Library Performance

It’s been a very long week. I haven’t had a chance to ride and I’m really feeling it. It’s raining now, Robert is working on weekends and the children are all home from school. It feels a little draining, to say the least.

I wanted to do something with the kids today that was out of the rain and didn’t cost money. So we went to the library. I decided that I would deviate from our usual routine of heading directly for the children’s section and staying there. This time I was going to have a chance to pick something out for myself.

So we headed upstairs to the third floor which is really the second floor because it’s only one floor up from the main floor. You know those librarians, always trying to be extra careful with numbers, sometimes 3.1 isn’t near the other 3.1s because if you look carefully it really said 3.12 which is an entirely different section on the other side of the third (but really second) floor. I deviate. We headed up there because I wanted to get a book for myself, on parenting, mind you, so I could be a better parent, which required some guilt laden dialogue to achieve. It went something like:

“Mom, you’re looking at parenting books? Why?”
“Yeah, I’m looking at parenting books because from the way you guys act I’m obviously doing something wrong!”

At which point, a portly librarian wearing a florescent yellow button that read “Ask ME” interrupted me and said, “Is that your little girl?”
So I answered, “Yes, she’s mine. All of these kids are mine.”
“Oh, I love the way you talk to them.”

Ok, that freaked me out. Was this some kind of sick joke where she holds up the mirror so I can get the same dose of guilt venom I just passed onto these innocent little treasures? Or was she serious?

“Um….excuse me?” I asked.
“Oh, I just love the way you talk to your kids. I have these rabbits at home, and you know, it’s really been hard for me to find new ways to talk to them. Like this one little rabbit I have, she B-I-T-E-S and so I said to her, ‘Now, Bunny, don’t you do that. I don’t like it when you do that. No teeth or no more carrots, ok?’

Huge relief. H-U-G-E relief. She’s not some Dateline host hiding in the book aisles waiting to pounce on me for being a bad mother. The city just hires some eccentrics to re-shelf books and apparently my parenting may be useful for raising rabbits.

“Well, how did that work for you?” I asked politely.
“Not at all,” she admitted. “That’s why I liked how you were talking to your kids. Maybe I’ll try that with the rabbits. By the way, do you need any help?”

It took several attempts to convince her that I really didn’t need her help to locate the Baby Whisperer. I grabbed my book and we ran down to safety of the children’s section where all the parents are saying rude things to cajole their kids into “library voices”.

Aside from the library, we had a few other highlights this week. Elkin had her first performance last night. I’d post the video but I was in charge of filming and when the recital was over I pressed the button on the camera and the screen suddenly flashed REC. So, I’ll have to describe it to you. The curtains raised and all the little children had bells, except her. This did not surprise me since earlier she’d been offered bells at PCC parent ed and she had turned them down as if they were a torture device. So there she was, sans bells, in red, picking her nose on center stage. Some of the other children had various degrees of excitement, one was dancing up a storm, one was looking off-stage for his teacher. Elkin looked like she was at home. After the nose, she started to lift her dress. Thank God I had shorts on her. Then she took off her headband and tried to give it to one of the teachers who was in the audience wildly gesticulating the motions they were supposed to perform in time to the music. Finally Elkin must’ve seen one of us because she started waving enthusiastically. While the parents of children not yet on-stage were talking to each other or checking their cell phones, I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. It was a strange and boiling mass of emotions all over again. I had them eight years ago when my son was up there, then again with my daughter, and here again with Elkin. There’s some tremendous sense of pride that comes over me when I see my child stand on stage with other children and teachers and audiences pressuring them to perform and they still just stand there being themselves. They don’t have any inclination to be or pretend to be anything but who they are, nose picking, hand waving, dress lifting and all. There’s just something so wonderful about seeing them submerged in the lights and the music of the moment, as content as can be, alive.

So I guess parenting has it’s good and bad moments this week. Still, I think a nice trail ride once in a while would be nice. Very nice.

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