“First, you will be quiet and patient while I pay our overdue fees at the counter.
Second, you will be quiet and patient while I go into the Grown Up section so I can pick out a movie for myself.
Then, IF and ONLY IF you are quiet and patient for those 2 things, we will go to the kid’s section for a book and a movie for each of you. Got it?”
[in unison] “Yeeeeees.”
All was (miraculously) going well.
I paid the late fees, checked out Mr T’s book & DVD, checked out Miss A’s book & DVD, popped it all in my bag, and went over to the computer to tell the kids it is time to head home.
Sitting at the game computer, she wasn’t ready to leave.
I reminded her of our deal, that she was doing a really good job of being a Good Listener. And it was time to go.
screamed in my face declined. Angry tears began.
I calmly (shockingly) told her that it was time to go, that other kids were waiting for their turn at the computer, and she had one chance to show me she could make The Right Decision. If she Made The Right Decision, she could hold her book & DVD in the car. If not? She loses the book.
She punched the library’s computer. Hard. In front of multiple witnesses.
I calmly (shockingly) said “That was not The Right Decision. Now I have to give the book back.”
I scooped her up with one arm as Mr. T followed behind me.
Full-fledged screaming (hers, not mine…yet) began.
I walked over to the counter and slipped her book into the RETURNS slot, not even 2 minutes after I checked it out in the first place.
The younger librarian looked at me and said, not unkindly, “Well, at least you almost made it this time…” as I dragged our trio out the door. This is not the first time (or the 2nd or the 3rd or the…well, you get it…) I’ve carried a screaming daughter out of the hushed library. I cannot believe we have yet to be Blacklisted.
stormed went to the car, Mr T quietly following orders to get in, buckle up.
Miss A was not quite as cooperative.
I had to quietly tell her that if she didn’t let me buckle her in, I was walking back into the library to return the DVD. “One…two…” She let go of the buckles.
Of course I happen to be driving Husband’s 2-door sedan, since my MIL wanted to borrow my truck, so this is all taking place while I’m ass-out leaning over the folded driver’s seat. I lean back out of the car to put my seat upright, thinking about how much I used to love going to the library every week with my mom, how disappointing it was to have this experience end up in tears yet again, and she starts trying to unbuckle herself.
While staring me straight in the eye.
My patience? Gone.
“You REALLY testing ME?? ME!!??! I’ll tell you THIS: you unbuckle even ONE of those buckles, I start pulling the new Jibbitz off your Crocs and throwing them in the street. Go ahead. TEST ME.”
At this, a minivan slows to a stop behind my car and the window rolls all the way down.
I can only imagine the driver looking up Social Services to report a screamy, horrible mom in the public library parking lot.
Miss A thinks about it, so I start “One…Two…” and she drops her hands, starts bawling.
So I start reminding her “Buckles keep you SAFE. You DO NOT mess with SAFETY. NEVER.” And climb into the car.
Miss A is sobbing again, whimpering intermittent “I WANT my MAX and RUby booooook…”
“You lost the book because you punched the library’s computer. The library is nice enough to let us borrow books and movies, we have to be nice to them back. Punching their stuff? Is NOT. NICE.”
“YOU’RE NOT MY FRIEND. ANY. MORE.”
“Fine with me. I don’t like spending time with people who punch.”
“NOT MY FRIEND!!!”
“Quit screaming NOW, or you lose the DVD, too.”
She continues to sob and repeat her desire for the stupid book, just a little less loudly.
“Mr T, why are YOU crying?”
“Mommy? [dramatic pause] You’re breaking Miss A’s HEART….” [sob choke wipes eyes]
As sweet as his sentiment was, I start wondering if the kid is completely frigging deaf.
“Buddy, I’m not breaking her heart. I took her book away because she PUNCHED THE COMPUTER.”
He audibly gasps. “We can’t punch computers!” Then immediately stops crying, upon understanding my reasoning for taking Miss A’s book away.
And so, my drive home was spent listening to Miss A’s indignent sobs, Mr T sniffling as he dries his own tears, and feeling way overdue for one simple frigging tantrun-free library visit.
Someone – anyone! – please tell me I’m not the only one who keeps having this kind of horrible experience when doing nice things for their kids. Please?
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