Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Either Way

I received a pamphlet in the mail about storytime at our local library. While B's only 4 months, I thought it might be a way for us to find something to do that didn't involve melting in the sun or being stuck at home. I can only walk around Target so many times. I also like the idea of him being exposed to other children-- not in the sense of germ sharing, but more to allow him to interact with and watch their mannerisms. It's good for social awareness.

We receive our mail at 9:15 every morning. I read the pamphlet and dialed the number to our library. You know, the one we pay taxes to use. And a hefty load of them, too. I was already annoyed that I couldn't just sign up online or... here's a thought... just show up.

I received the news that storytime was full. But they were happy to put me on the waiting list. :/ And of course, they managed to email me my non-admitted status.

I guess you have to have some insider knowledge about signing up for storytime or something. Clearly I'm a rookie at this whole parenting thing. I should've learned that long ago when I attempted to snag some free tickets to the local arboretum and there was a woman at the library more than 30 minutes before it opened just waiting to snag those same two tickets. People in the 'burbs don't mess around. 

Our library requires you renew your card, in person and with valid proof of residency every two years. My mother-in-law hasn't renewed her library card since the 80's and it's still valid. I filed a verbal complaint when I had to drive the 3 miles just to have them look at a medical bill from B's birth to slap a new sticker on my current library card (a new picture card would have cost me a few bucks) that renewed it until 2014.

I received a call last night telling me that we were allowed to come to storytime because the attendance has been low recently and there should be an extra chair. Like I said, they run a tight ship at our library apparently!

We showed up for storytime today and B decided it was one of those days that he wanted to spit up. He rarely spits up, but today the movement was plenty for him to feel like emptying his stomach was a cool idea. So there was that fun to contend with. And the only thing I brought was an Aden & Anais blanket. The majority of children were walking and much older than B. There were about 15 children and only 3 others were even close to being under 1 year old, like B. 

The rest? They were all Andrew's would be age. Why it didn't occur to me when I called to reserve a spot for storytime (ages 0 months - 2 years) that children Andrew's age would be there just baffles me. I'm acutely aware that Andrew would be 19 months and therefore we'd be attending the very same storytime with these very same children who were probably born at the very same hospital in the very same months surrounding Andrew's birth and death. 

All that didn't seem to click until about halfway through storytime when the leader deemed it "playtime" and all the littles who were about 19 months walked to the center of the circle and started stealing one another's toys. I sat with my 4-month old on my lap and wiped spit-up from his collared onesie.

It occurred to me right there that either way, I'd be attending that same storytime. It's like I saw the two paths of my life converge in that moment and I wasn't sure I liked it. I wasn't sure I hated it, but I know it wasn't supremely comfortable.

And by the way. That room was HUGE and there was room for at least 20 more people and their kids. So much for that whole waiting list ordeal. I was told that during the regular school year calendar they follow, children of B's age will have their own storytime, but in the summer, they merge the babies with the toddlers under 2 years. As luck would have it.


Danielle said... [Reply to comment]

i swear that librarians have to have a degree in hating themselves and hating their patrons... it sucks knowing that you're supposed to be participating in something that is supposed to be age appropriate, but for whatever reason, its not. It took me awhile to head back to storytime after Ns first meltdown... i know you are more brave than me!

J. said... [Reply to comment]

Frustrating, huh? I've run into 'You can register online' and won't do anything by phone for you attitude once or twice.

Usually story times are registered events because more than 10-15 kids makes it really hard to focus. But every library should provide drop-in story times, right? Our town starts registered story times for 6-18, 12-24, and 18-36mo (3 levels of mastery) and moves through an 8 week rotation of vocab building, phonological awareness, print motivation, etc (pretty common).

I really appreciate that we see the same kids and adults for 8 weeks and have built acquaintance relationships. We even have run into some families at nearby parks and are trying to be missional in our contact :) It's a good way to make lemonade from lemons.

Good luck and keep at it in the fall!

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

A waiting list for story time? Is it just me or has parenting gotten a little ridiculous? Remember when we were kids... if my Mom had to sign up for story time we NEVER would have gone. Renewal cards? Address validation? Permission to attend? Oh come'on! It is a kids story time! Is it just me or has someone power hungry decided to run the local circle time? And then to get there and have all those babies be Andrew's age, that is just a kick in the gut.

It doesn't seem to matter how long it is from our loss, when you see a monkey as old as yours should be, it stings. To see siblings of the right age of your children it stings. It always leaves me feeling hollow. I commend you for getting a change of scenery, I just wish the world was a little nicer to not have it be such a contentious day out.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Whenever I run into people who have a 2 year old and especially when they comment that their kid turned 2 in June/July timeframe I just feel gut punched. And I want to say "oh yeah my son is the same age" only in my head I say he should be..... Sigh.

Solange, Nik and Caitlin said... [Reply to comment]

A waiting list? Seriously? I'm glad you've found something else to do besides Target though. B will love it as he gets older and when the fall schedule resumes so he can be with kids closer to his age. :) Caity still enjoys library story time (and does super well in it) and I like to think it's because I exposed her to it early on.

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

That's weird, we have a teeny tiny library run by volunteers that I'm pretty sure would be super happy if anyone showed up.

The blindsides are the worst. I'd rather worry ahead of time than be sitting there trying to pretend everything is fine when I've just been reminded everything is indeed NOT fine.

Sorry this was so much harder than it should have been.

Kristi said... [Reply to comment]

We have to register too, but can do it in person, by phone, or online. We have no storytime in the summer, but it is broken up by age group very well in the fall, winter, and spring sessions. I even have been known to find out which librarians are leading the different time slots and register for my favorite. :-) I've never been put on a waiting list though. Thanks stinks.

Hope's Mama said... [Reply to comment]

Came to a few of the same realisations as yourself, when I attended story time for the first time with Angus. The first few times I went, I cried. I'm better now. The hard part now is, Hope would be in the preschooler story time, and Angus still goes to the toddler one. I have no idea what goes on in preschooler story time, as I have absolutely no reason to be there. And it kills me.

LookItsJessica said... [Reply to comment]

How silly that you have to jump through hoops to get to storytime. I agree with previous poster that if my mom had to do a waiting list, address verification, and registering weeks beforehand, I'm sure we would have been to the library far less than we did (which was a lot!).

It must have been surreal to see all those kids the same age as Andrew would have been (and born in the same hospital too), I can't imagine.

To reply to your comment on my blog, we totally miss the carefree lifestyle too. Obviously life with a baby is *better* but I kind of miss being able to take off whenever we wanted and sip sangria all night without a care in the world. Those times and memories are so special because we'll never get them back...and that's ok.

Brooke said... [Reply to comment]

Wow. Story time is clearly an intense business for the library.

So sorry about the grief triggers. I went to a nursing moms' support group today and everyone had to say whether this baby was their first. I cried.

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

Our librarians can be pretty hateful. I'm honestly afraid to take Addalee there because if she makes noise, I fear they'll kick me out! They're that strict.

I hate, hate, hate being blindsided by kids that are Caroline's (would-be) age. It feels like a punch in the face each and every time.

SG said... [Reply to comment]

As the wife of a librarian, I'm a little put off by your library's story hour policies.

I also find it unsettling when my two universes (with and without Elizabeth) converge...