“The Years Are Short”

“The Years Are Short”

Dom sent me a link to this short video. As it started, I asked, “Is this going to make me cry?” He didn’t think so. But it did anyway.

It’s one of those life lessons that I learn and then forget. I need a reminder every so often. When Bella wants to read a book for the tenth time in a row or wants to go out just as I’ve settled down to rest in my favorite chair, or she refuses to sit still and eat her lunch. Or the many things that frustrate me and try my patience.

I am not a patient person. I’m working on it. I need reminders that this is the good stuff. This is the very stuff that I’ll look back on with longing. This is it. She’ll never be twenty months old again. We won’t get these days back. Already I spend half my days looking at her wondering where the baby went as I watch my girl take off her shoes and socks and put them back on, as she sits down and turns the pages of her books or runs away from my down the sidewalk. I need all the reminders I can get so I can cherish these moments as they fly away from me on little pink sneaker-clad feet.


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  • Well, as an adult, a girlfriend and I went to Chuck E. Cheese’s once, because I’d never been there and didn’t know what the big deal was about. Come to find out, I wasn’t missing much. I ended up with food poisoning there.

    I’ll also say that if a perv wanted to go into a library to prey on kids, he could work around that and bring in a kid with him.

  • Oh I understand why the policy exists, I just disagree with it. I’m certainly aware of the real dangers children face in libraries. Just the other day there was an article in the paper about a little boy who was molested in the library stacks just feet away from where his mother was working on a computer.

    But does this particular policy really make children safer or does it actually give a false sense of security and make parents less vigilant than they should be? And even if it does make kids safer, doesn’t it do so at the expense of one of the library’s primary missions, the public access to information? 

    As Chris suggests, the policy doesn’t necessarily ensure that only “safe” people have access to that part of the library. Too many molesters have access to children they could use as “tickets” to get in. Either they are fathers or stepfathers themselves (yes, many child molesters are married men with kids of their own) or they have nieces and nephews or they have girlfriends with kids or they buddy up with a neighborhood kid. Many child molesters are very good at blending in, seeming to be innocuous, befriending children and their caretakers alike.

    Also, the policy unfairly treats everyone with suspicion for the sake of a very small percentage of the population. It reminds me of having to take of Bella’s shoes in the airport security line because they can’t discriminate between likely and unlikely threats.

    And finally, the p

  • I’m not a parent, but I think the first thing I would suggest is to check out another library to see what their children’s room policies are.  No matter what town you live in, you are part of a network and as such, can borrow books from any library in that network.  I do not like my town’s library, so I go to the next town over.  Better selection, nicer people, easier parking.  It depends on how out of your way you want to go.  The library has been a part of my life ever since I was a little girl, when my mother first took me for story hour.  It remains one of the greatest joys of my life.  I very seldom buy books, because way too often I have gotten them home and lost interest in them, thus wasting money.  I’m not one who can keep with a book if it doesn’t hold my initial interest.  If I lose interest in a library book, no money lost!  I read about new books on Amazon and then request them online. 

    Also…I think you should stop chiding yourself.  Sounds to me like you’re an amazing mother and Isabella seems like a pretty happy, well-adjusted child.  I think you’re doing all the right things.  grin

  • I see exactly why you don’t like library trips with Bella – two week loans and the toy attraction would put me off too! Our library has three week loans, but renewable up to ten times (online from home). I can also reserve books online from anywhere in the country library system. Reservations of children’s books are free. At this stage I take Cherub to the library irregularly, though we do always try to go to a monthly rhyme time there – songs, rhymes, some signing, and also free smile. The picture book selection is rather mixed bag, but I have found a lot of good books there that I would otherwise never have known about. Often I note down titles for future use, and I usually pick out three or four books to try with Cherub. Occasionally they are a hit, mostly a miss (you know how single minded they are at this stage about what they like!). My budget simply won’t allow me to buy all the picture books I would like, so I tend to borrow from the library where I can and save my book budget for the ones I have to buy – all those nice US published books I see recommended on blogs that simply aren’t available in the library system here wink.

    The no-adult-without-a-child policy would drive me nuts too, as I like to be able to browse and pick out books if I get a chance to go into the library on my own. It would have been particularly galling when the older girls were home and I needed a lot of non-fiction books for homeschooling purposes.

  • Another thing … no, I don’t think you are depriving Bella. I think our library trips (apart from the rhyme time) are more for my benefit than hers, in that they allow me access to extra books for her. She doesn’t show any sign of being bothered by not going to the library or excitement at going.

  • We are huge book lovers, but I never really got into regular library visits with my three.  My husband was better about taking them.  For me, I would be so conflicted about exploring their stacks vs. my stacks.  And if you take the kids to the library, you pretty much have to pay constant attention to them, both to avoid perverts and to read to them.  Otherwise it would be pretty mean, like taking them into a candy store but refusing to take off the wrappers.  There are very few library books that I’ve found worth reading again and again.  We buy lots and lots of books, and the Chinaberry ( catalog was a big help to me initially to discover really beautiful picture books.  When children love a book, they should owe it.  Conserve your energy!!  You have a beautiful family.  Keep reading all the time!  Good luck and I enjoy your blog.  From a fellow Louise Cowan student

  • Melanie,

    I hate to say it but I understand why such a policy exists. I’ve heard of women who have run into perverts in the library and especially in the children’s section. One woman told me she had a man following her among the stacks. When she reported it to the librarian he was discovered with his pants partially down – I don’t need to say more. I think the policy is more to keep out perverts than anything. Incidents like that near where I live is why I would prefer not to go to the library – by myself or with my daughters. I hope your libraries are better.

