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Update Below – Victory is Mine! But I got hit with Bertie the Bus & need your help.

If you take books or movies out of the library, you have to return them at a certain time. If you return them late, you will have to pay a fine. $.10 per day for books and $1.00 per day for movies.

How you feel about the fine is unimportant to the librarian and to the person behind you in line, with multiple children in tow and a school bus to meet – also to the elderly gentlemen behind her who is holding a large number of books and the three of four people behind him who are sighing loudly.

If you drive to the library after it closes on the day your books are due and put them into the drop off slot, they will be late.

If you see the book on the shelves of the library, that means
a. you returned them late – see above
b. the library has multiple copies of the same book

It is wise not to swear you have no library books or movies at home. It is possible you are wrong. It’s happened before.

Yes, $1.00 a day, per DVD is a steep fine, you know compared to the book fine. However, everything else here at the library is free. See above regarding your feelings about fines. Also, the signs are posted about the fees and the librarians always mention it.

Librarians are not out to get your money. I promise.

Probably, if the librarians computer says your returned it late, you did. Maybe that’s not the case, but probably not. Talking about it longer, won’t help.

The librarian is being as patient as she can. Telling her it is not “personal” while you are being a nuisance and holding up the waterworks at her job, doesn’t actual make her feel less frustrated.

You owe $1.80.

She is telling you that you can pay next time. You can still check out books today. She is very, very nice.

Also, it is $1.80. I am just about to pay it.

I also am being as patient as I can. I do this by writing this blog post. Also by thanking my stars that I, for once, am not the mother wrangling children in line. I am alone. However, I am losing patience, because I have a rare 2 1/2 hours to myself, and I want to garden, like, now. Also, I have to pee.

Oh, we all understand now. You don’t like to have outstanding debts. That clears it up. The rest of us love library fines. That is why we come here.

You do have the money with you. You need change. It is understandable. Yes, they make change here, because people, in general, pay their fines.

Organize Your Life.

The Woman’s Guide To Frugality.

The titles of the books you have returned. So far, so good, if you consider it a good use of 20 minutes to plague a librarian to death about $1.80 in library fines. Also, if you don’t care about anyone else’s life. Cool.

P.S You can renew books over the phone or on-line. So, um, if you are late (See Above regarding lateness), you can either renew the books and movies or just, you know, pay the fine. See above.

30 minutes of my life gone. And my library has yet to acquire the second season of Weeds, but is $1.80 closer to doing so, I hope!

Disclaimer: I return things late occasionally just like almost everyone else. It’s just that I apologize or pay the fine, because well, I was late (See Above).

*******
UPDATE

Dear Reader, the happy ending must be told. Victory is mine. I returned to the library 5 days later & WEEDS Season 2 was in the stacks, waiting for me. It was worth every second of waiting in line and I am super impressed with my public libraries psychic powers (or maybe they read my blog?) Additionally, it consoled me after both Henry and I were smacked with a toy train by a tallish 4-5 year old playing at the train table – smacked hard enough that he still has a mark on his chest & my knee still hurts 2 days later. I love/hate the library.

Also, please comment. I asked for an apology from the caregivers of this boy (mom did not look me in the eye, grandfather swooped him up for his naughtiness and took him home.) Woman across from me looked at me and said, ” Well, you can’t tell people how to parent,” which is true, but this was not about parenting. Both my kid and I got whacked at the PUBLIC library. What would you have done? Does this happen in your community? Do you address it, ignore it?
At the time it happened, neither caregiver was in sight -they came running over- give me your stories. I need to know, cause stuff like this happens all the time here & it is making me crazy! I truly don’t know how to handle it & how to explain it to my kids.

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I sink into the hot water of my bath, hoping to reach a moment of relaxation in the midst of motherhood. It is 10am. The children are fed, dressed & playing. In the background I hear the noises of boys. Their noises grow louder & I sink further into the water to drown it out, then my eye pop wide & I rush out to quiet him. It was nothing, I discover, while cold & wet – a toy squabble, that disappeared as soon as it erupted.

