Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I Hate the Library

I love to read.

I have ever since I was a kid. Obviously, I don't have as much time to read these days as I used to, but I've read a good number of books this year. I've found if you really like doing something, you can always make time for it.

Back when I was a mother of one, I used to get most of my books from the library. I used to enjoy browsing through the shelves and seeing what appealed to me. Now that I have a toddler, I haven't been able to make time for that, plus I'm terrified of her destroying a library book. So I haven't been to the library in a while.

Last weekend, however, I got bored and decided to take my kids there.

As some of you who read my personal blog know, I have some issues with the library. But since our local library has an entire floor dedicated to kids, I figured that we at least wouldn't get shushed.

When we arrived, my older daughter Mel was thrilled to discover that there was a train set for her to play with (because you don't actually go to the library to look at BOOKS). She started playing with it while I flipped through books with my toddler. I must have turned away for, oh, sixty seconds.... and the entire train set had been dismantled!

Me: "What did you do???"

Mel: "I'm going to rebuild it!"

OK, well, I don't want to stifle her creativity, right? So rebuild away!

Except she wasn't quite done rebuilding by the time she got bored. I think it ended up being more complicated than she thought it would be to fit everything together, and she couldn't do it. She went about ten feet away to the young readers section and started pulling out books.

"I'm going to read these!" she announced.

And of course, my toddler followed her and we all read books together. Yay for encouraging reading!

Except about ten minutes later, a family of three came into the children's area. It was a mom, a dad, and a girl of about three or four. The mom looked at the area where I was sitting with my kids, where we had a few discarded books strewn about (which I was TOTALLY going to pick up when we were done), and says, "Oh my god, what happened here?"

I didn't say anything, just kept reading and focusing on my kids.

Then they go over to the train set, and now the woman is almost screaming, "OH MY GOD, WHAT A MESS! WHAT HAPPENED?!!!"

Then the couple starts discussing what a travesty this is. The dad especially seems really upset that the train set has been dismantled. He actually sits down and starts grumbling to himself while attempting to put it back together. And I hear the mom say loudly to him, "Can you believe this? I'd like to shame her into cleaning it up!"

Now you don't have to believe me, but I was TOTALLY going to make Mel clean it up before we left. I mean, I was still right there. And when I've got two small kids with me all by myself, it's not the easiest thing to not leave a tornado behind you everywhere you go. Even if I wanted to, I couldn't have put that train set back together without both my kids vanishing on me. And to be honest, they didn't even know it was me who made that mess in the first place.

I fully expected them to come up to me eventually and confront me, but apparently, they just wanted to passive aggressively talk about me behind my back. Still, it upset me, so they did their job.

Is it possible for me to bring my kids to the library without some library patron yelling at me and making me feel like never coming back?


  1. I do empathize with your inability to clean up after Mel while simultaneously watching two small children. Perhaps you could have recruited help from the library staff with a sincere apology? Granted, I have no idea what kind of time interval there was between Melly making the mess, and the other family coming in, so maybe there wasn't enough time.

    I did think it was funny that the other parents just assumed that you were the culprit just because you were sitting there. Even if they were right, the passive aggressive behavior brands them jerkfaces in my book. I wouldn't have wanted to clean up either (even if I knew it was my kid's fault) after hearing them talk like that.

    So, in the end did you help clean up?

    1. There was only like one library staff member working the desk, so I would have felt awful asking them to clean up after me, and undoubtedly they would have refused and told me to clean up myself.

      I didn't clean up the railroad toys because they were all over it and I didn't want to go near them. But I did make Mel clean up the second mess before we left.

  2. I didn't see the library, so I have no idea what kind of mess your daughter made, but it really would have needed to involve quite a potential hazard to children before I would get upset in a children's library (such as spilling a drink on a slippery floor).

    1. No, it was nothing like that. I didn't even think it was that big a mess.

  3. Definitely the worst thing about parenthood is all the judging - there's always someone there to tell you that you're doing it wrong. In case you were somehow lacking in self-doubt..

  4. I feel bad for their child! Heaven forbid she ever make a mess!

  5. Can we say UPTIGHT? Ohy! Children make messes. Libraries don't put toys out thiking that things are going to be pristine at the end of the day. I might have made an attempt to reconstruct, but I wouldn't have killed myself over it.
    And if it were me, I would've fabricated a delicious story about some mom and her 8 kids, running around with graham crackers, juice boxes IN THE LIBRARY, and what a mess they made. :0D

  6. We once had a father bring his young son to our home without his mother. His mother was very obsessed with cleanliness and the child never got dirty, always put every toy away immediately, etc. He was almost 5 years old. His father put him in a small go-kart, strapped in with a seat belt and a roll cage, to take a ride with my 10 year old son. They rode around the yard within sight of both fathers but went through a mud puddle. Both boys laughed, got dirty and loved it. The young visitors grinned from ear to ear. After the ride, I suggested we wash his hands and face. When he saw himself in the bathroom mirror, the poor child's face went from smiling and laughing to one of really horror. He told me that he "didn't want to get dirty, they made him do it." There IS such a thing as an overabundance of cleanliness.

  7. Just having a funny thought... imagine if you'd said, 'Oh, we're not quite finished with that train set yet. But you're welcome to use it if you like.' Wonder what their response would've been... :-D lol


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