I used to take my four oldest kids to the library, and I don't remember so many embarrassing situations with them as I've had with these youngest four. I've been trying to decide what the difference is. Am I somehow doing something different? Have I not taught these four as well? Am I expecting to do more of my own stuff there so I'm not supervising them as well? Have I let them have too much freedom? Or is it because there are two boys in this mix, and one girl who has grown up with boys.
I don't know. I just know that half of our recent visits have ended up with my 2 year old throwing puppets at other kids in the children's section. I think he's trying to play with them, but no one appreciates his tactics. The other half have ended with me hauling the 2 year old out screaming. And then there are the visits where I've let the 5 and 7 year old kids use the children's computer and the 5 year old ends up whining LOUDLY because the 7 yo isn't sharing well. Can you see me blushing from your side of the computer screen?
We've been going more than once a week while waiting for older siblings to finish up in Bible studies, since we live 10 miles out of town and it doesn't make sense to drive in, drive home, and then turn around and drive back in half an hour later. We also have been hanging out there on some hot afternoons just to get out of our non-air conditioned house. These frequent trips just mean that the bad experiences are piling up in my memory rather fast. They're fresh, and each new experience just pours salt in the wound the past visits have made on my pride.
And then there is Wal-mart. Wal-mart works well if I have the youngest three. I put them in the cart, and we keep moving. As long as I talk with them about what I'm doing, and keep moving, it goes well. But as soon as someone is OUT of the cart, like when I have my 7 year old along, I lose control. When one child is out, the younger ones want out. When any of them are out, they start grabbing at stuff, asking for stuff, and even running away (if they're 2 years old.) When the older four kids are also along, they tend to disappear. They can do that. If Mom tried to hide, someone would call the authorities. Or the little ones would find me with their Mommy-radar.
I'm starting to feel as if the librarians and the Wal-mart cashiers are going to start locking the doors when we show up. We've been known to ban our kids from Wal-mart over the years, but if I ban them from the library then I have nothing to do when we're waiting on teens who are at Bible Study except go to the park. The park. I do NOT want to go to the park with all the little kids by myself, especially when it's hot. I'm just not that good of a mom.
Which means, I get to keep going to the library, pouring salt on my wounded pride, and continuing to work on teaching them PROPER behavior. Hopefully, maybe, I'm making progress. Our last visit wasn't so bad. I guess. We only had the whining 5 yo issue. The 2 yo didn't throw anything, not even a temper tantrum. Whew! Now if the 7 yo could just SHARE the computer with the 5 yo, my wounded pride might have a chance to heal a little.
I've never been very fond of salt, especially not in this form. But I suppose it's helping me learn patience, and humility.
Not-so-perfect Mom of 8 Not-so-perfect Kids,