Mid morning at our house, the children either reach play equilibrium or existential crisis. If crisis, I throw on jeans and a sweater and we venture out into world to see if the library, the park or the YMCA will cure our ails. If equilibrium is established, I say a quick thank you to Jesus and exit stage left for a shower, or a bath & spend the day doing the things I do when at home (blogging, laundry,Facebook, dishes, cooking a proper meal for once…)

The morning hot bath is a small sanctuary of my day. I have long since learned to ignore the noises of boys at play & boys squabbling over toys, the noises that require no immediate attention for me, the noises I might choose to address if fully dressed and dry, but that I can pretend to have not heard while in the bath.

That small gift is gone. While sinking deeper into my hot tub, the loudness of him reached my ears & for the first time, I wondered, what if some one else hears him & decides for themselves what it means. What if we get a second visit from social services? Surely, that could not possibly go well.

And then I was wrecked and angry all over again. Angry at my child, for unknowingly putting me at risk, at myself for being unreasonably angry at him, angry at his condition and how easy it is to overlook, but how hard to live with, angry at the principal who instead of calling me back, called social services – and who still has not called me.

I dress & go downstairs. I find myself hushing him more than parenting him. I am watching my own back, rather than addressing the source of all the noise. I am fearful, as a parent, vulnerable. At night, I dream of people breaking into our apartment. I call the social worker who visited us & ask her if she called the school. She said that she had & had been assured that someone had called me, the principal or the school psychologist. But no one has.

“I’m glad they called me and not the state. This ends here. If they had called the state, it wouldn’t.” She says this matter-of-factly, as if it is to be some comfort to me.

I shudder to think that at another time, someone might call the state instead. I hush my kids. I shudder to think that one shriek could bring down what is starting to feel like a house of cards. I hush my kids at they squabble over a train. Maybe no one will see us if we are quiet enough.

Is this making me a better parent? Thanks for your concern, oh teachers who came to the back fence, you are really helping my child, now that you have made me afraid of disciplining him. Things are looking up, for sure. All he needs is to be given his way all the time. People love it when kids with learning differences are given their way all the time…when he comes to your school next year for Kindergarten, I’m sure you will love it too. Be sure to thank me.

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I sink into the hot water of my bath, hoping to reach a moment of relaxation in the midst of motherhood. It is 10am. The children are fed, dressed & playing. In the background I hear the noises of boys. Their noises grow louder & I sink further into the water to drown it out, then my eye pop wide & I rush out to quiet him. It was nothing, I discover, while cold & wet – a toy squabble, that disappeared as soon as it erupted.

Mid morning at our house, the children either reach play equilibrium or existential crisis. If crisis, I throw on jeans and a sweater and we venture out into world to see if the library, the park or the YMCA will cure our ails. If equilibrium is established, I say a quick thank you to Jesus and exit stage left for a shower, or a bath & spend the day doing the things I do when at home (blogging, laundry,Facebook, dishes, cooking a proper meal for once…)

The morning hot bath is a small sanctuary of my day. I have long since learned to ignore the noises of boys at play & boys squabbling over toys, the noises that require no immediate attention for me, the noises I might choose to address if fully dressed and dry, but that I can pretend to have not heard while in the bath.

That small gift is gone. While sinking deeper into my hot tub, the loudness of him reached my ears & for the first time, I wondered, what if some one else hears him & decides for themselves what it means. What if we get a second visit from social services? Surely, that could not possibly go well.

And then I was wrecked and angry all over again. Angry at my child, for unknowingly putting me at risk, at myself for being unreasonably angry at him, angry at his condition and how easy it is to overlook, but how hard to live with, angry at the principal who instead of calling me back, called social services – and who still has not called me.

I dress & go downstairs. I find myself hushing him more than parenting him. I am watching my own back, rather than addressing the source of all the noise. I am fearful, as a parent, vulnerable. At night, I dream of people breaking into our apartment. I call the social worker who visited us & ask her if she called the school. She said that she had & had been assured that someone had called me, the principal or the school psychologist. But no one has.

