When my little monkeys were pre-schoolers I was a stay-at-home mum and as my husband traveled, I would often go for days without an adult to talk to. So that I didn’t go stir crazy I used to take the kids to our local library.
Story-time at the Library.
I tried story-time at the library a handful of times, but my two little monkeys just couldn’t sit down for more than 5 minutes. They saw the library as a place to run, play hide and seek, empty shelves and press buttons. They left a trail of destruction as they chucked books onto the floor and cleared shelves with one swoop. I’d be picking up the mess that one would make, while the other child was running off. I think getting the boys to sit down at story-time was a crazy dream of mine really. I would look at these babies and toddlers sitting still and think they’re doing it, so I must be able to get the kids to sit down. Yeah right!!
Looking back I really should have stopped persisting with the idea, but as I am optimistic by nature, I stupidly tried to get the kids to engage with story-time at the library again. As I said before, my two little monkeys were not going to sit still. I gave up and took them to look at the DVDs. They were happily sitting on the floor looking, so I saw the opportunity to ask a friend about a music group. My boys started crawling on the floor moving closer to the stairs. I was watching them and just about to walk over when a librarian told me the stairs were dangerous and I needed to watch my kids (erm yes, I am). I said I was coming and said goodbye to my friend. When I had turned back around my boys had disappeared.
In just a few minutes I had lost them.
Christ! Shit, I thought. Where the hell have they gone? I looked under the stairs and then looked up to the top. No sign of them. I freaked and thought maybe they had run out of the automatic doors onto the street. I ran out of the library and thankfully I couldn’t see them.
I ran up the library stairs. At the top, I couldn’t see them, but I felt a small sense of relief when I remembered the beanbags in the teenager’s corner. I looked around the corner expecting to see the boys rolling about. No such luck.
OK – now I am sweating – my heart is racing and full-on panic has set in. Where the fuck are they? I’m thinking. What if someone has grabbed them? I need to get downstairs and tell the librarian I’ve lost my kids. Then I see the lift and it dawns on me. Oh yes, I thought. Bingo. The little buggers have run up the stairs and gone into the lift.
I pressed the button for the lift. The doors opened and but they were not inside. I knew they were smart enough to press the buttons. I went inside and pressed G for the ground floor hoping to see them at the bottom.
Nope. I peeked around the corner optimistically hoping to see them enjoying story-time. Bahaha yeah right! I was just about to head back to the stairs, when…
There was an announcement on the tannoy.
“Could the owner of two green things please come to the front desk”.
PHEW! My boys had chosen matching green sweaters that morning.
I walked over to the desk and the head librarian was holding them both by the hand. I smiled with relief, “Green things?!” I panted (still out of breath from the chase) “thank you, yes they are mine!”
She handed them over to me, but before I could say anything else, she got stuck into me.
“I caught them playing in the lift. You must keep an eye on your children at all times!” she said. Obviously, she didn’t notice the sweat dripping down my forehead or the shit running down my legs?!
I went from relieved to furious…
“I was watching them”, I said. “I lost sight of them for a few minutes. I’ve been searching the whole library for them. They must have run up the stairs and gone down in the lift before I could get there. I’m so sorry I was trying my best” I said.
I thought she would see the stress and panic on my face, BUT NO she didn’t say something kind and she wouldn’t let it go.
“The stairs are very dangerous, they could fall down and injure themselves,” she said. No shit Sherlock.
“Yes, they are very dangerous for babies and toddlers. Why don’t you put a gate across the at the bottom? Also, what about the automatic doors? They’re also dangerous. I thought my boys had run out of them”.
“No, we won’t be doing anything about the stairs or the doors. You just need to keep a better eye on your children. ”OMG.
Then I completely lost the frigging plot…
“I AM TRYING MY BEST!!” I yelled at her. I’m holding two wriggling boys at this point who are planking, screaming and throwing themselves to the ground and trying to run off. I was not about to take any parenting advice from a bloody librarian.
“What do you think I should do?” I asked her. “They won’t sit still for story-time, I don’t have anyone who can help me with the kids and I desperately need to get out of the house?”
“Well, er. I just think you should stay with them at all times”.
“I AM TRYING MY BEST!” I snarled this time. “Maybe we should just forget coming to the library?”
“Well, I don’t know,” she said. “You’ll just have to decide that”.
Gobsmacked at her inability to empathise with me, I turned around before I said anything that would give me a lifetime ban from the library. I thrust my 2-year-old into the buggy and he (as if on cue) started to scream a blood-curdling scream.
Once I’d Calmed Down.
I still needed to check out a handful of books for the boys so I pushed the buggy over to a different librarian. My 2-year-old continued to turn bright red, kick his legs and scream to get out but everyone was trying desperately hard to ignore him!
The librarian said hello and smiled as he checked out the kids’ books. Then he kindly talked to my 3-year-old, gave him a stamp on his hand, smiled at me and said, “See you again!!”
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