babyhood, humor, librarians, library, motherhood, parenting, walking

On toddlers. Mean librarians. And why I won’t be leaving my house until he’s eighteen.

When you were little, you played with toys or followed close to me gripping me by the leg, my mother said of me. When K was little, he didn’t walk, he ran- everywhere. Up the stairs and down the stairs, into the alleyways, neighbor’s homes to steal a shoe, bring a frog as a gift for his grandmother, said K’s aunts, uncles, and mother.

In addition to K’s metabolism, it appears my son has taken after his father here too.

Let me be the first to say that watching my son waddle over to me like a penguin squealing with a wooden spoon in his hand is the cutest. thing. ever. But outside the confines of our house? Sigh. Today was my first solo-venture out into the world with my newly walking child. Library story-time, a fairly safe environment for chaos as all the children are waddling around babbling like a convention of slightly confused zombies. In story times past, he stuck close to me but now? He made a beeline for a set of keys [not mine]. Toys [not ours] which he then tried sticking into the mouth of a fellow child [said child obliged by opening wide] and then? His jaw dropped as he noticed the books- shelves of books- rife for the yanking and tossing. Which he did. With me close behind. Sticking them back in. As he pulled more out. And while asking him to stop works at home [though lately more finicky a challenge than before] here? He just looked at me like I was speaking Swahili and went on his business.

At the self-check-out, balancing both the ten children’s books I needed to place one at a time on the scanner and my nineteen pound child proved difficult so I set him on the ground for a second. Which he took full advantage of by zooming for the DVDs, flinging each one-by-one and then looking back with a proud grin like he just cured world hunger. I tried checking out as quickly as possible, put the fallen items back in their place under the disapproving gaze of a very sour librarian, and headed out, when we heard beep. 

Without even giving me a chance to turn around, the librarian screamed for me to stop like I was walking out with classified government secrets.  Must be the DVD you stuck in your bag, she said. Yep, I wanted to say, its a mother-son operation. I pretend to check out, he distracts by flinging DVDs, and then, we swipe obscure DVDs on the mating habits of penguins! Come on. Really?  It turned out one of the books didn’t scan, needing manual entry, and in my distraction, I didn’t notice. So she gave me the book to manually enter at the self scanner [though between you and me, she could have kindly just checked it out for me!] and so I set him down, he bee-lined for the DVDs- and we rinsed and repeated.

We’re home now. And while he’s as perky as a bunny on ten cups of coffee, me? I need a nap. I thought I had at least a couple more weeks before toddlerhood began?

Seriously, as parents of fully mobile children, how do you balance their desire for independence with the desire to not have to be seen as sticky fingers by your local librarian? How do you encourage curiosity, keep from buying all broken inventory due to said curiosity, and leave the house before your child is eighteen years old?

28 thoughts on “On toddlers. Mean librarians. And why I won’t be leaving my house until he’s eighteen.”

  1. He doesn't mind the stroller, but at story-time all the kids are on the ground so he would probably not like to be the only one contained, lol. And yeah, he's not the biggest fan of the stroller now that he knows he can walk. Yes, thankfully, W loves the grocery cart, but now he also loves yanking things off shelves. LOL. Sigh.


  2. Trust me, from a youth librarian, you are not seen as someone with sticky fingers. We know what's up — and it happens every time someone leaves the library. Sour puss librarian may have been too sour but we're also just tired of hearing that stupid gate beep.

    Myself, I always tell people to STOP as soon as I hear the gate go off, not because I think they'll run away all giggly because they got away with stealing, but because I know they'll just keep walking because they can't hear me. (Although I've definitely seen parents cut and run because they want to just get home before any more damage is done.)

    Either way, it's a lose lose battle until he's eighteen. Enjoy the ride, I guess? Ha!


  3. Lisa, I was curious for your take since I know you are a librarian. I can see her perspective on yelling Stop so she made sure I heard, but she was so disapproving I felt like I was three!!! And I think you, as a kind youth librarian, would have just said, “here let me manually enter the book since you have your hands full” whereas this one, she just. didnt. I go to this library ALL the time, and most of the time when my hands are as full as they were today, they just check it out for me, I don't know why this one didnt help me out since she just stood with her arms crossed watching me juggle books and child!

