Today was a great day for conversations with the littlest tots at the Children’s desk. For instance, a red-hatted little boy, age 3, came up to me with a very serious face, his caregiver nearby, choosing books. And we had this conversation:

“I like numbers,” he announced. (Our Children’s desk has illustrated numbers, one to ten, right at his eye level.)

“Me too!” I said. “Which is your favorite number?”

With no hesitation, the very serious reply came, “My favorite number is five.”

“Five is a great number! Do you want to count to five together?” He nodded. So we counted out loud, one, two, three, four, five, then he walked away to join his caregiver. 

A few minutes later, my number-five-loving friend was back. “I like nine too.” 

“That’s awesome!”

Non sequitor: “Can I sign up for the computer?”

“Sure,” I said, “What’s your name?”

He stood silent, just looking at me. His caregiver came around, and was surprised to see her young charge, signing up for the computer, all by himself. She watched him watching me. “Tell the librarian your name!” she urged.

“Nine.”

“Your name is Nine?” 

“Yes.” Again, a solemn nod, but there was a not-quite-sure look in the eye.

“Okay,” I said, and I started to write down “Nine,” but the caretaker urged again. “Tell her your name. Your name is not Nine, is it?”

I smiled encouragingly at him, waiting to see what number he might come up next. But he surprised me.

“Santa.”

“Your name is Santa?” I asked.

“Your name is Santa?!?” asked his caregiver, amused yet really wanting him to give his name.

Solemnly, Santa nodded. “Yes, my name is Santa.” 

“Are you really Santa?” I asked him, my eyes wide.

“Yes,” he was sure he is Santa. 

“Do you really like giving gifts to people?” I asked.

“Yes, especially the number five, and the number nine,” Santa answered.

And so there you have it, folks. Santa is about three years old, and he loves giving numbers as gifts. And he visited the library and signed up for the toddler computers at 12:30 pm today. For proof see the photo I took of the computer sign-up sheet below!

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[PS – You can see where I erased, “Nine.” :-) ]

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