Let me just tell you now – if you were suffering under the delusion that I have this “mom-thing” under control because I post cute but mediocre pictures of my deeply fabulous child, allow me to put you, and myself, out of such misery. I am in fact a hot mess.
The occasion for this self-revelation was a profound one.
Baby Time at the library.
I heard of this magical thing some months ago, before the holidays, in fact, and filed it in my mind under Things To Do When Adeline is Old Enough to Even Care. After all, I told myself, a five-month-old who still spends the vast majority of her waking hours asleep seemed an unlikely candidate for Baby-Time-at-the-library enthusiast.
Yeah, well, then she got older.
And ya’ll, this kid, she likes action.
Having read the insightful “Temperment God Gave Your Kids” book and suspecting myself the parental unit of a perky sanguine, I began giving my introverted self a series of pep talks on how I should find creative ways for this child of homebodies to get her social on.
“Aha!” I thought, “Perfection! There will be other babies there, she can be social, and it is in a LIBRARY and I love libraries! They are quiet and calm and FULL OF BOOKS and librarians who shush people who speak and WOW, this is the best idea ever.”
I imagine the wiser and more experienced reader has already discerned the flaw (make that flaws) in my logic.
But I sailed naively on, announcing blithely to my beloved husband, my dear mother, and my parent-level-BOSS boy-mom big-sister that I would be conveying our tiny darling to this place of bliss on such-and-such a day at such-and-such a time.
My older sister tried to warn me. Gently.
“Well, you might want to get there early…they have a crowd limit and if you come late they might not let you in.”
“A crowd limit?!?” I thought. “What the heck? What, is that, like, maybe eight or ten different people? Fifteen? What does a crowd in a library even look like?”
“Oh, wow,” I said, only slightly daunted, “I guess I’ll get there early, then.”
I plowed ahead through the week, imagining the glories of Baby-Time-at-the-library-Day. Perhaps I would make a new bosom friend. Perhaps Adeline would meet her own future bosom friend. Perhaps I could go in a cute outfit and even do my makeup. Perhaps I would find a cloth-diaper mom and we could bond over how we never have to clean up blow-outs and some other mom would hear us and we could tell her how awesome cloth diapers are.
As you can see, the day was growing to somewhat mythical proportions.
Then, it arrived.
The great event was to begin at 10:15.
At 8:45, I was sitting on the couch. At home. Arguing with myself. My mom-self with my me-self.
Me-self: “Well, I guess today won’t work. I’m so tired. Let’s go back to sleep. And I need a shower. I can’t leave the house like this.”
Mom-self: “Get up.”
Mom-self: “You’ll be late.”
Mom-self: “You said you were going.”
Me-self: “Yeah, but I’m busy.”
Mom-self: “You’re on Pinterest.”
Me-self: “I am very busy pinning.”
Mom-self: “OH MY GOSH.”
One of the fascinating things about motherhood, I find, is that sometimes the Mom part of your brain takes over and you just are suddenly doing things you had no idea or intention of doing. I thus suddenly found myself racing around our apartment and showering, hair-drying, diaper-changing, snack-packing, water-bottle-filling, no-time-for-makeup-but-here’s-the-coffee and grab-the-special-library-bag and so on. And the whole time the Me-self was reminding the Mom-self that we needed to put gas in the car, go to the post office, run these errands, etc. We therefore couldn’t possibly make it to the library by 10:15, we were only going to the library to pick up my book on hold and maybe to wander around in the children’s section to investigate the situation. For next week. When we might go for Baby Time.
After all this, I found myself pulling into the library parking lot at 10am, and Mom-self was firmly declaiming on the reasons we would be running errands AFTER BABY TIME.
Then, I saw Them.
A steady trickle of babies being swept towards the library doors in the arms of slim, serious mothers who looked like they had stolen the outfits off my Pinterest board.
Me-self: “Well, yeah, uhh, we will just be grabbing my book and getting the heck out of here.”
Mom-self: “Are you ducking behind the steering wheel?”
Me-self: “We need to get out of here before They see us.”
Mom-self: “Park the car.”
Me-self: “What if They think we were coming for Baby Time? What if They realize we presumed…”
Mom-self: “Oh look! A shady parking spot. How perfect. We have this Mom Thing in the bag!”
Me-self: “WE ARE ONLY GETTING MY HOLD BOOK AND WE ARE LEAVING.”
Mom-self unloaded the kid and the diaper bag and Me-self. Me-self yanked out the ponytail holder because Mom-self was out of control and potentially going to drag us into a situation where ponytails were potentially social anathema because you just can’t know these things and potentially ponytails weren’t even a thing at Baby Time.
The debate between Mom-self and Me-self raged on while I began the March of Doom toward the library doors. As we passed the windows of the kid section, I tried to inconspicuously peer inside to spy the gathering place of these solemn and stylish women who belonged at Baby Time. But instead of a growing knot I saw only that the kid section was totally awash in moms and babies.
I slunk in through the library doors, and found myself at the tail-end of a line. Not one headed into the library. One headed into the conference rooms. And there were at least 15 sets of mothers and babies in the line.
Mom-self: “What a great opportunity!”
Mom-self: “It must be a fabulous Baby Time if it’s so popular! Clearly we are in the right place!”
In we marched. Right over to the holds section. I snatched up the book. Marched over to the checkout. Marched out the doors.
Right there, outside the library doors.
You guys. I was just…standing.
Mom-self: “What are you doing?!? We’re here! You showered! You have a book to make you look smart! What is wrong with you?!?”
Me-self: “Look. People.”
Mom-self: “Yeah! They’re talking to each other, chatting, you know, like adults.”
Me-self: “Too many adults.”
Mom-self: “YOU are an adult! Adult! Be adult-y!”
Still just standing there. Diaper bag swaying. Chill baby chillin’. People walking by.
Me-self: “We’ll try next week. Now that I know. I can mentally prepare.”
Mom-self: “You don’t go in now you know you never will.”
Me-self: “I have years to find activities for her before she even remembers a thing.”
Mom-self: “You will remember.”
Mom-self: “Gahhhh come ON. Remember? We got this mom thing in the bag!”
Me-self: “Bags are great. I love bags. I’d like to be in a bag. On the way home. Let’s go home and organize our bags!”
Mom-self took over again. I turned around and went right back in. I crept up to the perky and non-threatening-looking librarian who was standing by the door with her armful of song sheets now that the army of Real Adult Moms had made a state procession into the room.
Librarian: “Hi! Who is this cutie?”
Me, in my head: “You’re a librarian! Don’t talk! SHUSH PEOPLE.”
Me, out loud: “This is Adeline.”
Librarian: “Well hello, pretty girl! Are you coming in?”
Me, out loud: “I think so.”
Me, in my head: “Well, that’s probably the dumbest thing anybody ever said to her.”
But we made it inside. With the rest of the vast assembly. I think there ended up being at least thirty moms. Plus a few dads. And all the babies belonging thereto. It wasn’t awful. Adeline appeared to be in the throes of bliss.
I even ended up talking to a few people, actual adult people, in spite of managing to originally sit in the corner of the room with moms who were speaking Vietnamese to each other. We found some books afterwards. And got all the errands done.
We might even go back next week.