Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What's A Mom To Do?

This is a rant about something that is near and dear to my heart, and something that I feel every town that considers itself civilizied should value: its library. However, our library is horrendous. We have a country club but not a decent library! I find this appalling. Let me give you one of several examples that have me strongly considering paying (yes, paying) over $100 to use the town next door's library instead. There are no interlibrary loans up here in the sticks.

Okay, so I brought Jax to the library to find a book on oral language development and acquisition, a.k.a. how he learns to talk. Pretty standard one would imagine, for a psychology or child development section of any library. Sadly, the card catalog came back with, "What you talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Basically, no books on that subject or anything close. So I asked our handy dandy librarian--oh wait, no I can't because we don't have one. Just volunteers. So, after about a half hour of trying to keep Jax fairly quiet and keep him from licking anything that might be harboring swine flu, my friendly volunteer brings me two books. One on baby sign language (didn't she hear me say ORAL language?) and one called You Are Your Child's First Teacher. Okay, not so shabby. I took the latter and headed out the door, but not without the disappointment of finding that the library's only copy of Twilight was officially lost and would never be returned because they use the honor system rather than actual fines. Grrr. So I leave with my book, ready to study up on how to help Jax begin talking. Unfortunately, my book had other things in mind.

After reading the introduction, I was a little worried but not too alarmed. I wasn't psyched that this "revised and updated" version was written in 2000, but figured it should have some basic child psychology behind it, which was all established way before that, so there should be something in there for me to glean. It wasn't long before I was flipping the book over to find out where this author had gotten her PhD because I was pretty sure she was no expert and voila! I was right. She seems like a very nice person, and she is a midwife and early childhood educator, but I don't really see how she knows any more about child development than I do, who took my share of such classes in graduate school. Here is when I began to suspect that maybe she wasn't exactly a scholar, when discussing the importance of the baby's environment:

"Greens, brown, and grays are also much more "earthy" than the infant, or young child, who is still closely connected to heaven and doesn't yet walk firmly on the ground." Huh? Maybe I shouldn't read the book from the beginning and should just skip to the important stuff. She recommended placing pink and blue silks over the crib to creating a soothing environment. Hello! Have you ever heard of SIDS?? I skipped ahead to the section on language, hoping to get something out of this stupid book. The author then tells me it is best to leave my child in peace and not interrupt his contemplation by telling him what an object is. "For example, after the child hears the wind rustling in the trees, ...let the child the child hear in these sounds something of what the rustling tree has first spoken to him. In this way it is possible for the child to experience through our words an inner connection between the language of things and the human language." Oh, I am definitely going to follow that advice. I'll be so glad if Jax is able to talk to trees before he can talk to people.

Bottom line: we live in a great town, but is the best it can do to give me a hippie book on teaching Jax to hug trees rather than talk and give me no Twilight to get through my days? What's a mom to do? I guess I will be getting my information through the Internet yet again, making the our local library even more obsolete.


Zeller Family said...

That's pretty terrible. I'd try Amazon :) I'm not sure I really had anything to do with this but Jordan started talking because we bought so many of those picture/color/shape books (Priddy books) and he loves to point at them, now he tells you what many of them are and his new favorite word is "moon". I'm no teacher but I bed he'll chat it up in no time. Don't worry mama:)

Alana Milton said...

I think it might be worth it to buy a membership at the other library if it was a quality library where you can do interlibrary loans and such. I think I am just anti-buying books right now since Tim and I are cleaning out our personal library because we have run out of room for all of our books. I wish I had some on baby language to send your way, but most of them are on slavery and the antebellum south. :-)