“I’m glad they called me and not the state. This ends here. If they had called the state, it wouldn’t.” She says this matter-of-factly, as if it is to be some comfort to me.

I shudder to think that at another time, someone might call the state instead. I hush my kids. I shudder to think that one shriek could bring down what is starting to feel like a house of cards. I hush my kids at they squabble over a train. Maybe no one will see us if we are quiet enough.

Is this making me a better parent? Thanks for your concern, oh teachers who came to the back fence, you are really helping my child, now that you have made me afraid of disciplining him. Things are looking up, for sure. All he needs is to be given his way all the time. People love it when kids with learning differences are given their way all the time…when he comes to your school next year for Kindergarten, I’m sure you will love it too. Be sure to thank me.

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I just wanted to follow up on this post because it truly is so lovely here with tall trees, green grass and a newly shored up brook on the property. Wildlife in all its forms finds a home here. We arrived home on Sunday and since then have seen two deer, a fox and entire flock of wild turkeys. I have every confidence that our juvenile hawks are still around and I don’t even count butterflies, dragonflies, squirrels, chipmunks or other types of birds which are ubiquitous.

This afternoon as I avoided housework with the deck door open the usual chorus of birds and squirrels reached a cacophony, which can only mean that the wild turkeys are present. I always like to see them. They are still a bit of a novelty to me. Hedging their way behind the swing set were mother, father and 5 medium sized hatchlings all diligently eating dandelion greens and bugs. They saw me on the deck and I heard some squawks in trees. I stood quite still and the two hatchlings I had startled into the woods came swooping down to join their siblings. Three minutes later the very last hatchling silently and slowly walked across the lawn to join the family, totally 10 including tow parents puffing out their chests and staring at me as their young crossed my path. Silently and stealthily (only not that stealthily because they are brown in midsummer on the lawn) they circled the house, past the veggies, crossed the road, to a lawn with fewer dandelion greens. I hope they will be back. I feel certain of it.

The rest of the birds are still quiet and I sit here with a small set of butterflies in my stomach not entirely sure whose ground this is. Not mine.

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Dear Universe,
I guess this is really more of a comment, for I have ceased asking why questions of you. The incessant whys of my children have inoculated me against reasons. So my comment – slash – question is really this:

Tomorrow I am buying a minivan. In the last three days my Subaru has nearly been aggressively smashed into twice in parking lots with me driving about 5 miles per hour. Here’s my thing you need to know, we are not getting rid of the Subaru. It is a good car. We like it. Matt will drive it and treat it well, we just can’t fit all three kids with their various car seats and shoulders into the wagon at this time. We still want the Subaru. Don’t kill it with your powers of unleashing bad drivers all over Connecticut.

As an additional comment – slash – follow-up question: We don’t want the Saturn, but please don’t kill it either. Just let us sell it to a college student and we’ll use the money to buy new tires, okay? please okay with sugar on top? I’m not even asking you why (oh why?, oh why?) this has been happening as I go about my business of, you know, going to the store for food and such and try to keep my heart beating in some what regular rhythm.

Karen

Additional note to mother of three in grocery store,
Dear other mommy of three adorable children,
Sorry. I do not as a rule let them have pacifiers at the grocery store. In general, we leave them in our beds, or at least in our own rooms for quiet play. And I know, they aren’t babies they are two and four, and yes, four years old is quite old for a pacifier. I totally agree with your three year old on that one, but I didn’t really want to take the time to explain Sensory Processing Disorder today, because I had to rush home to meet Thinker’s bus. Therefore, I ignored you – well, really your three year old. I heard her shouting, “Why they have passies, they not babies. Why mom? They cannot have those passies. Are they babies?” I realized you probably made her give hers up when your little 5 month old was born and yes, you are a better mother for it. You rock. I didn’t make eye contact when you said “maybe they are teething,” instead I got some popsicles from the case, but you were right, the two year old is teething pretty bad right now. And normally, they’d be nothing but we’d been to the doctor and LP has 4 vaccinations and a blood test. If I’d explained SPD you’d know how bad this day was for us and you’d have maybe asked your three year old to, you know, stop yelling at my kids. “You’re not babies, you can’t have those, give them back. maybe I teething too, huh?” Fortunately for all of us, my kids were distracted by the popsicles, so they didn’t notice the threats to their passies and their manhood.

