All parents are not created equal

Today a mom noticed that her toddler had located a little kids magazine and was beginning the "I'm going to rip this magazine because I am in awe of my strong ripping powers!" process. She rushed over to stop him but got there about a second too late. So she took the magazine away, informed him that we do not rip things, and found him a very sturdy book to read. She then brought the magazine over to me, told me what happened, and asked if she needed to pay for it.

I told her not to worry about it, that it looked like something I could easily fix with a bit of tape, and thanked her for bringing it over. Then we shared a laugh about toddlers and their Destructo ways.

This mommy is one of the good ones and I will always think of her this way unless something drastic should happen, like if I find her changing her baby's diaper in the middle of the children's section, using pages from a library book as wipes. Something like that.

Last night, the other kind of mother was here. She wasn't paying attention to her two little ones and they were running around like crazy loud dervishes. Crazy barefoot loud dervishes. One of the librarians went over and told her that her children needed to wear shoes in the library.

Mom: "Well, they chose not to wear shoes today."

Librarian, probably doing a massive internal eyeroll: "Well, if you choose to come to the library they need to have shoes on."

The mom proceeded to talk about how every time they come here someone ruins her children's library experience by saying things like "your kids need to wear shoes." And how we are making the library "not fun." And she wants to come back and speak with the director about how not-fun-making we are.

I wish I'd been there. My response would have been simple:

"Ma'am, sick people cough and spit on our floors, teens have thumbtack wars in the children's area, and a couple of weeks ago we found poop on the carpet. Still think your kids should be barefoot in here?"


Bean said... [reply]

Oh how I love people and their stupid ways.

Emily said... [reply]

As the mother of three unruly (but generally under control) children I especially dislike moms like this. They are the reason everyone gives me dirty looks whenever I venture out in public with my kids. She does not understand the concept of choices in kids. As in: "You can choose to wear choose to the library or you can choose to stay home." Hello "Parenting with Love and Logic"

Nemesis said... [reply]

Yeah, Emily. Seems like this lady was asking the wrong questions. "WHICH shoes would you like to wear?" seems better than "WOULD you like to wear shoes today?"

But then, what do I know? I'm just One Who Doesn't Want Children to Have Fun.

Giggles said... [reply]

As a former elementary teacher, the children of parent #2 used to drive me crazy. The children of parent #1 were an absolute delight.

I recently told a group of future teachers to go to Wal-Mart and practice their "teacher look" on the children of parent #2, because you know they're there. I should tell them libraries would be a good place to practice too.

emandtrev said... [reply]

Oh my. I could probably get really ranty here, but I won't other than to say I believe this is some of what is wrong with society today. Do I think my kids hung the moon? Of course. But do I want to teach them about a little thing called accountability (and social graces too)? Absofreakinlutely.

Cafe Johnsonia said... [reply]


FoxyJ said... [reply]

Parenting FAIL. Seriously. Those are the kids who are going to get older and do stuff like poop on the floor or have thumbtack wars. Because it's 'fun'.

And I am continually amazed by how many people who use the library fail to realize that it is a public space. Public, meaning anyone else can be using it and some of those other people are freaks. Which is why you should actually watch your children and make sure you wear shoes. And use hand sanitizer after you touch the picture books.

Señora H-B said... [reply]

I had a librarian moment the other day in Best Buy. A pair of Parent #2 was letting their children run around shrieking at the top of their lungs while they shopped for computers. Now, I get that computer shopping is kind of intensive and blah, blah, blah...but at least a "shhhh" would have been appreciated. I said, not-so-quietly, "I wish people could control their children". I would have felt just the teensiest bit guilty for being snippy, except that the children kept shrieking. I hate shrieking.

MommyJ said... [reply]

I hate it when people send their kids into the children section, and then leave to go browse on their own. There's an age limit isn't there? Like a five and three year old shouldn't be wandering around the children section unsupervised, right?

I'm pretty sure librarians aren't babysitters, and uh, neither are the other mothers who actually stay and WATCH their children.

Bridget said... [reply]

I agree with Emily.

I try to be a good library mom, but sometimes I feel like I fall short. My daughter colored on a book from the Provo library. I felt really bad about it. They wanted to charge me to replace the whole book (around $30) but even though I knew it was my fault, I maintained that the book was still fully readable. So they lowered the fine to $3. My question to you, since you're the only librarian I "know," is, what are they going to do with the $3?

(The whole situation is explained here in case you need more details.)

Nicole said... [reply]

And THAT pretty much confirms that my library phobia will never go away. Oh, the germs.

Well, and the kids if I'm being honest. I love my own, but not such a fan of others'.

Laura said... [reply]

I've started to wonder if I'm some sort of horrid child-hating grouch because I dislike how noisy and shriek-y children are in public.

I've decided that my problem is I'm too judgmental. I only have one child, aged 7. He's very obedient. Sometimes when we're out, he'll say things like, "She shouldn't scream at her mom like that, huh mom? That's not nice," as we're passing by some temper-tantrum throwing child at Target.

But the thing is, I only have one kid. I only want one. And one is easier to handle than the many that these women have. I often see them trying to wrangle two or three or four, often all under the age of six.

I don't know why they opted to have four children under the age of six, but hey. To each their own.

I just wish they would also make the personal choice to hire a sitter or invite a friend/relative along to assist with wrangling the herd. And also pick up some books on discipline while at the store/library/what-have-you.

chosha said... [reply]

Oh how I wish you had been there. I would have liked to hear her response to that. I say tell the director you'd love to be invited to the 'why we at the library strive to suck all of the fun out of children's library experiences' chat. :)

Amy said... [reply]

Yet again, this makes me take a big sigh of relief that I no longer work the circulation desk of a major public library.

(Life by Candlelight)

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

Hey, I learned the hard way about letting kids have "choices" about everything. Too bad you weren't there to give her the poop story.

Jenny said... [reply]

There is a person who is not the boss or a librarian and works at the circulation desk at the Provo Library who is a total BEAST. She made me cry recently. Provo's system for fining for damaged books drives me crazy becuase it seems like they don't fix a lot of the damaged books because we keep checking them out and getting charged for them, so I am constantly taking books up to the circulation desk that we have checked out that shouldn't be in circulation so we don't get fined.

IMO if it is in circulation and they don't have to spend time or manpower to fix it, like repair a binding or tape pages or whatever, you shouldn't be charged for it. And if it's really damaged they should yank it from the shelves. Grr.

Also Nem, since you've been blogging about how nasty the library is we've been clorox wiping our books. It's like the new routine when we get home from the library.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

Jenny--when I worked at the library shelving books my hands would be black by the end of a four-hour shift. Especially with children's books. We sometimes had volunteers come in that cleaned the books, but that doesn't happen very often.

FoxyJ said... [reply]

Jenny--when I worked at the library shelving books my hands would be black by the end of a four-hour shift. Especially with children's books. We sometimes had volunteers come in that cleaned the books, but that doesn't happen very often.

Taren said... [reply]


Nells-Bells said... [reply]

haha! your response would have been perfect. it truly is too bad you weren't there.
it is so embarrassing to be in a public place and have your child destroy something. case in point: at the grocery store when the two little ones start fighting over who gets to stand the closest to the millions of jars of jam. of course, one breaks on the ground and i begin to rant and rave about making good choices and how there are MILLIONS of jars of jam to choose from, why that one? i offered to clean up the mess myself and to also pay for the broken jar of jam but they declined and pretty much shooed me away. i think they just wanted me to leave. i tried!!!

Th. said... [reply]


What the library is for?

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