    And, really? Do parents honestly cut and run?!?! LOL- good to know for next time 😉


  4. There are definitely days when the stupid gate beeps all. day. long. And while you were running around after Waleed like a responsible parent does, you'd be AMAZED at the number of parents who consider the library to be there solely for their child's amusement. I've literally watched more parents than I can count stand and WATCH while their child destroyed entire shelves' worth of displays. And then they walked away. Argh!

    But to make you feel like a criminal because a book didn't scan – especially when you ARE being responsible? Everyone knows the self-scanners do sort of a lousy job of reading barcodes, and at our library, we made a point of apologizing for the embarrassment of having to call someone back from the gate. Sounds like she could use some customer-service remedial classes. Try not to take it personally. Could also be she was just having a really lousy day – they DO happen in the kids' room, more often than you'd think!


  5. Aisha,

    They do! It's crazy! They just run for it! Usually, I check the books on the self-check for the patron if they've gone through and beeped. Our system has a problem of not taking security off of the books when the books are swiped too quickly, so 90% of the time it's system error.

    Weird shit happens in public libraries… weird, weird stuff. Us librarians have to be as hardened as parole officers to put up with it.

    But of course, she should have been nicer. 🙂


  6. Susan, this librarian is just kind of grouchy usually- I just couldn't believe she said I stuck a DVD in my bag. But I can understand that perhaps they've just dealt with one frustrating situatino too many and maybe she decided to take it out on me, lol.

    Lisa, librarians and parole officers- I never quite would have thought of it that way. I think that's a book calling your name to write: The secret life of Librarians! 🙂

    A, I'm happy he walks, and happy he's curious, but when he toppled the DVD rack I was admittedly mortified 🙂

    Raising, I hope it will never come to a baby leash, but at the rate he's going it might be something I'll think about. But I HOPE NOT! Have you ever used it?


  7. I'm with raisingbrainchild and I'm not kidding. LOL. I'm sure those baby leashes have saved the lives of many really active kids.

    This post was hilarious and I love it. You brought back a lot of memories! It's exhausting and never-ending keeping tabs on a baby his age. This gets a lot more dangerous if he wanders off in a store or out towards a busy road. I can't tell you how many mini-heart attacks I had when my boys were toddlers.

    One time I fell asleep while watching TV with my youngest son, (I was exhausted from working a midnight shift at the time. Definitely didn't get perfect parent award for a few months.) I guess he was between the ages of 1 and 2 – and he managed to pull the bag of dog food from the kitchen cabinet – drag it halfway up a flight of stairs, rip it open, and dump the contents down said stairs. LOL… (And he was the “good” baby.)


  8. I'm with Tracy — hilarious post. Still, having been there (great memories, by the way!), I know you must've been sweating and stressing. It's nerve wracking to make sure they don't get hurt and that you aren't annoying any crabby librarians…

    My kids were super active, too. We couldn't leave any of the chairs around the table or my son would climb up onto them, then up onto the table, and stand in the middle of the table and dance!

    And when we had my daughter, everyone said: don't worry, girls are less active. Yeah, right! My daughter at 12 mos., in my BR alone for 1 minute (I was in the bathroom, 5 feet away) climbed up my dresser and pulled it down on herself. Terrifying but she was fine! As Tracy said: Mini (and maxi) heart attacks, no kidding!


  9. Tracy- O.M.G. I cannot imagine that! And I'm fairy certain something of that equivalent is in my future, lol. Glad you enjoyed this post 🙂

    Julia- Oh my gosh! I just shuddered picturing the dresser falling on your child. Glad she's fine though! Did you every try a leash? Just out of curiosity? I've seen some parents do it and vowed it would never be me, but yeah- I find myself second guessing lots of stances now that I'm a parent, LOL 🙂


  10. He's young enough that I might try a backpack before a leash. (he might even get tangled up in a leash at this age…but if a leash works and it frees you from worry, why not?) And, about second guessing stances? CONSTANTLY and FOREVER! LOL 🙂 (p.s. my best advice: have as much fun as you can; he'll start to learn when it's ok to act certain ways, and you'll start to learn when to pick him up and try again another day!)


