A couple of weeks ago, I meant to go to toddler time at the library, in spite of the parenting fears associated with it. The last and only time we went before? Yeah, I spent hours at the hospital due to a toddler injury. I felt like a bad parent and didn’t want to ever, ever experience that again. But still, I got us ready and was determined to suck it up… only to have the husband not show up to drag us out the door.
But on Wednesday, I got brave. I was determined to face my parenting fears and face down toddler time at the library once more.
It would only be thirty minutes. We would not stay a second past story time. I would bring Norton’s toddler leash with us to prevent any form of trying to run through the library like a little screaming savage. We could handle it. Right?So, with great trepidation, I drove us to the library and parked. When we got to the library, toddler time wasn’t being held in its usual location. Instead, it was in the stacks in the children’s section. I was a little nervous, but tried to convince myself that I had all the required tools. We had a full sippy cup. We had extra milk in a thermos to refill the sippy cup when he drained it. Everything would work out.
In spite of Norton’s lack of interest in sitting close where I can kind of wrangle him. In spite of his complete and utter lack of verbal skills. It would still be okay.
At least, that’s what I tried to tell myself.
We sat in the back of the half circle so that I could beat a hasty retreat if necessary. Before story time started, I grabbed a little book about a girl who was fantasizing about having a day at the library reserved for just the animals to come visit. (It was within reach of where we were sitting and Norton was actually willingly sitting in my lap.) He sat still and actually kind of paid attention to what I was reading him.
This is the first time that Norton has ever been interested in any sort of book.
We got a little over half way through the book when story time started.
For the most part, Norton stayed in my lap. He wasn’t exactly 100% engaged in story time; some of the time was spent playing with the clips on the Pooh harness. That went okay until he pinched a finger on the clips and screamed like he was being murdered. That was about 20 minutes in. And then he decided to take off and run into the middle of story circle. I stood up to get him and slowly approached, hoping that he wouldn’t cry, fling himself to the floor, or any other normal toddler behaviors that are mortifying in spite of the normality of the act. Instead of doing those things, he smiled at me and ran over to me. I scooped him up and we sat.
The last ten minutes had me constantly looking at my watch and hoping, hoping, hoping that we could hold it together. I was relieved at the end of story time. We survived. There was only one crying fit. No one was going to the hospital. It was already a thousand times better than the previous attempt at toddler time.
And here’s hoping that when we go again this week, it’ll be even less stressful still… and that Norton will be even more engaged. As for me, it was rather nice to actually go somewhere alone with Norton without leaving with my parenting self-esteem in the toilet. It wasn’t exactly fun for me, but it wasn’t torture, either. But maybe it will eventually become fun.