2006-02-04 - 12:06 p.m.
I've been too busy to write and need to take a nap after working last night. I have a social function to go to at 3pm today as well! YAH My friend a mom I met at Weigmans who has three little girls is having a Costume Jewelry Party (similar to a tupperware party). I haven't any $ to buy but am going anyway to enjoy the companionship and time with other women for a change!
Last Tue I took the girls to THEIR MEETING with the Children's librarian. And after I sat down with them the librarian said "I'll be right back" and then she indeed came right back WITH THE EVIL LIBRARIAN WHO HAD BEEN SO JUDGEMENTAL AND OBNOXIOUS IN HER OVERT CRITICISM OF ME A FEW WEEKS BACK! SHe was the one who came over condemning "Are you going to just ignore your child screaming?"
I really lost it when she came in the room and sat dowm. OR one could say I didn't lose it- but was really sharp! I was LIVID to be surreptitiously brought into a meeting that was clearly not intended to be about STORY HOUR behavior at all, but the agenda of which was REALLY the assumption of that librarian that I do not supervise my wild children!
(The dim wit who has never figured out the screams were a result of me setting a limit with Alexy and NOT ALLLOWING her to run up and down the ramp as if it were a park! )
So I immediately said "IT's YOU!" and then " I think I understand the REAL agenda of this meeting, so why don't we just forget the ostensible one and talk about what you really want to address." I then turned to the children't librarian and said "In fact I don't think you even need to be here. This is really about HER belief that I am an inadeqate parent and her belief that she has some expertise at parenting that she would like to share with me."
She then said something to the effect that she did have concerns about appropriate behavior in the library of children. I said something about the fact we had one bad day which was in part caused by the librarians themselves shuffling me from one area off the computer and encouraging me to go to the childrens area and went into a brief telling of the story of the trouble of machines SAVING personal info etc... and she said "That;s why I came up to ask if I could help you with anything"
I love the way she tried to charcterize her interaction as having "offered to help" She DID SAY those words that day, but only long after she had been judgemental and I had responded to her emotionalism of the moment by asking if SHE WAS OK etc... and only THEN did she ask if she could help with anything.
What strikes me about all of this is that a PROFESSIONAL LIBRARIAN would have simply just come over and said "IF your child continues to be this loud I am going to have to ask you to leave."
THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROPRIATE! SHE HOWEVER WAS NOT DIRECT AND DID NOT EVER SAY THAT! SHe instead flung insulting questions and comments saying "It's disturbing to see you ignore her screams"
ITS CALLED FUCKING PLANNED INGNORING THAT RESULTS IN EXTINCTION OF UNDESIRED BEHAVIOR OF TODDLERS YES IT WOULD BE DISTURBING TO SEE PLANNED IGNORING OF an infant-- BUT SIXTEEN MONTHS OLD IS NOT AN INFANT!!! AND AT THAT AGE IT REALLY WORKS TO IGNORE THE SCREAM AND GENTLY REMIND TO speak appropriately, and to remind that if she screams we will then have to leave!
(but in that case ALEXY WANTED TO LEAVE) So in that case I did tell her to try to be patient and that we would be going soon, but I didn't STOP the few moments it took to do my thing of getting onto E-bay to upload the pictures of the radio I was selling. THERE WERE NO OTHER PATRONS NEAR US WHEN SHE SCREECHED! ONLY THE LIBRARIAN!
AND I DID STOP HER FROM RUNNING AND GIGGLING ON THE RAMP-- THUS SCREAMS INCREASED (AND THEN IGNORED THEM AS THEY WERE SO CLEARLY ATTENTION SEEKING!)
I think the SECRET to being a REALLY GREAT PARENT is to NOT BE EMBARASSED TO BE CONSISTENT IN APPROACHING BEHAVIOR EVEN WHEN IN PUBLIC! I Think the secret is to NOT BE EMBARASSED BY YOUR KID's MISBEHAVIOR!
The problem is most parents ARE EMBARASSED so they actually give attention or bride or do whatever it takes to not have the negative behavior- and I think then they have really happy and seemingly compliant toddlers-- but in a few years they have spoiled older kids who ARE MUCH HARDER TO MANAGE!
But I digress....
So the children's librarian says "Lets stick to our meeting about story hour" and I said "OK" and sat down with the girls in a chair and Raitlin on my knee.
I was SO ANGRY THOUGH. So when the librarian said to Raitlin that she has to sit and listen during story hour and not touch any of the other kids, and Raitlin LISTENED TO HER and then responded with the question "I can't tickle the girl?"
