A mom, a baby and two toddlers walk into a library…
Trust me. You do not want to hear the punchline to that joke. Or better yet, the joke was on me. In my head, things would go swimmingly. I would stroll in the library during story time with my three-month-old strapped snug against my chest and the leashes to my twin daughters’ backpacks gripped firmly. In my mind, my daughters would sit quietly and listen to the librarian as she read a lovely children’s book that we would later discuss in detail.
However, my mind is often filled with idealistic ramblings. Realistically, I was dealing with toddlers, two-year-old twins to be exact. Even though I was armed with an arsenal of snacks and toys, the first meltdown ensued before we even left the house. No worries, I thought. For I’d read several parenting articles on outings with toddlers, which offered advice on how to handle everything from temper tantrums to boredom in toddlers. Unfortunately, nothing had prepared me for the real thing.
Anyhow, so here I was, coaxing my easily distracted toddlers to the door of the children’s section as my three-month-old began to stir in his baby carrier, alerting me that he was hungry. Sidebar, did you know that babies tend to get hungry when entering new environments? I do now. I guess suckling or nursing helps them to feel at ease.
So, we enter the children’s room and we are greeted by the most kind, helpful librarian. As she greeted us and led us to the alphabet adorned rug to have a seat in Indian style, her tone was laced with a mixture of admiration and pity. She mentioned something about me being a “supermom”. That should have been my cue to leave, for I am squarely a mediocre mom at best. Yes, I wipe up spilled milk and clean poopy diapers, but I also drink wine and dream of penthouses and music festivals. I’m just saying.
As we waited for the shenanigans (I love that word.) to start, I tried embracing my newfound title of “supermom” and attempted to mingle with the other early moms. The baby was easy. I managed to slide his carrier to the side and give him a bottle while carrying on the usual “it’s rude if we don’t speak” conversation with this other toddler moms.
While carrying on this charade of a conversation, I am watching my twins wrestle a toy from a well-manner and impressive three-year-old’s hands. Great! Now she is going to know that I am not a “supermom” after all. I apologized profusely for my children’s behavior. And that became the theme of this story time endeavor. And while the other mom’s mouth said, “It’s fine.” Her eyes told a different story.
And, with that, in walks another librarian, armed with children’s book on dandelions. My twin daughters immediately became disinterested. Leighanna (the oldest twin by thirty-three minutes) decided she would find a better book and “read” it to the group. Audrianna, on the other hand) found a crayon from somewhere and began to color in the white tiles on the floor. And, I continued to feed my restless baby, who had just taken a dump in his diaper. I made mom faces and hush noises at the toddlers to no avail. My children were ruthless, and the librarian was reading the longest children’s book ever. How much could this author say about dandelions? Good grief!
Then, it was over, but not really. For, after story time, its craft time. Not to be contained, my toddlers, who had now pooped their diapers as well, began to run rampant around the children’s room. I lumbered slowly behind with my poopy baby strapped to my chest. With the help of the sympathetic librarian, I rounded up the twins and we somehow managed to get them to glue Q-tips (Don’t ask.) to pieces of construction paper for another fifteen minutes.
Then, it was over, for real this time. I had managed to get my kids through story time meltdown free. However, getting them back to the car was another endeavor altogether. I wish that I had sage advice to give, but I just bribed them with cookies.
In conclusion, story time was a tempered success, depending on your definition of success. Taking my three smaller children to story time at a library was a noble endeavor. For now, we might just stick to the playgrounds and the parks that we are used to. I mean, what the heck is a “super-mom” anyway?