Son: You are all making me sad.
On Tuesday I took my son to a story hour at our local library. It's aimed mostly at three-to-five year old kids getting acclimatised for pre-K - but very much open to everyone. My son being 3 in a fortnight has had a bash at this a few times before but spent the last time we tried barking at people (I think it was something to do with lebensraum, whatever that is...) to piss off. He didn't do that this time. But he was not pleased at all that all these people were interfering with his library visit. Which he well knows includes finding a Thomas The Tank Engine DVD to borrow, maybe another one for his sister (she watched along completely bewildered to Alice In Wonderland this week after he'd picked that one out) and then bombing around in the children's section downstairs picking out books and putting them in the bag on the other side of the room. It most certainly does not include two older women with a flipchart stood in front of twenty children reading a book about a dog covered in spots. So he sat and scowled as we all sang a song that had all the kids names in it. Then came a participatory game in which one kid covers their eyes and another kid hides a dog bone behind them and the first one has to guess who has it. The nice woman who read the first story asked my son if he wanted to hide the bone. At which point he said calmly and clearly, "you are all making me sad."
Not to be defeated by that I took on a visit to another library the one city over for another story hour. But this one promised finger puppets and was in an unfamiliar location so he couldn't make any sort of territorial claim against the other people. After we went in he started to give me the, "what's going on here then?" look. He was reeking of suspicion. Then as we casually strolled around the main part of the library he began to get irrate. Mostly because at first glance there didn't even appear to be a section for young kids. There was a normal section, a computer room and some cloyingly, depressing section for young adults (they should just rename it, "Books About Vampires And Sex" to be honest)
- but no obvious children's section. So I told him it was in the basement and we made our way down. On the way he cheered up after grabbing a Thomas DVD he hadn't ever seen before. But then he spied the telltale circle of chairs. And he knew then this was either a story hour or I was finally going to a support group for Men Who Abuse Mini Eggs (get that image out of your mind immediately). So I faked it as if we were sort of hanging around while this was going on. Ruined a little by talking to the woman running it and explaining that my son is an interesting cocktail of shy and grumpy at these things.
As she explained the ideal plan to just interject him ten minutes at a time over a few weeks and then leave while he's still relatively happy my son discovered the abomination. The library had no Thomas books. This is amazing mostly because it means my son had to look up the space Thomas would normally be in - either under the original author (Rev. Awdry), the letter T (this filing decision bothers me greatly) or the even more unusual decision of putting it under Britt Allcroft - who makes the television series. Either way he was absolutely bloody certain that these absurd people hadn't stocked up on Thomas. The fact that he was already holding a DVD didn't make a dent in that idea. I figured I'd swoop in and save the day and find a book - anything - and placate him. And then find myself saying, "well would you look at that - they don't have any!" I tried to make it sunny and breezy. Still - my son heard it as, "the people here all think Tomato Pie is the best breakfast ever - in spite of it clearly being the most foul, wretched, sorry excuse for food on earth." In short he gave an unimpressed, "these people don't know what they're doing..." grimace.
Then the lady tried to nicely ask him if he liked, "Thomas The Train". You could see the absolute contempt in his face. He might slightly hide behind my shoulder when he meets strangers. Right now he raised his eyebrow. Which I clearly understood as, "that's not even the right name. I'm surrounded by muppets..." Then he quietly told her to go away and told me, "I don't like all the teachers." He didn't put on a show or have a break down or anything like that. He was very methodical. But in a way that suggested he didn't want to alert all these people that it was seriously about to kick off because that would ruin the surprise when they realized he'd set the building on fire.
Consequently we left a few minutes later. Right after he had some sort of odd flashback to earlier in the week and complained, "Batman has to say sorry to me." Even the librarian understood that one. I tried not to look too shifty but frankly it didn't work. I think we marked our own cards there as the weird English people who showed up, got stereotypically huffy (in an old English villains in movies kind of way) and then apeared to start tripping on LSD. All in good fun though.
Next week he will be going back to his own library story hour and then trying this new one again. Obviously I'll search his pockets to ensure he hasn't smuggled any kindling or fire-starters into the place first. This morning though we are off to O-Skool. Which is what he has taken to solidly calling the indoor playground. He's already mentioned Batman again but I'm hoping he doesn't show. First though I had to shave. I started to look a bit too Mark Watson for my liking. And we wouldn't want to look silly now would we. My daughter would never take a photo of me looking a prize tit now, would she?