It’s hot here in Florida during the summertime, but I didn’t let that stop me as I dressed in chic jeans and heels preparing to take my twin toddlers to the library for the first time. The 1.5-mile walk seemed just the right distance for a strollered stroll when we were inside our air-conditioned home.
First, let me say that I only got one blister, and it didn’t show up until halfway there. Huzzah. However, not only was I wearing jeans, I’d also dressed Natalina in jeans, and, seeing as it was probably 95 degrees, this was borderline cruel of me.
We finally get to the library – Dulce, Natalina and I – sweaty messes all. I sign up for a card, roll the stroller to the kids’ corner, and we start to play. There are two other children there; the girl is probably five, the boy, probably three. I think, “Great! My kids will get to play with some other kids.” Unfortunately, that’s not really how it turned out.
Natalina kept trying to give the boy a book which he would swat out of her hands. I didn’t like that, but I kept my mouth shut. What can you really say to a three year old you don’t know? Then, I turned around for a moment, and he pushed Dulce to the ground. So I picked her up and couldn’t help but give the little boy a look – a look meant for an adult, a look meant for an adult who has just knowingly and intentionally hurt you or someone you love. I know that wasn’t right of me, but I really couldn’t help it. He pushed my kid. He pushed her on purpose. He also kept throwing books, and my girls saw this and started throwing books. I had to tell them, “No, even though that baby is throwing books, we cannot throw books.”
I pulled some grapes out of my purse that I’d brought for the babies, feeling like super-mom because I’d remembered to bring a snack. I quickly learned, though, that grapes are like gold to other people’s children. Those other people’s children ate most of my grapes. Where were all the adults who were supposed to be watching these scamps anyway?
It was finally time to leave. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to tell a toddler that it’s time to leave a great new place where they are having fun, but it’s not easy. Compound that with forcing them back into their stroller, and, well, it just doesn’t go over well. This particular time, it went over screamingly badly, in fact.
I was mortified. We were in a library. There were regular people there minding their own business, trying to read. My kids not only screamed at the top of their lungs for minutes-that-seemed-like-days on end, they also struggled so that it looked as if I were beating them into submission. I have never been more embarrassed in my life.
The librarians were nice about it, but I was almost in tears, telling the babies that we would never come back here again and telling other patrons how sorry we were. The librarians said, “Well, that’s what we get for combining a kids’ library with an adult library. We expect this. Don’t worry. Get out of the house. Come back to the library. It will be better next time.”
I decided never to go there again. The librarians, though, were right. It was better next time. It was better because I was prepared. I told the babies over and over again, “No crying when we leave the library. We can go to the library now, but only if you don’t cry when we leave. We are going to go to the library, and then we are going to leave the library, and you are not going to cry. No crying when we leave the library.”
I can’t believe it, but the broken record of warnings worked. We’re now regulars at the library, and everybody knows not to cry. We also wear shorts.