Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Book 'em
Jennifer Flaten

For weeks, the little girls have begged for a special plastic card.

Now this shiny brown piece of plastic gives them access to lots of cool things. Things like books, movies and tons of information right at their fingertips.

Is this card a credit card? Nope. Is it a gift card to the mall? Nope.

It is a library card. Yes, my tiny little geekettes finally became official members of our public library.

Library card day was more anticipated then a trip to the local amusement park. I think it ranked right up there as one of the happiest days of their short little lives.

The whole subject of library cards came up about a year ago. Since we are weekly visitors to the library, the little girls began to wonder when they could get their own card.

While they love to read, the real appeal lies in the fact that with their own library card, they would be free to zip their own books through the self-checkout. Self-checkout is the cat's pajamas to the kids; no, I don't know why I'm not eight.

In addition, with their own card, they wouldn't be limited to checking out only a book or two each visit.

Actually, each kid can usually check out five books. That is, unless I am carrying a huge load of books on my card, then I'm forced to limit how many books they can checkout.

Believe it or not, the library gets a tad touchy about people having more then 50 books in their possession at one time.

With so many books out at one time, we have to make sure that the books hit the front counter. Where if we are super lucky they are checked-in post haste.

If the returned books languish at the counter, thus, cluttering up my card, I get the angry beep at the checkout.

What is the angry beep? Oh, come one you know the angry beep. It is loud buzzing beep with the red screen that says "no more books for you!"

I tend to get testy when denied a huge stack of delicious new releases because the little kids swiped their books first and hit our limit.

So, we talked about it and decided that upon turning 8 years old the girls would get their own card.

We rolled getting the card into their whole birthday celebration, it was considered part of their present (yeah I know I am a thrifty genius) and I even knitted them a little pouch for the library card.

Hey, where did you think the kids' geekiness came from?

We felt that as soon to be third graders they would be able to handle the responsibility. I am sure that there are other families whose kids popped out of the womb with a card, but in our family, the kids had to prove they could be care for the books.

Aye and there's the rub. Demonstrating responsibility proved far more difficult for them then I had anticipated. It was even harder then squeezing their large handwriting onto the tiny little library card application form and that was hard.

About a month before library card day, we discovered a little kid book missing. We looked everywhere for that book, tore the house and car apart, finally we had to declare the book 'missing but presumed dead.'

During the search, I renewed it as many times as I could, still the day came when we had to face the angry librarian music.

We marched up to the front desk and admitted that we couldn't find a book. The librarian gave us her best 'I am so disappointed in you face' and we made our amends.

I am now the proud owner of The World of Poison Dart Frogs, if it should ever turn up from the dimension of missing books. It hasn't yet, but one day soon, I am sure I will find it behind the fridge, in the sugar bowl or some other bizarre location.

That was strike one against baby bookworms.

Apparently, the librarian's stern look had no affect on them, because shortly there after they left a library book outside-where it promptly got wet. It hasn't rained in weeks here, until the day the kids leave a library book outside, go figure.

I am now the proud owner of a soggy bloated copy of Santa Doesn't Mop Floors.

I decided that while the kids hadn't truly demonstrated responsibility, I sure as hell didn't want them associated with my library card anymore.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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