Lots of things change when you have a child. For example, when my son was an infant, I watched Breaking Bad and The Office during night time feedings from 1:00 am until 3:00 am instead of the regular, prime time slots. As my son grew, I had to make new decisions about going grocery shopping. Did I want to visit the grocery store with the child-size cart he likes to push around, the grocery store with the plastic car cart he prefers to ride in, or the grocery store with the toy train that runs around the ceiling and must be watched for at least five minutes?
I realized that my weekly trips to the public library have also changed.
My visit to the library (without my son):
4:00 – Arrive at the library.
4:05 – Visit the hold shelf and collect my books.
4:08 – Peruse the new releases.
4:12 – Look up and find a specific book.
4:15 – Use the self checkout to check out books.
4:15 – Leave the library and drive home while resisting the urge to read new library books at every red light.
My four-year-old son’s visit to the library*:
4:00 – Arrive at the library. Pull Mom through the parking lot. Way too excited to check out new books.
4:03 – Pull on Mom’s tote bag while Mom visits the hold shelf to collect grown-up books. Still very excited to check out new books!
4:05 – Enter the children’s section of the library. First stop, the small playhouse where there is a toy kitchen and baskets full of puppets. Rifle through each basket until a very specific, faded, pink piggy puppet is found. Proceed to carry piggy puppet throughout the library.
4:15 – Pick out 10 books about cars, 10 books about trains, 10 books about Christmas (even though it is July), and 10 books about frogs/alligators/turtles/dinosaurs. Throw in a Pete the Cat book, an Arthur book, and a Gerald and Piggy book. Weigh down Mom’s tote bag until she claims that she can’t carry any more. Pick out a Richard Scarry book.
4:30 – Convince mom to get one more book. Find favorite library book: Car Goes Far. Mom reminds me that we check this book out every other week and must be the only family keeping this book in circulation.
4:37 – Lose piggy puppet. Back to the vehicle book shelf to find the piggy puppet. Another child has the piggy puppet. Go back to the playhouse. Get a replacement puppet, preferably something else pink and fuzzy. Trade with the other child for the piggy puppet.
4:45 – Browse the CD section. Play off of mom’s nostalgia and take out all Raffi and Sharon, Lois, and Bram CD’s to listen to in the car. Feel victorious! Mom is caught in a net of nostalgia and is suffering from momentary amnesia, does not remember banning kids’ songs from car rides.
4:50 – An iPad is open!!! Sit in a comfy chair, place piggy puppet on lap, and pull up the Duplo train game. Play train game until mom claims that another child is waiting for the iPad. Glance around furtively and consider protesting/starting a new game that involves slicing fruit like a ninja! Remember tote full of new books! Abandon iPad.
5:05 – Step up to the self checkout. “Help” mom check out all new books. Disregard her complaint that I am literally the “middle man,” whatever that means.
5:10 – Return beloved piggy puppet to the puppet basket. Good-bye old friend. We shall meet again soon.
5:15 – Hold Mom’s hand in the parking lot. Beam while thinking about reading The Best Lowly Worm Book Ever in the backseat while listening to “The Elephant Song.”
*In no way am I complaining about all that the library has to offer. These are just some observations from a library loving mom whose library tote was much lighter and whose library visits were much shorter and less complicated before having a child. May his library love continue to flourish!