  • I agree it won’t, in the end, stop perverts. I think it is pretty much so libraries can say they did what they could when things like that happen. And it is an unfair policy for the reasons you mentioned. I think it comes down to the policy-makers feeling like they have done something. It is a common liberal-minded bandaid to do something simply so they feel like they have done something. It also might have something to do with liability. Think of the mentality of the bishops instituting safe environment policies with their videos and seminars on creating a safe environment.

    And for the record, I agree with Mary – you are a wonderful mother and shouldn’t worry so much.

  • I think the idea of no unaccompanied children is good sense.  (My daughter, who is now a real degree holding librarian spent more than 10 years working in the children’s dept of our village library and did often find herself in the position of de facto babysitter. But that isn’t really the library staffs job …and many libraries don’t have the staffing resources to supervise kids adequately.)  But adults should have access to the children’s dept for all the reasons that you stated.  The fact that places like Chuck E. Cheese don’t allow grown-ups without children makes sense because there is no legit reason for an adult to be there without a child.  But library children’s departments?  Oy!

  • My oldest is now four and a half, and has never stepped foot into our library.  We have a large collection of books, and she usually is browsing one, possibly reciting it from memory.  My reason is pretty shallow:  since my county doesn’t give part of my property taxes to the local library system, I have to pay separately.  I just haven’t decided that it’s worth it though.  I may join this summer for their story time though.

    And I didn’t start really reading to Kasandra until she was 10 months old and I needed (for health reasons) to establish a nighttime routine and get her sleeping through the night without nursing.  She resisted terribly for about a month.  Then, a switch flipped, and she was bringing me books 24/7.  She still loves her books, and we have even started chapter books.

    So no, I don’t think you are depriving her.  According to The Well-Trained Mind, repetition of familiary books (to the point of memorization) is actually good training for reading.  Kasandra has begun to memorize familiar words and their spellings, but we’ll see how quick of a reader she is next year when she starts kindergarten.

  • Why don’t you try another library?

    I heard a lot of complaints that a better library would simply solve. But I was surprised too by your winter comments. I’m in MN, and it’s precisely because it’s winter that we go to the library, because feeling cooped up at home day in and day out in my case, makes me insane.

    We go to the library once a week because I’m an introvert, and my child is physically active and needs to get out. He isn’t extroverted or needing other people, but he needs space and sounds and colors and that level of stimulus, every day, every hour, is too much for me to create at home.  He loves reading, but that we do at home. He (21 months) doesn’t care about *reading* books AT the library—he loves the toys. And we stay until the toys are exhausted, basically, or we reach nap/food time. That’s between 1-2 hours.  re: the meltdown: I don’t have that child. He knows those are toys at the library, and so we play with them there, and then we say “bye bye toys” at the end.

    But: re: a better library: my library has online accounts to let you see what you’ve checked out: solves the “keeping track of the books” problem. The online accounts allow online renewal: solves the “2 weeks only”. My library’s children’s book policy is overdues HAVE NO FINES. Solves the “child can’t handle giving it up even after 6 weeks” problem. My library allows me to request any book and they’ll hold it for me so I don’t have to visit the stacks or browse the shelves, Solves the “how can I keep my son occupied while I look for something” problem. Re: the children’s room policy: other libraries have other policies. Ours doesn’t have that one, period. My library has an underground pay parking lot. It’s 4 bucks, but that’s cheaper than me buying a book a month, so it works out. Solves the ice issues.

    re: not finding books you like: I think you’d be better off using some resources. Ask the children’s librarians about children’s literature books, books that list children’s lit by topic or story type, or age appropriateness. Shelfbrowsing won’t help unless you already know the authors you’re looking for, but the children’s librarians have dozens of volumes of reference materials so that they can find books you’d like. You can read those reference books, too, of course.

    We bring home a dozen books each week, but we don’t intend to read them all. We read three books a night, and out of the 12, I’d say my son latches onto 2 of them, and wants to hear them over and over. But it’s easier for me to pull 12 off the shelves and go over them at home than anything else. I’m happy to give him the choice, and so is he.

    I can’t afford to buy the picture books I want, so I don’t have a collection at home that’s that extensive. The ones I want are mostly out of print. I go to the library to get all the old Virginia Lee Burton books, the old non PC Curious George books, the old Milne books, etc. I find a new book on baseball every week, or a new story book about the season or the holiday that’s upcoming.

    We read at least 3 books at night before bed, and we read books throughout the day as well. I go to the library to teach my son to love the library, first and foremost, and that might be the part that you are really missing. So find a library you love and that will fall into places.