It was the anniversary of my birth at the weekend so the three of us went to Wales to celebrate in style. Ish.
We started the weekend with a trip to Hay On Wye. I bought some books off my long list and Matt selected an odd bunch of books. The best thing that I found on the trip turned out to be a bucketful of pride for the boy we are raising and a tap on the back for the job we are doing with him.
The first moment my heart swelled took place when we entered the first bookshop. Matt was genuinely excited to be surrounded by the endless bookshelves. Until he saw a dog in the shop. He then went into supermarket sweep mode and grabbed some dodgy titles but it was his enthusiasm that warmed my cockles.
The second event was a somewhat cloudier moment of pride but it was there all the same. It came when Matt had a mini meltdown. We were in another bookshop when I had to ask him to put a pig book back on the shelf. I suggested we find the children's section after Mummy had looked at the grown up section (not the same as Adult section). What followed was a range of emotions for the tired and overwhelmed boy: sulking, muttering, whingeing, pushing, then tears. We left the shop as a noisy rabble and, despite the looks of bookshoppers and book keeper judging how we could not manage this situation more quietly, quickly, and conveniently, I secretly loved that Matt was exhibiting the gottahavethisbook feeling.
We sat on a bench outside the shop and had the talk and a cuddle. Matt apologised and said he was tired and thirsty. I suggested the boys hop it to a cafe and leave me to it. Matt was torn. He loves a cafe but asked 'what if someone else buys the piggy book?' I explained that I could not imagine that there were many shoppers in a town full of second hand, antiquarian, specialist, and random bookshops, seeking out a £1 book of paintings and poetry about pigs but I sure appreciated his irrational attachment to a book. We agreed to purchase it at the end of the day if he booked his ideas up (love it, don't you?).
In a nutshell, people of Hay of Wye and the rest of the world, children get tired, children have meltdowns. If my son is going to be emotionally overwhelmed I would rather it is in a bookshop (but definitely not a library for the shush factor). It shows he has his priorities right. So, instead of your glances of judgement I would have appreciated, and in future I will expect, applause and cheers that my son cared enough to express strong emotions about a book.
Wow, isn't it amazing how clearly you can read a situation through birthday book-tinted specs?