  11. Julia, do you mean a carrier? I have an Ergo that I take him along with everywhere, this was the first time I didn't have it on me, but in the future he will definitely be strapped to me! lol. Thanks for the advice 🙂

    Anon 🙂


  12. No offense to ppl who use them but I. do. not. like. baby leashes. Anyhow, I used the stroller! You can take him out of it during the story time itself but from the car to the inside of the room and after you leave and out to the car, you can use it. It will help some. It also helps carry stuff. By daughter is three and I still sometimes use it. Also, kids do eventually get tired during longer outings like at the zoo or mall. And they can be entertained by giving them snacks, etc.

    Good luck!



  13. I am laughing so hard gimme a sec…lol I KNOW what you mean. I have never taken D to a library (I don't like libraries myself) but taking him for shopping? big time mess!! I almost never go shopping alone with him. I cannot manage it. I either ask a girl friend or some family to come with me. That's the only way I can be sure not to leave a mess behind lol…


  14. Oh the good 'ole days! My youngest is now 3 and he's quite a tame one too. But yes, strollers (or as we say in my language, “pushchairs” 😛 ) and shopping trolleys were my friends. My goodness, I even had a double buggie for my 1.5 year old and new born, with 3 year old holding the side. I don't know now, how I got through those days, but I did. I just remember being determined not to let them stop me from getting outside. I had my fourth in Saudi Arabia, and here they're great with kids at shops and malls. They've been very understanding when it comes to “sticky finger” situations!
    I loved reading this post!


  15. Rasha, I doubt I'll ever use a baby leash because it just looks so. . . I don't know. I mean my child is a person, not a pet. But- I do understand it now. I do use strollers, and carriers, I got lazy and thought, “well he can walk now. . .” LOL never again. I need to get an umbrella stroller too though, right now he still fits in the snap and go and he HATES IT.

    C, glad it gave you a giggle 🙂 Glad to know you can relate! Yes, I'll be doing anything that involves him walking around, with a partner for sure!

    Fruitful, yes for sure strollers are a saving grace, as I was telling Rasha, I need to upgrade and get an umbrella stroller, the one he has right now reclines too much and he gets angry in it and wants out. Mash'Allah though, I don't know how y'all do it with four- its difficult now but insh'Allah you will reap the full rewards when they're older. I love love huge families, but the prospect of raising them is daunting if you don't have a large family unit to help you.


  16. I see the dirty looks I get from people when my 2 year old is acting out which frankly is quite often. Like these individuals walk on water!! Like they have never been in my shoes with a child, or when they were having a bad day and did something stupid! Once, when I was at a department store, I actually confronted the store clerk about the dirty look she gave me when I handed her an item my son had been carrying through the store but we were not going to buy it. It felt so good! She was shocked to be called on her behavior…you just do the best you can and take a deep breath and let the day go. And judge not lest you be judged!


  17. Write Mama, I don't get it either- but kudos to you for calling her out! What did you say, just out of curiosity, might need the retort myself someday soon!


  18. LOL – I don't have any good advice, I just deal with it. I figure people with kids will understand, and people without kids won't. Nothing I can do about the latter group, I just have to accept it. I do my best to keep a balance.

    And if that fails? Well, you can always think, “It could be worse, I could have three to deal with in public like Sunny.” 😉

    About weaning, I got pretty lucky that the twins took to the sippy cup. Is it the cup itself he doesn't seem to like, or the milk inside? If it's the milk, you can try adding pumped breastmilk. If it's the cup, keep trying different ones until he takes to one. They have some that are spill-proof, some that aren't, some that have straws, etc. And just keep at it every day. Gax certainly wasn't pumped at first, but after a week or two, he was in love! Good luck A. 🙂


  19. sunny, bless you a million times over for three kids so very young! He will drink out of the cups- he just will play with it and then toss it- its like a game for him. . . I tried milk in it once and he opened his mouth and let it all just dribble out. SIGH. Eventually I suppose! So nice to hear from you btw 🙂


  20. What an ironic post for me to come upon today, as Zachary and I are about to head out for our first Momma-Zachary outing to the library in just a few minutes. We went to an Easter program there yesterday (first time taking Zachary to the library for more than just picking up some books I had on hold), but Daddy was along to help. Today, it will be just the two of us.

    I have a hard time with the exploration/containing him as well. I wish us both a lot of luck in figuring it out!


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