“When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”
– the wonderful Kathleen Kelly
When we got home Friday, we gave the girls a quick bath, dressed them in their matching monkey pajamas and went to our local library. They each brought one of their babies – Aubrey’s was a Valentine bear, and Sarah’s was her oversized Dora the Explorer doll.
Our local library’s Story Lady was reading bedtime stories to the kids. They all gathered on the carpet while she spun golden tales of bed-jumping monkeys and dinosaurs in the house.
After story time, all the kids made signs for their babies. The child’s name, the baby’s name, what the baby liked to – all the most important information was listed. The kids threaded a ribbon through the sign and tied it to their baby in some way.
I helped Sarah write hers, and she put the ribbon through on her own. She was taking it all so seriously. Such concentration!
The point of making the signs was to leave the babies at the library for a sleepover. They would stay behind after the kids left and do fun things all night at the library. Sarah was so excited about it all week, but when it came time to actually tell Dora, “goodbye” and leave her, Sarah broke down and couldn’t do it.
My poor baby! She was so heartbroken at the idea of leaving Dora behind.
“Sarah, do you want to take Dora home?,” I asked.
“No, I want her to have a sleepover,” she said.
“So you want to leave her here so she can have lots of fun and we can get her in the morning,” I said.
“I want to leave her, but I’m so sad. I’ll miss her!” Oh my poor, sweet, tender-hearted girl. She was so torn between wanting to leave her baby for the sleepover and wanting to hold onto her and never let go.
I had no idea what to say to make her feel better. She so wanted to be brave and let her baby stay to enjoy the sleepover, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave her. Finally, I came up with the idea that when we got home, we could go to our neighbor’s house and ask if she had a stuffed animal who could come to our house for a sleepover so that Dora could still have fun with a friend.
That seemed to make her happy enough to stop crying, but she never let Dora leave her side while we were there for fear someone would take her and put her with the other babies.
We left Aubrey’s stuffed animal and took Sarah to her favorite restaurant for dinner. Of course, Dora joined us. The next-door neighbor let Sarah borrow one of her Easter bunnies, and Life’s balance was mostly restored, at least until the next crisis.
Saturday morning we returned to the libary to pick up Aubrey’s stuffed animal, and the library staff had done a great job setting things up. Each of the babies were on a separate chair with their nametags still tied on and a card in their lap. The card had a picture of the event name, and on the inside was a picture of all the babies that had been left for the sleepover posed together for a group photo.
On the table where the breakfast snacks were waiting for the kids, there was a scrapbook with pictures of the babies set up in various poses around the library. A few were reading. One was being pulled in a wagon by another one of the babies. Aubrey’s was playing a game with two others.
What a wonderful library we have. We look forward to the next event and can’t wait to see what the staff plans. I think Randall and I enjoyed it as much as the kids, if not more.
In the end, everything turned out for the best. Everyone was happily reunited, and the princesses and their loved ones lived happily ever after.