Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Overdue Lesson

Wednesday is Sundae at Carvel; it is also library day for my son's third grade class, which means that my "What goes in the backpack today?" mental checklist for Wednesday includes library books.

Note that I said my mental checklist. I know that I should let my children take full responsibility for getting their school stuff together and that forcing them to deal with the repercussions for forgetting things might in turn further foster their independence and reliability (teach a man to fish, blah blah blah). And yet, I can't help but act as the safety net, prompting them along the way (Do you have your homework? Gym today, wear sneakers. Make sure you have your cleats and shinguards.).

Last night I reminded my son that he should locate his library books in the sea of books, baseball cards and sudoku puzzles on his bed and bring them down in the morning. He barely looked up from what he was reading and said goodnight.

This morning, as he packed up his homework I again mentioned the library books (I can't help myself!). He went off to find them and came back empty-handed. Knowing that, even at age eight, he is very advanced at male pattern bad searching (a.k.a. Can't Find the Butter syndrome) I headed upstairs and took a look. No library books.

"Maybe you returned them to the town library?" My son suggested, also very advanced in the art of blame shifting.

I didn't think so, but after the kids got on the bus-- and after tearing the house and car apart-- I called the library to ask if somehow I had. I just couldn't imagine where else the books could have gone. The librarian told me that they do hold books from the elementary, middle and high school libraries that have been wrongly returned to the town library but that currently there were none in the pile from my son's school. But, she added, if it wasn't clearly labeled, it may have gone in the donation pile. Great.

Preparing myself for a morning of fruitless searching through dusty books, I called the school library to find out what the titles were that my son had checked out.

The answer? NONE. Turns out the third graders go directly from library to recess so the kids leave their books on a ledge outside, often forgetting to pick them up on their way back inside. Those forgotten books are brought to the library by the recess aides and checked back in.

So my son didn't lose his library books. He just forgot them outside. And then forgot that he never even brought them home. And then tried to put it on me. Hear me now: My enabling days are over!

Thursday is library day for my daughter's first grade class...

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