With rainy days aplenty in the past weeks I have found myself with bored girls on my hands on numerous occasions. Larkspur especially gets a little desperate for me to help her find things to do. I find myself feeling a little desperate too sometimes. If I were to name Beatrix and Larkspur’s favorite things they would be books and paper. Beatrix being the bigger lover of books, and Larkspur being (very) heavy on the paper. So late one evening last week, armed with the latest issue of Alphabet Glue, I sat down at my computer and started requesting books from Annie’s list of gardening books for kids. For the past ten years or so I have had a child at the fling books off the shelves stage almost constantly, so sometimes rather than take everyone with me to the library, I like to make requests online. That way I can be in and out with a stack of books in minutes, no book flinging or dirty looks masked by disapproving smiles from a certain children’s librarian (yes, somehow I am not popular with this one lady….)
Okay, actually I have to stop right there and tell you a story about her. But first, I just want you to know that my kids behave rather well at the library. They’ve been going all their lives and they know the whole be quiet thing etc. etc. But Beatrix, dear Beatrix. She has a little trouble being quiet and moving slowly. She’s also not good at not talking. But back to our library, and that librarian. From the first time I set foot on the children’s level of the library holding Seth’s little hand, Keats still floating around inside my stomach I feel like she’s had her eye on me. It’s more than possible that I am being overly sensitive and maybe even a little paranoid. But see, she has this way of smiling at me that doesn’t really seem like smiling. It’s hard to describe.
I am one of those baby wearing people, and she has adjusted my baby carriers multiple times. If I were better at recalling things, I am sure that I would recall her adjusting nearly every one of the babies I have worn in her presence. Clearly, she thinks that I don’t know what I am doing. That’s okay. In many ways she would be right if that is indeed what she’s thinking. Maybe she’s just overly helpful. The most recent incident went like this: I am feeling adventurous and decide to take Larkspur, Beatrix, and Silas to the library. Silas is worn on my back and the girls hold my hands walking inside. They want to take the elevator even though we only need to travel up one story to reach the children’s level. We emerge from the elevator and Larkspur and I pause to look at the books on display just outside the door. Beatrix skips around the corner to the room that holds the picture books. I vaguely notice an older gentleman emerge from the stairwell as Bea passes. As far as I can tell, he doesn’t even notice her. There is no audible gasp, no stumble, no nothing. Larkspur and I follow Beatrix under the watchful eye of the librarian. Just as I think we have made it passed her I hear, “Ma’am?” Suppressing a sigh, I turn and try to smile. I assume that she thinks Silas looks uncomfortable and wants to adjust him in the back carrier. But no, not this time. She asks me if I saw the older gentleman. I tell her that indeed I did. She tells me that Beatrix startled him as she took the corner a bit too quickly. “Oh dear” I say, “Yes, she is only three years old and she does tend to move quickly. I’ll try to do a better job helping her to walk slowly in the future.” I think that’s all, that my scolding is over, but it’s not. The librarian goes on to tell me with the gravest of expressions that at his age a fall could mean hospitalization. My eyes grow round. “And he may never leave the hospital again.“ Her eyes pierce me with those last words. I hear her message loud and clear: Beatrix has almost killed that man. Eyes still round, I try to keep my mouth closed while nodding at the seriousness of the situation. The librarian closes by asking that I discuss this with Beatrix at a time that “you think is appropriate.”
“Yes, I surely will.” Throughout this conversation I am quite sure that the gentleman in question is sitting in the next room perusing the magazines unaware that he has just made such a narrow escape.
Meanwhile, Beatrix has been in the next room looking at books with Larkspur. I walk over to her and kneeling down, I take her three year old hands in mine and look into her dancing blue eyes. “Beatrix, did you notice that man that walked passed you when we got off the elevator?” “No,” she replies. “Well, you could have tripped him, sending him to the hospital and causing his eventual death. In other words, you nearly killed him.” No, I’m kidding. I didn’t say that to her. I just said something along the lines of “Okay, well be sure and watch where you are going.”
So you can understand why I like booklists and being able to request books ahead of time. I don’t even have to set foot on the children’s floor. But don’t worry. I am not depriving my kids of the library experience. I am just not up for it every week.
Okay, that was a long tangent. Back to what I meant to be writing about, although at this point I feel silly.
I also found a good paper craft in Alphabet Glue for Larkspur, a little accordion style book filled with little homemade paper envelopes. The directions called for using decorated paper for the envelopes, but we didn’t have any. I think that worked out really well though. I got out markers, crayons, stamps, and colored pencils and we decorated the envelopes ourselves. I had thought this would be something for just Larkspur and I, but soon all five of my big kids were at the table working. I love it when that happens. I am feeling a little obsessed with Alphabet Glue right now. In fact I just printed up all six issues. It took an hour.
p.s. Annie’s starting up a read aloud book along just in time for summer. It sounds fun!
p.p.s. Local friends have been weighing in about the librarian. Evidently, she just wants to help. She doesn’t mean to offend. What I perceive as a dirty look is most likely concern and caring. But, I am not the only one who has been made to feel bad by her. At any rate, I shared the story simply because it’s funny! People can be so crazy. That’s okay, it makes life interesting and will give you something to laugh about later.