A 3-year-old walks into a bar, or how to instill a love of books…


One hat I wear but don’t talk much about on the blog is that of sub-co-editor & sub-co-publisher of my husband’s micro poetry press. Which is a fancy way of saying I (sometimes) help MFA Dad with designing & printing chapbooks of poetry.

Most of the time I love helping out. Sometimes I hate it. (I should write about having to say “no” to your spouse in order to save your own sanity… That’s fun times!)

This weekend, though, I loved it. MFA Dad loved it.

We attended a good old fashioned book fair. As a family. At a bar. (We are gunning for parents of the year.)

T loved it! There was live music & tap dancing & eating granola & yogurt at the bar & some inappropriate pictures in the bathroom… and all sorts of books & all sorts of book sellers.

Our little cottage industry publishing project (our micro-press, as we describe it to other book folks) is a family affair. It’s a way for our family to be productive & participate in a community of writers, publishers & book lovers.

This weekend was an embodiment of that engagement & activity. And even though T was one of 3 kids we saw in the bar that day, I could tell he was enlivened by the bustle, excited by being a part of something that he knows is so important to us as a family. He got restless & tired as any 3-year-old will get when surrounded by adults but it was a fantastic day to share together.

It would have made sense to some to have gotten someone to watch him so MFA Dad & I could do our thing in peace, without having to negotiate a nap, snacks, making sure T didn’t knock down our display.

But what fun is that?!

As a culture we tend to over-compartmentalize the worlds of children & adults, often forgetting that children can be (& want to be) active participants in our grown-up endeavors. Which is not to say that I would have taken T to that same bar for a concert at 10 p.m.

It’s also not to say that children shouldn’t have their own world(s). It’s important that T builds with his blocks, imagines rescues with his toy firefighters, digs in the sandbox.

But it’s not always necessary or even desirable to exclude children from our adult endeavors. In fact, I think we’d do well to include them more often. To let them participate to the extent that they are physically & mentally capable.

Children are not intrusions or inconveniences. They can be participants & partners if we give them the opportunity.

Bars & book fairs… Now that’s a holiday family tradition I can get into!



Filed under Attachment Parenting, Living, Mothering, Parenting, Partnership, Simplicity, Working

2 responses to “A 3-year-old walks into a bar, or how to instill a love of books…

  1. nadiasheikh

    Hey there! I’m taking the bar in 6 weeks and have a crazy beautiful attached breastfeeding 10 month old! I get help from my in laws during the day but he refuses the bottle… It’s too late to wean him so now I’m thinking maybe I can take him with me to Albany (4 hrs away) where the bar is held.

    What are your thoughts?? Also, did you take barbri? I’m finding following the schedule good so far but let’s see now that the weeks are getting closer!!! :-@ I definitely take Saturdays off still and can’t do 8-10 hours on the weekends but that needs to change fast! Anyways glad I came across the blog!

    • Thanks for writing & good luck on the bar exam!

      I did take BarBri & honestly I probably didn’t TRULY buckle down until about 6 weeks out. I focused on my weak areas & kept plugging away at the rest. I realized that even without a child there was no way I could ever get through ALL the material. The goal is to pass it, not ace it.

      And even if you need to study 7 days a week, at least continue with taking an afternoon off twice a week when you can. It’s a psychological challenge, too, & you need to replenish your stores!

      You can see from my post that I did not take my son with me when I travelled to take the bar exam. But I seriously considered it & were I in your shoes, I may have taken him. Do you know what the schedule is? Would he be able to stay (with his grandparents, I’m guessing?) close by to the testing location? Will it be a welcome break & distraction to have him with you?

      I wish I could have spent some downtime with my son during the lunch breaks because it was too late to study & too stressful to be around the other exam takers. And, while I enjoyed relaxing (& SLEEPING) on my own the two evenings I was away, if the logistics had worked out (i.e. if my partner could have gotten the time off & traveled with me & my son) I don’t think it would have negatively impacted my passing the bar.

      You have the no-bottle situation to consider (though I’m certain he would NOT starve in your absence!). Weigh that with your test-taking style & how important sleep will be to your performance.

      And good luck!! Let us know what you decide to do!

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