It indicated to ME that Raitlin WAS ENGAGED, and GOT IT as she RECALLED that she attempted to tickle the girl next to her and I re-directed her not to .
So when the next thing the librarian said was "Raitlin, no talking. You need to just listen to me so I can tell you the rules for story hour"
I then burst out with
"Raitlin, you are listening VERY WELL, so well that you indeed tried to CLARIFY and gave an EXAMPLE of the behavior you can't do. YES YOU ARE CORRECT THAT YOU CAN NOT TICKLE THE GIRL NEXT TO YOU. I think its GREAT YOU REMEMBERED THAT YOU DID THAT AND THAT YOU RECALL YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO DO THAT IN THE FUTURE. But RAITLIN, when here, the librarian wants you to LISTEN WITHOUT RESPONDING. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK TO HER TO REPEAT WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHAT YOU THINK IN RESPONSE TO WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD. YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO THINK THOSE THINGS IN YOUR HEAD AND JUST LISTEN TO WHAT SHE HAS TO SAY."
I was so utterly angry and realized that I WAS DOING JUST WHAT Raitlin DOES! ANd I was annoyed thinking THAT IS WHAT PRESCHOOL TEACHERS WANT! THEY WANT CHILDREN TO BE ENGAGED AND RESPONSIVE!!!
I was also thinking "I AM TOO DAMN ANGRY TO BE HERE RIGHT NOW." and "THIS IS THE KIDS MEETING--- I am going to let the librarians have their meeting with the girls as requested!
AND I GOT UP AND LEFT THE ROOM TO BRING ALEXY Who was starting to fuss out to play with the puzzles and board books happily in the area adjacent to the room AND TO WATCH THE OLDER TWO MEET WITH THE LIBRARIANS THROUGH THE CRACK IN THE DOOR!
I thought that was INDEED A BRILLAINT MOVE. IT refocused the meeting BACK to the one FOR THE GIRLS ABOUT EXPECTED STORYTIME BEHAVIOR
and I VERY INTENTIONALLY did the VERY THING THAT I KNOW THIS IS ALL REALLY ABOUT, knowing that it is REALLY CLEAR to THE REST OF THE WORLD that it IS NOT INAPPROPRIATE TO LEAVE A THREE AND FOUR YEAR OLD IN A STORY HOUR WHILE WATCHING FROM THE DOOR!!!
In fact the other surrounding areas have advertised story hours for that age WITHOUT A PARENT !! THEY DON"T WANT THE DISTRACTION OF THE PARENTS WHO TEND TO MAKE THE KIDS HAVE A HARDER TIME BEHAVING AS THEY SEEK THE PARENT'S ATTENTION! MY KIDS IN FACT ALWAYS DO BETTER AFTER I LEAVE THE ROOM!! (NOT atypical! The reason most schools ask parents not to just barge it!)
So then they come out and Katie hops in the potty dance and says "I've got to go!" and I say "Don't wait -Go" and she runs to the bathroom right in the hall THAT I CAN SEE THE ONLY DOOR TO as its not far - and opposite the doors to the children's room. AND then the librarians point out that is exactly their concern
As I assured them that it seems prudent to me NOT TO ALLOW my four year old to PEE on their floor by allowing her to go to the bathroom while I then interrupt all her siblings and protestingly bring them along to join her AS SOON AS POSSIBLE- AS I THEN DID. But before I did so I pointed out exactly where each of my children were and commented "So that's the real issue! Is this too long of a leash for your comfort? Is that the REAL problem in your opinion?"
At that point they said something like if we continued to be a disruption they would have to tell us we could not attend story hour. I told them they had better check with their lawyers, if they haven't done so already before doing so.
At that point they decided it best to not continue the conversation so I finshed gathering up the protesting children to accompany their peeing sister.
I had pointed out exactly where each of my children were and that they were all within my sight and supervision, with the exception of the toddler who had jsut run to the bathroom-- but that I would join her with the others. I also assured them that indeed if anyone did try to be inappropriate with my four year old I could in fact HEAR HER from outside the door and she is a loud vocal kid so it wasn't likely anyone would get far in any attempt to mistreat her.
When they commented on their belief of not adeqately supervising my children (who were all busy independently focused on their own thing: Sadie on a computer with a Blues Clues reading game appropriate for a 5 year old, the 3 year old Raitlin intently working on the puzzles she loves, and the 165 month old contently coloring as I set her up at the table where she LOVES to color by herself, I asked "So it that the REAL issue? Is this too long of a leash for your comfort? "
They said nothing at that comment and it was then that I gathered the kids up to head to the libary after the one last comment that they had better check with their lawyer before trying to kick us out of the library.
