Today was a rainy day and my toddler and I had been cooped up in the house. So when I made plans to hang out with my friend S and her almost two-year-old son D, I brilliantly thought, “We can go to the library!” It’s indoors, they have a children’s section, and it’s the library. Only good things happen at the library.
And there are a ton of great things to do at the library. They have story time where if you’re lucky you can hear an adult read a book with funny voices and facial expressions. They have toys, so much so that sometimes I wonder if we go there more for the toys than the books. But yes, we also go for the books. Tons and tons of them. And every time I’ve gone with my toddler, he and I have a good time taking advantage of all these free resources. So off to the library we go.
My friend S arrives with D, and right away we try to catch up on what’s new. But this is near impossible what with having to keep an eye on one toddler pulling books from the shelves and the other one climbing on the furniture. Oh, and ssshhhh…. did I mention that you have to talk quietly at the library? Not exactly the most ideal place for two friends wanting to catch up.
And I don’t think I’ve ever seen a children’s area at the library with doors that close, although I sure wish they would put some up. Even fences… or baby gates… Anything to keep toddlers from exploring beyond the colorful tables and short shelves and into the rest of the library to bother the patrons. To keep my toddler contained in the children’s area, I told him to stay on the brown carpet that we were on and not step on the gray one. So of course he squatted on the border and started poking the gray carpet, wondering why the brown one was okay but the gray one was off limits. S on the other hand, had to get up a few times to fetch her toddler making a mad dash out of the children’s area.
To make matters worse, the librarian noticed the stack of books D had piled up on the table. She asked another dad nearby, “Are you checking out these books?” When he said no, she continued to complain, “I don’t know why kids do this. They just pull the books out. And it has to be one kid; all these books are from the same section.” Oops. Meanwhile, S and I guiltily look away and try to make small talk, “Oh so work’s been crazy for you?” while hoping the other dad wouldn’t rat us out.
My toddler knew what he was talking about when, after an hour into our play date, he said, “Want to go home.” Lesson learned: libraries are great for mommy and me. Even for mommy and daddy and me. But not for play dates. Next time we’ll stick to our homes or anywhere else where we don’t have to hide from a librarian or tell our toddlers to please stay on the brown carpet.