, you promise to bring back the books.

    Please please please don’t ever discourage this type of immersion into books to your little boy. What he is discovering is that by simply opening a book, you can go on an adventure and never leave the comfort of his house. This is truly lost today.

    Even if you were near a book store, what are the chances that you would have come home with all those books? You would have looked through them all and encourage one that didn’t cost more than I like to pay for shoes. You don’t ever have to pay for anything at the library, and the opportunity for a new adventure is infinite.

    The love of literature and the adventure of books is being lost today, but it appears that your son is a new adventurer. Please be the guide on this adventure.

    The same way you ignore some of your beautiful little boys gross habits, try to ignore the stains on the page. Just think that it is proof that other little boys have been on the same adventure as Garrett.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Karen, I love it there. I really do. I hoped I made that clear. It’s just that the germ-phobe in me has always been wary of used books. But I will NOT let it stop me from taking him there. It’s a place we both love, and I really dig how excited he is when he’s reading those books. Thanks for caring so much!

  8. Reply Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac says:

    Thank goodness that man didn’t actually poop himself or none of us would be laughing!

    I love the idea of a pristine library! I ALWAYS make my kids wash their hands after going to the library…but then again I make them wash their hands pretty much all the time.

  9. Reply David says:

    Lisa, being an extreme bibliophile myself, you’re starting Gar on the right track.
    When I was around his age, one of my all-time favorite places was the Public Library, and I could never wait until the weekend came to get there. I still go to the library on occasion, but now since I have my library collection, my Kindle and whatever I can grab from the now-closing major bookstore chains (which is something I find extraordinarily disturbing, believe this one), I don’t go as much.

    Also, having worked in the same public library I doted on as a kid, I know about the other end of things, too, including all the ‘nastiness that must not be named’. It’s downright fricking hideous, and it was a learning experience (but, on the positive side, the perks were more than worth it).

    You and Russell keep up the good work with Little Man, and you’ll be proud of what you’re shaping (which is something you already are proud of now, and you understand that).

    Okay, got to get to bed – I’m working nights, now, and I just got in from North Hollywood. Hang in there, and take care…!!!

    DLS JR

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Wow, David! I love that you worked at the library!! Yeah, we’re not going to stop hanging out there any time soon. It’s just like restaurants. If you really knew all the stuff that went on behind the scenes, you’d only eat at home!!

  10. Reply Patty @ A Day in My NYC says:

    Okay I’ve been resisting e-books but now and totally on board to embrace them. Now imagine a library in NYC…germs galore!

    THANK YOU! 🙂

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      Oh no, Patty!! I don’t want to dissuade you from going to the library!! I just want to encourage you to use anti-bacterial hand wipes afterward!!! 😉

  11. Reply Milaka says:

    Our local library is about two miles from our house. You would think that we would be there all the time – and we used to go a lot more. They have storytime for the little kids on Wednesday mornings and that was a favorite hangout for a while. Then . . . ugh.

    One day we were in the kids’ section reading and playing (they have the most amazing HUGE stuffed dragon that the kids like to play with and sit on) and Germ Kid came in. This kid had a gooey nose and every time he opened his mouth he would cough this wet, rattling cough of a zombie. It took all I had not to throw up. Yes, I glared at his mother, but she was oblivious. I remember Germ Kid climbing on the dragon and Buddy flinging himself full force behind GK to play. To say that I “swooped” in to save him would be a disservice to my speed and agility. I have no idea if Buddy came into contact with anything that GK touched because we were outta there too quickly.

    Six years later, I still won’t touch that dragon.

    • Reply flawlessmom says:

      That’s HILARIOUS, Milaka!! Ugh. Why can’t parents keep their sick kids home???? Alas, that scenario could’ve happened anywhere. I try to keep this in mind as I flip through our library books, remembering NOT to lick my fingers to turn the pages…

      • Reply Milaka says:

        I tried to imagine that the kid had been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours and fever free for 24 hours and wasn’t contagious and SHE knew that but I didn’t and she just had to get out of the house or go completely crazy because I’ve been there and gone out with my NOT contagious but sounding like it kid because if I spent another minute at home I would become a puddle of goo rivaling that coming out of said child’s nose . . .

        Yeah, I tried to imagine that. But I still wound up fleeing. I read The Stand!!!!

  12. Reply Milaka says:

    I do want to clarify that we actually visit the library as often as we can – more so in the summer. Both kids have libraries at their respective schools and get books there during the school year. I have a stack of books sitting in my house that are unread (I keep getting sucked into reading articles and blogs online) so I haven’t been in a while. But I wholeheartedly love and respect libraries! And I’m glad that you are taking G and making it such a fun thing for him.

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