"Mine special little golden book! I want mine little golden book!"
Vieve adores the centenary edition of Beatrix Potter's The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle. It's a perfect size for her, with beautiful illustrations, and an eye-catching shiny gold cover.
Unfortunately, it's a library book.
She spotted it on the shelves one day and immediately gravitated to it. That was months and months ago, so she could only say "Book. Book!" but her intent was very clear. She tucked it under her arm and toddled over to the self-checkout. She pushed it up on the ledge and I scanned it with all the others. When I put it in our library book bag, she screamed "BOOK!" at a volume you don't want to hear your child reach in a library. I gave it back to her.
She proudly carried it to the car and held it all the way home. She didn't open it, just held it. She held it while she played. After much negotiation, it sat at a safe food-free radius at the table during lunch. She carried it to bed and snuggled it at both nap-time and bedtime. By bedtime, she had learnt to say "Golden book". She wouldn't let me have it so I could read it to her.
A week passed, and the novelty wore off. We returned it to the library.
The next time we went to the library, she saw it again. Darn that distinctive golden cover! "Mine golden book!" she said. Under her arm it went. She carried it around for days. It came in the car with us, and went to bed with her. This time, she'd let me hold it long enough for me to read a few pages, but she got bored.
It was due to go back, but she was still attached to it. I renewed the loan. Thankfully, she lost interest before it was overdue. We returned it.
And then she spotted it at the library again. "Mine little golden book! I love mine little golden book!" I groaned, but got it out again. I didn't have much choice, with the way she was shoving it on to the self-checkout. She was still hauling it around even after renewal. And after it was overdue.
We had to return it. She posted it through the slot, and burst into tears. "Mine special little golden book! I want my special little golden book back!" I explained - yet again - that it was a library book and we had to return it for someone else to have a turn. She sniffled and nodded.
I decided to see if I could buy a copy somewhere. It took a while for me to find the right edition. When I found it, I coughed at the price. Eighty-seven dollars for a used book? Two hundred and eight dollars for new? I don't think so. I did find it for less, but it was still too much for what is, after all, a book we don't even read.
She didn't recognise the white-covered version as being "mine special little golden book", so that was off the table. Thankfully the cheap pink-covered version I found on Trade Me made her little eyes light up.
I'm hoping that having her own (pink!) copy will save us from future library fees. I'm still not sure why she was so immediately and persistently drawn to this book, but it's fascinating how her vocabulary and attention-span have grown.
Have your kids ever become immediately attached to something you didn't expect?
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