So, again, I’m sorry. My slacker behavior opened a big can of why between you and your kid. However, I didn’t take it personally. We all have different rules and standards -and I was even bending my own today – and it is hard to know what to tell your kids when they observe that. I certainly struggle at the playground when some parents choose to let their kids climb up slides. Still we all survive. There is one tool I felt you had at your disposal that you didn’t use. I’m not criticizing, mind you. It just could have saved the both of us some maternal embarrassment (you felt too, huh?) We were at the store, which last I checked is inside. I think you were maybe distracted by the pacifiers, so I’ll just say those two little words for you should we all meet again with passies.
indoor voice

yours in the motherhood,
Karen

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Dear Universe,
I guess this is really more of a comment, for I have ceased asking why questions of you. The incessant whys of my children have inoculated me against reasons. So my comment – slash – question is really this:

Tomorrow I am buying a minivan. In the last three days my Subaru has nearly been aggressively smashed into twice in parking lots with me driving about 5 miles per hour. Here’s my thing you need to know, we are not getting rid of the Subaru. It is a good car. We like it. Matt will drive it and treat it well, we just can’t fit all three kids with their various car seats and shoulders into the wagon at this time. We still want the Subaru. Don’t kill it with your powers of unleashing bad drivers all over Connecticut.

As an additional comment – slash – follow-up question: We don’t want the Saturn, but please don’t kill it either. Just let us sell it to a college student and we’ll use the money to buy new tires, okay? please okay with sugar on top? I’m not even asking you why (oh why?, oh why?) this has been happening as I go about my business of, you know, going to the store for food and such and try to keep my heart beating in some what regular rhythm.

Karen

Additional note to mother of three in grocery store,
Dear other mommy of three adorable children,
Sorry. I do not as a rule let them have pacifiers at the grocery store. In general, we leave them in our beds, or at least in our own rooms for quiet play. And I know, they aren’t babies they are two and four, and yes, four years old is quite old for a pacifier. I totally agree with your three year old on that one, but I didn’t really want to take the time to explain Sensory Processing Disorder today, because I had to rush home to meet Thinker’s bus. Therefore, I ignored you – well, really your three year old. I heard her shouting, “Why they have passies, they not babies. Why mom? They cannot have those passies. Are they babies?” I realized you probably made her give hers up when your little 5 month old was born and yes, you are a better mother for it. You rock. I didn’t make eye contact when you said “maybe they are teething,” instead I got some popsicles from the case, but you were right, the two year old is teething pretty bad right now. And normally, they’d be nothing but we’d been to the doctor and LP has 4 vaccinations and a blood test. If I’d explained SPD you’d know how bad this day was for us and you’d have maybe asked your three year old to, you know, stop yelling at my kids. “You’re not babies, you can’t have those, give them back. maybe I teething too, huh?” Fortunately for all of us, my kids were distracted by the popsicles, so they didn’t notice the threats to their passies and their manhood.

So, again, I’m sorry. My slacker behavior opened a big can of why between you and your kid. However, I didn’t take it personally. We all have different rules and standards -and I was even bending my own today – and it is hard to know what to tell your kids when they observe that. I certainly struggle at the playground when some parents choose to let their kids climb up slides. Still we all survive. There is one tool I felt you had at your disposal that you didn’t use. I’m not criticizing, mind you. It just could have saved the both of us some maternal embarrassment (you felt too, huh?) We were at the store, which last I checked is inside. I think you were maybe distracted by the pacifiers, so I’ll just say those two little words for you should we all meet again with passies.
indoor voice

yours in the motherhood,
Karen

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Beck’s place is a nice place to read about parenting – lots of cupcakes, chores and the occasional rant. It’s just the type of reading I enjoy while my kids are napping and my tea is actually hot. These last two days her blog has echoed a problem that we are having in the neighborhood.

