Do you find yourself often apologizing for your baby or toddler’s behavior? Even though this is the way they normally behave because they are FREAKING TODDLERS NOT ROBOTS. And just because of the “tsk”s and dirty looks, you cave in and apologize. People find it so easy to judge and tend to forget that they were probably like this when they were little too. But no, they must have been perfect little angels. We had yet another unfortunate incident happen again today at the library.
I thought that at 30 months old, it would be a good time to reintroduce the library to Asher. After all, they had a Baby Corner where there’s carpeted flooring with a wide selection of baby books. Asher has been a regular patron of the library since he learnt to walk at 13 months, however, we stopped the visits once he started attending playgroup. So off we went to the library and he was really excited about it. Upon seeing the baby corner with shelves full of board books, Asher told me that he wanted to get a book on bears to which he was promptly “ssh-ed” by a librarian.
My boy is merely 30 months old and still a toddler. This is how toddlers behave. Obviously, he still doesn’t get that you speak in low, hush voices at the library even though I constantly reminded him to because the librarian was giving us this dirty look. But he wasn’t screaming his head off, throwing a tantrum, crying or flinging books off the shelves. He wasn’t running around and causing a disturbance to the adult patrons of the library who are located at the other side of the library. He was just simply telling me what he thought of getting while marveling at the many books on display, just like any excited toddler would.
Then the same librarian came over to tell me that “He is really loud.” Seriously?
I was done apologizing for my toddler because people need to understand that toddlers are built like this. I am not making excuses for Asher, however, adults especially those without kids probably have no idea that this is the way toddlers are. Why are we expecting so much from our toddlers? And it wasn’t like as though he was behaving unreasonably, he merely spoke out loud in his usual tone.
So I told her that he is only 30 months old and I was already trying my best. But toddlers don’t behave like perfect little angels the moment you remind them to. They might remember to for the first time but probably forget it soon afterwards. If the library can’t even give toddlers some leeway on library etiquette then why create a baby corner? Skip the damn carpeted flooring which was obviously there to promote reading with parent and child. Instead, just stack the books on the usual shelves and put a sign that says “NO BABIES ALLOWED. PARENTS MAY BORROW BABY BOOKS ON BEHALF OF YOUR CHILDREN”. Or how about setting an age limit for the library? Only allow kids 4 years old and above to enter the libraries. Put a sign that says “No child under 3 allowed!”.
Needless to say, we left the library immediately because what was the use of staying on in a place that supposedly aims to advocate reading in young children with a freaking BABY CORNER but gets upset when babies or toddlers speaks normally instead of whispering like an adult would when in one.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions Professional Report states that:
“The United Nation’s Convention on The Rights of the Child (1989) stresses the right of every child to the development of his or her full potential, the right to free and open access to information, materials and programs, under equal conditions for all, irrespective of age, race, sex, religious, national and cultural background, language, social status or personal skills and abilities.
The availability of library services for babies and toddlers is crucial. Early brain development research has shown the unequivocal impact that talking, singing and reading to babies and toddlers can have on their acquisition of speech and language. The child’s environment contributes significantly to the development of pre-reading skills. A stimulating reading environment also involves the availability of reading materials. Families all over the world need access to the tools available in their local libraries. An early introduction to the library allows for a comfort level, a willingness to ask for assistance, a place in which to seek answers and to learn about the resources and technologies available there or through the library.”
To be fair, she didn’t ask us to leave but she could have handled it better. And before you, the internet keyboard warriors (most likely childless ones too) decide to accuse me for being a demanding, self-entitled bitch then let me remind you once again. Asher’s only “crime” was for speaking at his usual volume to which the librarian won’t even bat any eyelid if we were not in a library. He is only a toddler and we would have gladly removed ourselves if he was making a din but what harm would a few seconds of speech do?
Anyway, I guess it’s a good excuse to start buying more books for our own personal library.