I took my son to the library last week. He was absentmindedly putting every book he picked up in our basket and I was very focused on secretly vetoing and replacing 85% of his choices. We made a great team. Suddenly my non-reading, preschool aged child stopped and held up a book saying ‘Look at this one, doesn’t it look great?’ I looked over to see him holding a very colorful book entitled Everything Your Child Needs to Know About Sex.
Now as parents we know that the pages of this book should be entirely blank. Children need to know NOTHING about sex. It might as well have been called Everything Your Alpaca Needs to Know About Hedge Funds.
But no problem, I simply took the book out of the basket and said that I didn’t think that one looked so good. He became very insistent. ‘But I really want it, it looks funny’. I became equally insistent that it was not funny and not a good choice. He dug in, ‘But look, it’s got cool pictures!’ And I freaked out, ‘No! Do not look at the pictures. They are NOT cool, they are decidedly uncool! If you even look at one picture you will be a big loser forever’!
This is when the librarian threw us a complimentary ‘shhhh’. She was oblivious to the fact that my child’s innocence was precariously hanging over a chasm of colorfully illustrated disaster. Remind me to write a book called Everything That Librarian Needs to Know About Chilling Out. It will be a two volume set.
I quickly collected myself and distracted my child with a casual ‘Hey look over there, is that Thomas the Tank Engine Giving out cupcakes? Whoops, guess not’. And buried the book deep in the stacks for some other horrified parent to find at a later date. Our library adventure concluded.
Now here is the lingering problem. Obviously that book was inappropriate for my young child. But it planted the distressing seed that one day, similar reading material might indeed be suitable for him. This reality is unacceptable to me. You see, I have a master plan. It involves having a bunch of children fairly close together, having them grow up to be awesome, and then hiking the Grand Canyon without a diaper bag. It is a gloriously simple design, and one that has carried me through years of midnight feedings and cutting food into teeny-tiny pieces. One day, my kids will be big and then we will have nothing but sunshine and fun.
But now I am rethinking my approach to raising children. Maybe these years of wiping noses and tushies are the ones I should have been excited for. Yes, they are mundane, but no, they don’t involve conversations about boys and girls that do not also include the word ‘cooties’.
So I am considering this new plan. Kids grow up just enough to ditch the diaper bag, and then, after a brief tour of the Grand Canyon, we hightail it for Never Never Land where boys live happily ever after without growing up and reading evil library books. It will be just like in the movies, minus Captain Hook, though. That guy is creepy.