Loves Books, Loves People

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

I cannot imagine parenting without the public library.

The first summer that we were here, in a new city in a new part of the country, I was pregnant and had a toddler in tow. The first week of fall, we signed up for the FREE preschool program at the library. It was a baby-and-me sort of thing, with stories, playtime, and a chance to meet other parents. It went so well that we started going to the playgroup at the local drop-in centre, where we met up with the breastfeeding group, and the woman that eventually became the second attendant at my baby’s birth. Next season, I took my weeks-old baby to the Babies and Books group (also at the library, also free). One of the other babies from that session has become his ‘oldest’ friend, nearly 4 years later. Since then we have been to innumerable Preschool classes, Babies and Books, and Toddler Time programs, as well as the special Family Literacy Day events. My son went to a computer summer camp for a week – free again! My daughter got her picture in the paper for being so cute at face painting time! The library became more than just a place in our family’s world; it became an Event!

This has backfired at least once. At one of the Family Literacy Days, there were therapy dogs. My youngest son (just under about 2-1/2 at the time) was enchanted, and spent most of the afternoon sneaking as many treats to the dog’s as their handlers would allow them. The next week, when I said, “Hey! Let’s go to the library!” he replied. “Yeah! The wibwawy is Awesome!” (emphasis in the original.) I was so happy. As we were getting ready, he was singing and dancing, “Oh, we’re going to the wibwawy!” I thought I was the Best Mom Ever. And then he said, “We’re going to have cake, and pet dogs!” Oops. And here I thought he was just that enthusiastic about books.

The most obvious function of the library is as a source for reading material and entertainment. We take out stacks of picture books and get almost all our movies and TV programs from the library (since we don’t have any TV stations at home.) My philosophy is, “might as well take it home. it’s free.” That way we encounter books that we would never otherwise have access to, since picture books are about $20 each and board books run to nearly $10. We can bring home four new chapter books and read one or two chapters of each, and it’s no big deal to give up on them.

The library also gives me access to a world of possibility, information, and skills. I wrote recently about my gratitude to the writers who have come before us, but even more than that, I consider the open access to information provided by the public library to be one of the greatest accomplishments of civilization. (I know, it sounds hyperbolic, but I swear I mean it.) Somehow, even having been raised on it, I had lost touch with how much a library can contain. From my local library, I got out the pregnancy and nursing books, the parenting books, the fertility awareness books, the books on talking to your kids about sex, the books on nutrition, and an abundance of cookbooks. The library also kept me connected with my intellectual life, because I didn’t have a job to go ‘back’ to, having moved while pregnant. I worked my way through the philosophy and religion sections, through a big stack on local food, farming, and raising chickens, and across yoga and exercise. I have learned to knit, gotten renovation advice, car repair suggestions, and spice blends to try out. I have also discovered the joy of reading obscure novels based entirely on their cover art.

It gets a little cheesy, here, because I loved the library so much that I went to work there (on a 12 week contract) for nine months. I had my own little library to run for the summer, and I found out that I really liked working with the public, especially the kids. Who knew? Loves books, loves people. I had my most recent shift last Friday, because I’m still on the “call when everybody else is sick” list. My youngest has taken some time to accept that mommy doesn’t have her own little library any more, but the ‘big’ library will do in a pinch. He guesses. Even if there are no dogs or cake. Because it turns out that he really does love books that much, just like the rest of us.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imagine parenting without her husband’s sense of humor – he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can’t imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter doesn’t appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn’t imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imagine parenting without her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn’t even know you needed (and probably don’t…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn’t survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it’s afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without…Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can’t imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up – Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can’t live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What “stuff” does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I’m a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life easier to boot.
  • It’s Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can’t imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin’ Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter’s perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles – come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

12 responses to “Loves Books, Loves People”

  1. I have been SO happy with our local library’s story time. Kieran holds story time often at our house, and either he or I get to be “Ron the Why-brarian.” I do wish that our library had *more* kids’ activities, and I’ve even offered to lead one myself, but alas, nothing so far. Maybe I just need to get a job there myself – excellent strategy Seonaid 😉

  2. Aw..I love the library too. Haven’t been to one in ages though. Probably will start going once my daughter is older…she’s 5 1/2months.

    When I was younger I used to spent most afternoons in the library..ahh the smell… 🙂

    Makes me wanna go and read a book now. Thanks for a great post. 🙂


  3. Yes. The library. I relish in the fact that my son, less than two, already knows where the non-fiction train/truck section is. Even if that means I am ALWAYS reading books about trains and trucks. 🙂 Never knew that I would know all the different kinds – backhoe, front end loader, hopper car, the list goes on and on.

  4. The library is one of those fabulous resources that I have definitely under-utilized thus far in my parenting. I have a feeling we’ll be taking advantage of it much more often once “little sister” arrives and now that kiddo is SO into books! I have such great memories of stocking up on library books as a kid – and hope my kiddos will too 🙂

  5. Oh, the library! I wish that I liked our local branch better, but the selection is so small and so odd. However, I can put anything in the entire Brooklyn Public Library system on hold and have it at our branch in a few days, so what does it matter? And the main branch of the BPL is worth the bus trip. That is where, one rainy day, we discovered the marvelous board book, Trains, the cover of which the Critter spent about ten minutes (longer?) pointing at and shouting, “Train! Train! Train!”

    Your library sounds just lovely.

  6. Ooh, the library! We love it, too. Our library has an eagle scout project in the children’s area. It’s a pirate ship the kids can climb into and turn the ship’s wheel. My boys L.O.V.E. it. 🙂

    In a somewhat related question, do you (or anyone else) have any suggestions on chapter books/read aloud books for kids (boys in my case) who are 3 and 5 years old?

  7. I love my public library too! I actually wrote my own ode to public libraries awhile back, and had considered writing about the library again this month but didn’t because I’d be repeating myself. 🙂 But I do so love the library. I even happily pay my late fines, because they cost so little in comparison to the value of the books I’ve borrowed!

  8. Oh, I love this post. I am just as geeky-drooly over the library. I keep trying to convert the people in my family, and they resist. They get Netflix, for instance, and I’m like, “You know, you could check out that DVD at the library for free…” It’s like they don’t believe me. I let it go, though, because my mom buys SO MANY books that I figured she’s supporting all the authors I’m not by using the library nearly exclusively. 😉

    It’s amazing all the extras & freebies at the library, too. For instance, my parents’ library has free and discounted passes available for all the local attractions (museums, etc.), so we always hit it up when we visit. Mikko never got into the German-language storytime I used to try to take him to, which was a bummer (too many kids in one room), but I liked it! I also think the way they have free computers and internet for use is just … so … generous. My computer broke when I had a freelance editing assignment due, and I just popped down to the library and finished it up there over a couple days. I also will often park on a comfy seat to use the free wi-fi while I’m waiting to pick Mikko up from preschool.

    All right, I’ll stop gushing. Thanks for the prompt!

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