Wyatt has already been given a good start in that direction.
He has his own shelf on our largest bookcase. He pulls out his favorite titles whenever the mood strikes and asks us to read to him.
This week, I considered taking Wyatt to the hospital’s book fair one morning when we had some extra time together.
As I tried to describe our destination without instilling fear in him with the word “hospital,” he asked if this place with all the books was the library.
I was surprised at his conclusion at first. While I had thought about taking Wyatt to the library several times, I had ultimately concluded that we might need to wait until he was a little older.
However, once he showed an interest, we made the trip.
It turns out that Wyatt knew quite a bit about libraries because Caillou, a cartoon charcter he likes to watch on TV, had visited one in some episode.
“What kind of book do you want to look for at the library?” I asked on the drive to Jasper.
“Um, about a bear,” he said.
I thought it was a somewhat strange choice, but no further explanation was provided.
As we walked in the Jasper Public Library, I tried to steer Wyatt toward the big red barn filled with books in the children’s area. Instead, he honed in on a train table and Dora the Explorer house set up along the back wall.
“Mommy, look!” he said breathlessly as he pulled out the various pieces in two large containers and placed them in their appropriate place on the train table.
We were in the library for approximately an hour, and I would estimate that Wyatt spent at least 45 minutes playing with those two toys.
I’ll admit that I got a little upset with him. After all, we were supposed to be looking at books.
Then I got to thinking about what we would have been doing if we hadn’t gone to the library — eating breakfast in front of the TV.
Wyatt’s first trip to the library came within the same week that he started being very vocal about some scary dreams he has been having.
Zac and I try to be careful not only about what Wyatt watches on TV but what we do as well.
Now that I think he might have seen or heard something in passing that has him troubled, I’m being even more selective.
However, even the most innocent programming doesn’t require Wyatt to use his imagination as much as he did during the 45 minutes that he manned the construction site at the train table and rearranged Dora’s house.
Also, if we had been watching TV that morning, our choices would have been confined to what each channel was showing.
As soon as we walked into the library, everything we wanted to know about any subject imaginable was at our fingertips.
So I am choosing not to judge our library visit by how many books Wyatt picked up.
Instead, I am focusing on the fact that his mind was stimulated rather than running on autopilot while watching some TV program.
Also, he had so much fun that I don’t think I’m going to have any trouble getting him back to the library. One day, I expect he will be bringing home all kinds of books.
And yes, we were successful in finding something to read this time too. It was called “The Bear in the Book.”
Who knew that such a generic title would ever come so close to what a little boy and his Mommy were searching for?
As he was looking through the book on the way home, I asked him to be careful with it because it wasn’t ours.
“Why? We got it!” Wyatt cried.
Apparently Caillou didn’t teach Wyatt everything he needed to know about libraries.