January 15, 2008
We had our first hour working in the library! Two readers came, G, a boy around 11, very sweet --and T, a 5 year old girl with luminous clear eyes and sturdy presence. Her mom and newborn sister were there too. Mom sat on the floor with baby next to Maudie and Maudie was magical with the infant…. she floated her long nose just over the baby’s skin and ear very gently, and the baby showed nothing but delight.
People coming in and out of the library ignored us, or stopped and stared; some came over and made friends with her, smiling widely. Others, mostly immigrants with covered heads, looked at us askance…perhaps something in their cultural fiber just couldn’t place an animal in a library. She was hard to miss, large and lovely and composed, taking an interest in everything. At one point she got very interested in a man at the checkout I think she thought was M.
She did well, was friendly and calm, if a little uncertain about her role. She was very good with the kids and lay down near their chairs as they read. At one point, T jumped up to bring the book around to her face so Maudie could see the pictures and I think it startled her.
Her startle response is to turn away quickly..,.in it I see the seeds of a fear response…but she stops just short and I have always been able to turn her back with calm support. I asked T if she would like to give Maudie a treat and everything settled in a moment.
The more she does this, the easier it will be; children have not been a staple in her life yet she accepts them with a collie’s equanimity and generosity. Pretty soon, they will be friends.
Me. I am delighted by the kids and their relationship to books and words…the illustrations, the new narratives…
I wonder how it would be if we worked in a school with kids targeted as needing more reading practice…but then, who DOESN’t need, or benefit, by more reading practice?