Apparently, now spring now comes with its own set of problems, like Social Darwinism at the playground. It seems now that all of us suburban parents are no longer confined to the interior of our homes, schools, daycares and work place, we have increased the likelihood that we will by chance encounter others, most particularly other people we do not know. All our social skills seem to be hibernating late into spring…perhaps never to be seen again. Could this be a some side-effect of global warming?

In the last week my children have been both mocked and rejected at the playground. I’m not sure they are old enough for anyone to take up the position that they should just suck it up.

Scene: my two year old sitting at the top of slide is addressed by the five year old climbing the rock-wall: Are you a scaredy cat?
I intervene: Let’s use nice words at the park everyone.
Five year old boy: What, I was just asking whether or not he was or was not a scaredy cat.
Me: Blink, blink, blink.
Little Bear: wheee!

Change Scene:
Little Puppy: hi!
girl at park: blank stare
LP: hi!
girl: blank stare, backs up
LP: she not say hi to me. why?
girl to friend: we don’t want to be here with him.
me: blink, blink, blink – let’s go on the slide!

Don’t even ask me where the mommies are. I really don’t have an answer. The thing is at one point I was a mother with just a four year. Pregnant and at the park, I let him roam and kept an eye on him. But in truth, I kept a ken eye and ear & had already raised him to use his kind words, to expect friendliness in exchange for friendliness, to take a turn, then give a turn. It was not until I saw him meet these expectations with regular success that I took my seat on the bench at the playground. My standard was not – is he big enough to go there without hurting himself, but is he mature enough, kind enough to have free reign here without causing harm or hurt to himself or anyone else. Was he an easy child? I guess by many standards he was. Did he mess up from time to time? Surely he did, but I was around to correct him, to hold the standard out for respect, kindness to others, especially those younger, weaker, less sure of their footing or confidence.
Now I have a younger child with a disability that leaves him less socially savvy than his peers. LP has to spend so much energy screening out stimuli he is quite behind his peers. Blissfully ignorant though is a thing of the past. Now he is consciously confused. He does not understand their games, he does not understand their rejections. In a crowd running, he does not see they are running from him – but I hear them and I know they are. The moms on the bench — yes, yes, you can see my jealousy so clearly here, I would be one of them with such a laid back two year old, but my four year old’s disability keeps me running after the pack – those moms, I know what they see: a crowd of children running and laughing. From a distance of just 10 feet, they seem to be a cohesive pack, the little ones trailing, the bigs ones leading, LP in the middle for he his long-legged and fast, but not aware they are all trying to get away, away from him. I hear their shouts, lost in the wind: here he comes, no this way, he’s back. How do they know already that he is not one of them? The speed of the running and the noise are stimulating to him, he takes great joy in the game, unaware of the rejection this time. There is a conference among the four and five year olds. I think for a moment that one of them may come forward and explain it all to him – that this isn’t tag or hide and seek, this is keep away, from you. No one in this age group has got the fortitude for this. They see my watchful eye. The scened fades.

I am lonely at the park. I run between keeping a watchful eye on LB’s monkey tricks (Can he climb that safely? Is there a big gap there? Stay off the rock wall! You are only two!) & LP’s new desire to interact at the park. It ought to be the perfect place for us & it is very, very not.

On our way home, both seem happy about the park. I feel like a fraud, peddling this icy playground experience in lieu of offering real friendships. So, we stop for icecream so the iciness goes down a little sweeter.

All this reminds me, that I owe you & Mothertalk a review of Road Map to Holland, by Jennifer Graf Groneberg. Its over here…

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