On Saturday I had to (had to, had to) go to the library. It was the last day to use canned foods to pay off library fines. Once a year, I tend to forget I have books and then keep them a week or two longer. So sad. But I love the canned food drive week. I donate to a good cause and pay back the library. Win-win.
After Tornado A’s nap, I packed up the boys and headed out. The boys stared at The Lego Club designs for a good five minutes, planning what they would build next time we go. Actually Tornado E was planning. Tornado S was picking out the Lego people he would hunt for next meeting. Tornado A was running around and around the display case, forcing himself in between to cases. Finally, I grew bored and shooed them into the library.
Since the ogling took so long, both librarians were busy. I stopped to wait as Tornado E and Tornado S perused the kid section next to the desk. Tornado A made a bee-line for the rest of the library. I scooped him up and held him as I waited my turn. Being nearly two and incredibly independent as well as believing he is six, Tornado A through a temper tantrum, hollering and thrashing in my arms as I ignored it.
A man, being “helped” by a librarian, as she scurried around the library for him as he stood at the desk, turned around and glared at me. He stood there, glaring at me. Just two feet away. Not one to be intimidated by jerks, I glared back. All the while, Tornado A is hollering.
The other librarian became free after a minute and called me over. I set Tornado A down in front of me and explained why I was there. As soon as he was set down, Tornado A stopped throwing his temper tantrum and wanted up again. Of course, he does; he was two the next day. I paid my fines and wished the librarian a good day. She smiled and did the same.
I walked into the children’s section and told the boys that they could pick out a DVD and some books. As Tornado E and I scanned the titles, Tornado A was thrilled to pull out DVDs off the shelves. I replaced them right back where he got them. He then turned to a shelf of books, which I stopped him. He turned back to the DVDs, and I reshelved. He went back to the books. Honestly. That’s enough.
I told him no.
And he acted two and threw a temper tantrum.
“You may not pull out the books. Throw your temper here and be done with it.”
With the screaming and hollering time seemed to speed up as I scrambled to put away all the DVDs and the few books. Are you kidding me? After what felt like five minutes to me, but surely was only two minutes to the rest of the world that didn’t have a screaming toddler, I decided the hell with this, let’s retreat.
“Boys. We’re going. Put things away.”
I bent down to pick up the last book.
“Here. I’ll take that.”
I hadn’t heard that tone since Catholic school. Icy, displeased authority. I never handled that tone well. As a meek Catholic school girl, I would do as told with angry tears pricking my eyes, wishing to avenge myself. Until eighth grade, then I would smile a sharp smile and do as told. My way with a jab.
I wasn’t meek anymore. I straightened up and looked into the eyes of the librarian that was scurrying back and forth earlier.
And I knew she was there to ask me to leave.
“Thank you,” I replied in a sweet, dangerous voice. Please ask me to leave. Please. I’m a single parent with a screaming toddler, no idea what to make for dinner, and haven’t had a parent break without errands since the third weekend in March, and there seems to be a war on women and motherhood and toddlers. So please ask me to leave. I’m ready for a fight.
Ignoring the librarian, I picked up Tornado A who lowered the volume a bit.
“Come on, boys. We’re going.”
I walked past her without a glance, screaming child in my arms, two tornadoes trailing me. As I walked by the library desk, the man was still staring, glaring at me. I shot him a look to kill as I marched past him. Near the exit, a woman shot me a dark look. I gave her a look right back. It’s possible that I might have stuck out my tongue.
I wish she had said something. God, I wish she had.
Because I would have said, “Seeing that this library has quite a few board books and picture books as well as toddler story time, I naturally assumed toddlers were welcomed. If toddlers are welcomed, then an occasional tantrum is to be expected. Seeing that we are in the children’s section and all, I think we’re in the safety area.”
My first thought of revenge was to never go back to that library again. But then I realized that would do no good at all. I’ve decided we’re going back to the library a lot more. A LOT more.