I had my 4 kids in the library this week and there was a mom there with her 3 little kids. Her toddler was running around like crazy and every time the mom tried to stop the toddler, she'd scream. Finally the mom said to her older 2 kids, "We have to go. We'll come back another day without the baby!"
I smiled at her because oh how I remember those days! Only now that my kids are 11, 8, 7, and 5 years old can we go to the library and everyone mostly behaves! Even Little Girl can find a book on her level and quietly sit looking at it, instead of doing cartwheels, running around, or wildly pulling books off the shelves like she did last summer. But we had years of scenes in the library before getting to this day of near library-bliss. It occurred to me that I even wrote a post long ago about my troubles taking my kids to the library.
Here it is "The Library: My friend and foe" from June 8, 2009:
I love the concept of the library. You know, millions of books all free for the reading. Adventure and knowledge just waiting to be unlocked!
I love books. I don't get to read my books as much as I'd like, but I do daily get to read The Book (the Bible) and children's books, and I am thankful for that.
It brings me great joy to see my children loving books. My daughter, in particular, loves books and can recite many of her favorites, word for word!
But the thing is, in actuality, the library and my children don't really mix well.
I have yet to have what I would consider a really good library experience with my children. Maybe the library + one of my children would be fine, lovely, enjoyable even? But I am usually in the situation of the library + 3 of my children and that = chaos!
Imagine toddler wildly pulling books off the shelf, standing and bouncing on the various stools, attempting to scale the fish tank! Older kids running and yelling in a place where that sort of behavior is very frowned upon. Not to mention I am usually trying to find a particular book I've wanted to share with the kids and that distracts me from their behavior long enough for things to go very bad very fast!
This past week's library visit our downfall was the discovery of the movies you can check out from the library for free. I mistakenly pointed the kids to the roundabout rack with kid movies and said, "Let's find one that would be good to check out!" Suddenly, the rack was spinning around so fast, kids were grabbing movies, and movies were flying. I'd pick a few up and return them to their proper place only to have more movies fly off! It was quite the scene before I was able to get things (kids) under control and get us over to the check out desk.
But the check out desk has its own commotion. And do you know why? Because about a year ago I thought it would be such a neat idea for the kids to have their own library cards. I loved the image of them carrying their own book choices up to the counter and handing the librarian their card to check them out and, of course, thanking her after she scanned their card and books. But in reality it is not so idyllic and I just know those librarians breathe a sigh of relief when we finally leave!
The library should also really have stricter limits on how many books they allow us to check out because I apparently cannot enforce a reasonable limit. "Sure!" I say as my kids pick out more and more to check out. But when it comes time to return over 20 library books, it is not so fun trying to find them all within our house!
Give me a swim meet or running a marathon, but the library? It wears me out.
But still I solider on. In fact, we are going back tomorrow. Why? Because I am determined to have a good library experience with my children.