Clare only goes to preschool two days a week, so on the mornings when Meg is at school but Clare is not, we often find ourselves at the library. On Mondays we might go to the Shirlington branch of the Arlington County library just to read books and check out a few for home. On Wednesdays and Fridays we go to the Central Library for storytime.
The storytimes at Arlington County Public Library are superb. We have tried numerous storytimes at various bookstores, but few come close to the excellent library presentations. The librarians use music, rhymes and even flannelgraphs to keep the children focused on the book theme of the day. Clare, who can be painfully shy at times, has come alive in these sessions. When we first began attending storytime, she would sit in my lap and rarely participate in any way. Now she sits on her own carpet square, sings along with the songs, attempts any actions that accompany the rhymes and songs, and never hesitates to yell out a response to the librarian's questions. I now watch her from the side of the room (where I attend to Baby Anne) and feel proud of each tiny step of independence she takes.
I hope these storytimes will remain special to Clare for a long time. Meg has already deemed storytime for babies and refuses to go no matter how much we try to explain that there are different storytimes for each age group. I hope Clare won't be influenced by that. Periodically Clare will say, "I wish I lived in the Hundred Acre Wood." She very much wants to turn our back patio into Mr. McGregor's garden. In the library she visits all her favorite books: Madeline and the Cats of Rome and the McDuff books. Books are a comfort to her sensitive little soul and I hope they remain a comfort throughout her life.