But THEN today I GOT A LETTER from them!
They in fact are attempting to restrict us from attending the STORY HOUR claiming that "we have concluded that our story program is not the right program for you and your families needs"
WELL I HAVE CONCLUDED that they in fact have no substatiated complaints OF ACTUAL VIOLATIONS of their user policy. AND that WE HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY BEEN SO DISRUPTIVE THAT WARRANTED A LIBRARIAN EVER ASKINg US TO LEAVE. If we WERE SO POORLY Behaved that seems to me to be a preformance issue to take up with the LIBRARIANS such that they act more professional in the future. PERHAPS they COULD in fact do that rather than engage in criticism of my parenting-- but I think the fact they HAVEN'T is due to THE FACT that NO ONE WAS EVER DISRUPTED!!
So I am in the process of EDITING to get an end product of a concise to the point letter limited to the discussion of the facts stated above: THAT WE HAVE NEVER VIOLATED POLICY and that in my assessment "your library story hour is in fact one that meets our family needs. It is in fact the domain of parents to decide which public events to attend so we are continuing to choose to attend yours since we choose to buy a house based SOLELY on its close proximity to your library!
More editing to go... as there were ALOT of other extraneus issues I have to cut out! But the writing was good and theraputic.
OH- and we have another library event we intend to all regulrarly go to as a family: that being the BOARD OF TRUSTEES MONTHLY MEETING. It will be a great opportunity to teach my children a lesson in civics.
They haven't atttempted to limit my use of the whole library- just the story hour. That however is something I intend to ignore. I in fact called to register Katie and Sadie for a SPECIAL story hour event (which is in fact DIFFERENT from the one we regularly attended) and I think that based on their attempt that this is a DIFFERENT event and they won't attempt to restrict our acces to that. Its THU morn so we'll see. But even if the DO ATTEMPT to restrict access, I fully intend to show up. I mean- really, are they going to call the police and literally kick us out if my three year old is not perfect AND ACTS THREE!!
The local media would just have a FIELD DAY with that!
I also enjoyed JUST ASKING other mom's at the jewelry party if they go there for story hour. I LISTENED as I heard A FEW COMPLAIN how they went a few times but found the librarian there to be unfriendly and infexible. One said "You can tell she is really uptight even by the way she dresses."
I thought it interesting to hear other mothers with comments. I then told my one friend my story and she said "YOu HAVE TO TALK TO MY SISTER IN LAW! SHE HATES THAT LIBRARY AND REFUSES TO GO BACK"
So it IS NOT JUST ME. There is indeed a NATURAL selection ofparents choosing environments they are comfortable in. THat is just fine. BECAUSE I CHOOSE TO ATTEND THIS STORY HOUR DUE TO PROXIMITY despite the fact that all the other parents who choose this one happen TO LIKE the inflexible structure and are those that believe in correcting their only child AT EVERY TRANSGRESSION and thus get PERFECT CHILDREN and are uncomfortable WITH LARGE FAMILIES WHERE YOU HAVE TO LET SOME STUFF SLIDE TO MEET EVERYONE's needs REALLY SHOULD BE MY CHOICE, and both the other anal retentive parents and the like minded libaraian can just learn to deal.
It really is THE FIRST LIBRARY where other parents HAVE NOT offered to keep an eye on kids when I need to pull one from the activity to reinforce good behavior, and in fact it is the FIRST library where ALL THE OTHER PARENTS seems to have only one kid!
That NATURAL weed out process drove all the OTHER parents away. I know where they go and I have enjoyed those library story hours MORE, however its not so simple for me to just let go of this issue and attend other librarys. This one is the only one that offers the story hour AT THE SAME TIME that KATIE is in her morning preK classes so that I can go for Raitlin's benefit with one less sibling in tow. This is the only one CLOSE enough for me to drive to and fro a program and BE ON TIME to pick up KAtie when she is done.
So despite the issues, it really is worth the fight for me to try to maintain our RIGHT to attend this particular program!
I hope they are not surprised by the ensuing battle. Westley is in fact supportive of fighting this if I choose, or of just letting go of it and enjoying THE OTHER amenities of the library. But he thinks based on the taxes he pays to BOTH the town and village we live in, that there indeed is a REAL ISSUE that could be made and he will be happy to support me in doing so.