Saturday, May 29, 2010


I’ve been waiting ages to get to Spain and to buy River some quality books in Spanish. The more I waited, the better sense I had of what kind of books he needed. My biggest priority was on non-fiction – books on science, pirates, castles, the universe, how things work, bugs, emotions. I got books on all those topics and more.

I got a book about a cricket by Eric Carle that ends with the sound of a cricket. I got a book about using tools that comes with several plastic tools. I got a book with 500 questions, including one River already asks about – What is the difference between a mountain and a hill? I got a book of short bedtime stories. I got a book on the origins of things. I got a huge encyclopedia of insects and bugs. I got a book about simians, with chapters on gorillas, bonobos and others. I got a book about the arrival of a new sibling, which includes a drawing of the mother in the hospital after giving birth, breastfeeding the new baby. The upper part of her breast and part of her nipple is showing.

I am SO thrilled with the books. I didn’t even look at the prices. I had waited so long, I wouldn’t have another chance for years. This wasn’t the time to be cheap. I studied the shelves and pulled off whatever I thought could be of use. The cashier looked at me in disbelief when I brought the huge stack to the register. I asked her not to tell me the price and I didn’t look as she was ringing it up.

I couldn’t help seeing it through upon signing the credit card bill. And Mark couldn’t help exclaiming at my spending over 300 euro. Thank goodness the exchange rate has moved in our favor in recent weeks.

“I hope you don’t complain when I buy River a personal computer,” Mark said

Of course it feels extravagant to spend over $400 within a half hour. That is far outside the normal for us. We have a budget of $100/month to spend on River, aside from food, childcare and education savings. I told Mark it would be several months of River’s allowance. I’ve bought him virtually no new clothes, very few new toys, and a few new books. We try to get everything possible secondhand. But I have not been able to find quality non-fiction books in Spanish secondhand. So I just had to accept the expenditure and let it go.

The fact that we have another on the way means that the books will be used to educate and entertain at least two. I can always sell them online when we are done, or donate them to the library, which would probably appreciate the addition to the Spanish language collection.

In the meantime, I’m so excited to share this new knowledge with River, and to learn the Spanish vocabulary words associated with these new subjects. I know he’ll be excited and will appreciate them. I look forward to many hours spent together reading and enjoying them. I’m already planning the next trip in a few years, to buy another set of age-appropriate books. In the meantime, our friends, seeing how very serious I was about building River’s Spanish language library, said they could save us the airfare and buy and ship books for us. Great.

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