*WARNING! The books in these photos have been dismembered, meaning the images may appear graphic and disturbing to bibliophiles everywhere.*
This feels like a confession–like, “Hi, my name is Nikki, and my child rips books.”
The death toll at our house has been high this past month. It seemed like every other day I would walk into the boys’ room to find a new victim lying in pieces on the floor. One day it was a massacre: two Eric Carle books, The Napping House, and a Mercer Meyer Little Critter had been attacked, two of them with their pages severed from their spines.
We scolded and did what we could, but at one point the two-year-old laughed maniacally when we discovered his grim handiwork, and I had to lay down the unthinkable punishment:
“No more taking books to bed. No more books for you.”
I banned my kid from books. Only a week or so after Banned Books Week! Oh the irony and the hypocricy of that.
It’s funny how being faced with book mutilation is one of the mom roles you never hear about. I’ve heard about cleaning up vomit and potty-training accidents, about being chauffeur and cook and housekeeper and laundress, about kissing owies and administering band-aids and hugs. But I’ve often wondered if I’m the only mom carefully gluing and taping library books back together with surgeon-like precision, and handing them back to a librarian saying, “I’m sorry. I really am. Maybe I shouldn’t let my kids come here. Maybe our library card should be withdrawn. Maybe you should be saying, ‘No more books for you guys.'”
I was actually relieved to see this tweet from a fellow book-loving mom, @mawbooks:
Ugh. My kids somehow made it home with a pop-up book from the library. They should never be trusted w/ pop-ups. One piece gone already. 5:45 PM Oct 12th
I guess other people go through this too!
But I want my kids to have books! I want the library to be as familiar to them as a second home. I want them to take books to bed and stay up late reading. And maybe it’s silly, but I sort of believe you have to start them on that road when they’re babies, and then you have to endure the toddler years with tape and glue stick in hand.
So today I’m counting my blessings.
1.So far, he’s stayed away from the adult books, so none of the wounded have been novels.
2. As long as I’m careful to line up which side the ripe goes on, the pictures generally come back together again, even if they resemble Frankenstein’s monster a bit.
3. For the most part, in the cases where we couldn’t find every single ripped piece, the holes have thankfully been on the outer edges or else on unimportant end pages.
4. None of the books ripped lately have been library books, so the holes you see above are our problem, nobody else’s.
5. Both boys LOVE going to the library, sitting on a bean bag, and bringing me books to read to them.
Is the well-being and overall appearance of our picture book collection worth the literacy of our boys? For a bibliophile, it’s a tough choice, but I’m going with yes. It’s important to have the books in the house and to give the kids access to the books.
And the two-year-old is no longer grounded. I still find books all over his bed that’s he’s taken for reading during nap time, but thankfully they are still whole after the nap. The number of casualties has dropped for now. Maybe we’re safe again . . . until we have more kids.
Any scary damaged books stories to share? Does your collection of kids’ books look as bad as ours?