Saturday, August 22, 2009

Retro Read-Aloud

By now, y'all probably know what I tend to like: I like handicraft/DIY, I like a dirt-cheap good deal, I like thrifting/garage sales/dumpster-diving, and I loooooooove learnin' with my babies. I make my own panties (sometimes). When something goes on Manager's Special at Kroger, I buy ALL of it and throw it in the chest freezer. I will wake up earlier on a Saturday than I will on a weekday, just to sneak out of the house and hit a couple of 8 am garage sales (today I bought two skeins of yarn for the littles, and although I REALLY wanted the spinning wheel, which was 250 dollars, I did not buy it). I consider it the height of a good time to make Spanish-language flash cards for the girls, or to read to them from the encyclopedia.

I'm a dork, yes, but a happy one.

When two, or even three, of my passions come together into a sort of holy combination, I achieve super-dorkdom, a joy and enthusiasm that my daughters will, one day, put into the memoirs that they will write about their strange childhoods and their crazy Momma. Thus imagine my joy, imagine my enthusiasm, when I learned that the children's department at our public library was selling off its entire collection of VHS and cassette tapes.

VHS tapes? I don't have a VCR. But cassette tapes? I have that player.

We're talking children's music. We're talking audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction. And because it's the children's department, most of all we're talking picture books and read-aloud cassettes. They're used, so I'm thrifting. They're hella educational. And at 25 cents per item yesterday and 10 cents per item today, they are way dirt-cheap.

It's super-dork heaven.

On Friday, I bought 44 picture books with read-aloud cassettes, 18 audiobooks, and 4 music cassettes. For 35 dollars. Today I went back (of course), and I didn't count my haul, but since Matt was with us and so I could concentrate on shopping (not mediating fights and picking up knocked-down merchandise and shouting across the room for little people to stop running, etc.), I was able to look more at the fiddly fine-printed music cassettes, and I spent 11 dollars.

And look what I got!I'm putting aside all the audiobooks of more than two tapes to bring out for long car trips, stuff like The Mouse and the Motorcycle(and all its sequels), The Secret Garden, The Boxcar Children, Alice in Wonderland, and other awesome stuff. I also might bring these out when the girls are a little older to listen to independently here at home.

But in their collection that they can choose from independently right now are other audiobooks of two hours or less, stuff like Little Bear and Frances and Winnie-the-Pooh collections, and Henry and Mudge, and what seems like eight thousand Hank the Cowdog titles. I hesitated for a second when Willow picked all those out, because she's never read them and I sure don't like Westerns, but then I thought, "Heck, they're 20 cents each," and let her get all of them, and yes, she has proven me wrong by spending two hours this afternoon sitting at the living room table and listening to an entire hard-boiled Hank the Cowdog mystery book, figuring out how to change the sides of the tape and then change to the next tape without my instruction.

I am the happiest, however, or rather I should say THRILLED, about the picture books with accompanying read-aloud cassettes:I'm not sure, but over the two days I think I bought at least sixty of these. And imagine, it was the children's department's ENTIRE collection, so other than the few that the girls chose before they got restless and left me to it, I had my own entire pick of some really premiere titles. And all the cassettes work (a couple that we've tried haven't been of perfect quality, but most have), and all of the picture books are, though well-used, lovingly repaired. Among the titles that I bought are several Dr. Seuss, Where the Wild Things Are, Runaway Bunny, Babar, The Little Red Hen, several fairy tales, and a few books of poems. Considering that nearly all of these, except for a couple that the girls snuck through, are titles that we didn't already have in our print library, it was quite a haul.

The best part, though, has been the girls' reaction to our new wealth of listening opportunities. Sure, I know a lot of it is the novelty of learning how to work my cassette player (now theirs) and choosing from nothing but a billion new books and tapes, but I think this collection really will become an important part of their lifestyle. We encourage reading books and listening to stories and enjoying music, and we sure as hell encourage doing all of this independently, and every now and then for the past two days, when I've walked through the living room and had the chance to witness this:It does make me feel very enthusiastic and joyful, indeed.


Anonymous said...

Damn...I missed the sale...on the other hand, my kids rarely listen to books on tape. That said, I probably would still have had a fist fight with you over the Ralph S. Mouse books on cassettes. I looove Ralph!

julie said...

Dude, Teresa, you seriously want to mess with me? Cause I can throw down. And if you'd been there with me on Friday morning, I would have thrown you the second copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle that was there that day. It was gone today, though.

You should have seen me at the Friday sale, however, which was VERY busy. I filled three of those little library baskets completely full, and left them stacked in a corner by the volunteer table, so they would look obviously taken. And yet every now and then I would look up and find somebody sniffing around my baskets, one time actually PICKING UP one of my cassettes, and I would SCREAM, from across the room, "HEY!!! Those are MINE!!!" And the person would drop it like they'd been shot at and swivel their head around to look at me, and I'd try to smile and play it off and be all, "Hi!" and they'd be all "bitch" under their breath as they walked away. It was awesome.

K said...

I sure as hell would encourage some independent listening, too. Must check next local library sale. I've been lurking around since finding your blog via "the kimono incident." I really enjoy reading it.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, I take it back: I would not, in a million years, mess with you, lady! But, I would have LOVED to see you yell at people at the sale.