Patience and Pitfalls

I keep telling myself that I need to write about something other than parenting, and it’d be nice if maybe I stayed away from a list of bullet points once in awhile, but then I had to go and do something like visit the library today. And frankly, I need to get some laundry finished before the girls wake up, so sorry, kids. You’re stuck with another list. I’ll keep it short.

A note about the children’s programs at our local library: God bless the public library system and all, but these sessions make me want to tear my hair out. Saoirse has loved them since she was five months old, and now it seems that Quinn’s as big a fan, which means that it looks like I’m stuck  singing “You gotta shake, shake, shake the sillies out” for awhile longer, here. But there’s just something about these weekly half-hours that make me want to weep. Maybe it’s because the routine hasn’t changed in three years. Or maybe because I’m just not that good an actor, so I’m terrible at forcing myself to smile and “awwww” when someone else’s two-year-old is trying to braid my hair. And leave my keys alone, kid. Go back to your own mom.

I looked around this morning at the raging mass of toddlerhood in that children’s room and realized that at the very least, I’ve picked up a few pointers from all these mornings at the library. So to the people we join every week, some thoughts:

  • It’s really sweet that you give your grandchild enough freedom to explore the room and learn at her own pace. But when she gets into another baby’s face and tries to steal his bottle of formula–while the other baby is drinking it–it might be time to stop snapping pictures of her and maybe reign her in. She’s cute and all, but those pictures might be evidence one day.
  • To the librarian, please don’t insist on giving the boys blue and red “shakey” eggs and only pink and pastel purple ones to the girls. This makes my blood boil. And my kid likes blue.
  • But also to the librarian, thank you for always remembering my children’s names–and how to pronounce them correctly. This makes them feel special, and makes me want to hug you. When you’re not forcing princess colors on them, that is.
  • It’s really neat to see how the kids’ faces light up when they “catch” their parents/grandparents/nannies watching them. To see them smile when they catch your eye? That is just so, so cool.
  • And the more I think about it, Saoirse used to love to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle”–hand gestures and all–every night before bed. So maybe there is something to this whole repetition thing. But still. Three years with no change at all? No wonder we just started going again.

I remember sitting in a session with SK one week–she was about 11 months old, and I’d just turned down a teaching gig I was supposed to start at a local college. It was a rough time for me, deciding to turn down a job that could’ve turned into something really awesome down the road, but David and I loved having a parent at home, and he’d just gotten a position in his company that meant we could swing doing the one-income thing. And then came the Monday morning baby program at the library. I sat there, cross-legged, exchanging small-talk with the other moms: “Oh, no, she’s not walking yet. Oh, your son is running relay races and taking trapeze lessons? And he’s only 14 months? Wow, that’s great!” Saoirse was chewing on my wallet, while I pantomimed “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” like a fool, rolling my eyes all the while. And I thought, really? This is it?

But yeah, it is it. Flash forward two years, and I’m in that same. exact. program (have I mentioned that nothing’s changed?), now with one daughter patiently paging through the books she just checked out (Clifford. It’s always Clifford) while the other crawls around the rug, trying to kiss other babies on the nose and clapping along to that danged ravioli song. And they’re happy. So I vow to patiently sit there and smile while a 2-year-old tears across the room with my cell phone in hand, because that’s my job. And besides–sometimes that little girl does a nice job with my hair.


  1. This One’s for You, Amy « One Vignette | 28th Sep 11

    […] part-time college work (you can see how much I wanted that job here: Straddling the Line and here: Patience and Pitfalls.  Just in case you don’t feel like going back to your work/laundry/family just yet). I was […]

  2. stephanieandersonwitmer | 17th May 11

    Leah, I loved this post! I’m looking forward to exploring more of your blog! All the best to you and your family.

    — Stephanie

    • Leah | 17th May 11

      Stephanie, thank you! I’m loving yours–the way you describe life with your son cracks me up (he’s a cutie, by the way). Take care!

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