Being a mom can be isolating. There are only so many times you can sing “Old McDonald” without wanting to put that pig that goes “oink oink here, and oink oink there” on a spit and roast him for the breakfast you didn’t have.
Not to mention that in the fester pot of toddler germs, SOME precocious youth among your mom friends is always sick or going through a sleep regression. So we’re all individually holed up in our houses trying to keep our kids interested in their toys, or looking for an excuse to go to the grocery store (“well, would you look at that, we’re out of Worcestershire sauce and cumin, we must replenish immediately.”).
So we go to the library. Because if you wipe their nose, there isn’t a cold, right? Right.
I always decide to go to story time like, morning of. Usually Seb has woken up from his first nap by 9:30am (Um, what? Yeah, count backwards, that’s how early he wakes up), and I all of a sudden realize there is a lot of daylight to fill.
As I’m frantically searching online for story times at the libraries that are not sketchy (aka, the ones where I haven’t been stalked by a homeless 90 year old or hit on by the man at the help desk), the boujee-est of all boujee library’s pops up.
*to be read with a clothespin on your nose*
“To those worthy parents who have brought their little intellectuals early enough to partake in the prestigious literary session for the enlightenment of young minds, a golden ticket will be issued following an intake interview and the collection of personal references.”
Ok, a little hyperbole, but here’s what it really said.
“Story time will begin promptly at 10am. Tickets will be issued 15 minutes prior and no one will be admitted without a ticket or after the program has started.”
So obviously I left my house 5 minutes after it started and tried to wheedle my way in. The library police (aka a severe elderly lady named Linda in a pink cardigan which was not severe) swooped in to escort me away from the story time, just in case some of my tardiness would rub off on the put together parents.
So we headed to the play area, which is when I noticed that I had forgotten to put socks and shoes on Seb. All of a sudden I felt the horror and embarrassment of when someone shows up at your house when you’re still in pajamas, or when you realize you have a large piece of spinach in your teeth.
But we’re here and Seb is already trying to fling himself out of my arms, convinced he would make the journey to the ground safely, so I just shrug my shoulders and roll with it.
There a few unspoken rules of community space/shared toys children’s areas that I have garnered- I present them to you now:
Properly clothe your child.
Make sure your child plays nicely/shares toys
Don’t let your child put their germy mouth on shared toys
Don’t comment on other people’s parenting.
So I’ve already broken rule 1, which you wouldn’t think is that difficult to follow, until you have mom brain.
As Seb is making a delighted, squealing entrance into the kid area to let the other kids know he is here and ready to party, I’m casting furtive glances right and left to see where I’m supposed to go. Do I stand here like a creepy bystander? Do I sit over in the corner? Do I follow Seb and sit near him so that he doesn’t break rules 2 and 3?
My decision was made for me as Seb reached over to a kid twice his size and snatched his Lego from him and put it triumphantly into his mouth. I ran over quickly and tried to wipe off the puddle of drool and give it back to the child, while his mom looked at me and laughed. “Trying to keep them away from each other’s toys is a loosing battle at this age.”
Alright so rules 1-3 are toast, and I know better than to break rule four, but no one ever said you couldn’t play “spot the parenting technique”, so who can blame me for watching the show?
“Parenting Styles”, for 300.
A tousled, curly haired gem in a faded shirt faintly smelling of essential oils belly flops onto the Lego table in stone cold determination to steal a Lego tower from a 5 year old who is suddenly terrified. His bearded dad walks over calmly in his Birkenstocks and half suggests, half drags, him off the table, saying in a singsong voice “that is not how we love people, Saundry”.
What is, “Gentle Parenting”? DING DING DING correct!
“Obscure Behavior”, for 400
This mom is scurrying quickly after her 2 year old daughter while carrying a diaper bag, blanket, stuffed animal, and bag of snacks. She is never more than a foot away, whispering constantly and occasionally popping a cheerio in her daughters mouth from behind. The little girl eventually finds Seb crawling towards a garbage can (couldn’t just play with the toys, naturally), and lays on top of him to hug him, basically smothering him. Can’t imagine where she learned that.
What is, “Hover Parenting”. CORRECT.
“Goals” for 500
This mom is casually dressed, wearing a newborn in a baby carrier, holding a coffee thermos and chatting casually to her friend while her 3 year old plays and wanders independently. She’s chill, collected, and real-owning this library scene.
What is, “Friend I Want To Make”.
And so I did. We laughed, talked about the joys of being a mom, and rolled our tired eyes about 5am wake up calls.
I left an hour later, with Seb sans footwear in tow.
An hour out of the house with a baby is like discovering a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich hidden in your inbox.
Can’t put a price on good play time. Or free chicken.