Monday morning I made the important decision to take Gracie to story time at the library. We left a little early and decided to walk around outside for awhile, since a local knitting group had taken it upon themselves to yarn bomb the town, and I can't get enough of it.
I underestimated the humidity levels in the air and walked into the library absolutely drenched. I have never been so uncomfortable. I looked and felt as though I had just dunked myself into a hot tub. I contemplated leaving story time and just going home, but since I am a strong, capable woman, I decided to stick it out.
I didn't have a lot of expectations. I haven't been to story time since I went as a little kid and just figured I would sit with Gracie on my lap while someone reads a book and sings a song. Maybe the mom next to me would be looking for a mom friend too, and then we'd go to lunch and braid each other's hair and bond over our mutual disdain of the word "babywearing" and our kids would grow up to be best friends? I don't know. Like I said, no expectations.
Rather, what I discovered is that story time is where the professional moms gather. I expected to be in my element amongst friends (read: books), but oh, I was not. There was one other mom in the room when I got there. I smiled at her, and she ignored me. It could've been the fact that my clothes were soaked in sweat, which is understandable. Her daughter toddled over to me and started hurtling books in my lap and staring at me, waiting for me to read them to her. I'm a relative expert with my daughter but no one else's. Once I'm placed with someone else's child, it's like I've never been around a baby before. I don't know what to do with them, so I stared back at the baby and waited for her mother to rescue me. She didn't.
Another mom walked in.
I smiled; she ignored me. She looked at Rude Mom 1 and said "Didn't I see you Thursday? At that workshop? At the other library branch?"
Rude mom #1: "Did you? I don't know. You might've. We're so busy. We're always somewhere."
RM2: "Oh my gosh, me too. We go to story time at another branch on Tuesdays. Our whole crew from this branch was there. I was like, 'that's our story time crew!'"
RM1: "Oh, well we go to three different branches. I have a schedules of all the different story times so we never miss one."
RM2: "Which branches? We'll join you. Sometimes we go to two story times in one day and then I just let my son play for an hour after while I talk."
It's a good thing they completely ignored my existence, because my jaw was on the floor listening to them. They have spreadsheets and schedules of story times all over the city. And here I was proud of myself for going to one story time a week at one branch and doing the dishes from breakfast before leaving. I finally started to get a picture of the kind of moms that hold auditions for their moms group.
The room quickly filled up with other moms. Everyone was divided into cliques like tables in a high school cafeteria. There was a large group of moms who barely spoke English, including one dad, and the rest were 30-somethings in their athleisure-wear. One mom was dressed to the nines and pulled out a cushioned changing pad from her diaper bag and sat on it.
Gracie sat on my lap, listening to the story and wanting nothing to do with the kids who were running around screaming. Every now and then I would hear RM1 throw out a tidbit of information, like how her kid just turned 14 months old, so "he's been walking for like a long time now." The kids were wild animals, chasing each other, running up to other kids and stealing toys, and throwing occasional tantrums while the librarian read a book about music. Every time I'm around other kids, I'm reminded how chill and laid back Gracie is. Let's put it in literary terms. She's like a Jane Austen book: definitely some drama, tears, and frustration, but lots of reading, talking, walking around outside, and giggling. The storytime kids were like an action-thriller: lots of running, screaming, stealing, and suspense. WHAT WILL THEY DO NEXT? You can't tear your eyes away for a second or you'll miss something.
There was a surprising amount of singing and hand motions that I was not prepared for. The other moms were more into it than the kids were, energetically clapping and dancing and trying to get their kids involved. Maybe that's why there was so much athletic wear? You'd think it was Zumba class with the excitement over hand motions. Gracie was completely uninterested, and no matter what I did she just wanted me to read books to her. It looks like I'm raising the next Rory Gilmore. All I have to do to complete the process is add coffee in about 15 years.
Regardless of our rocky start, we'll be back. Freshly showered this time. And if all else fails, I'll track down the yarn-bombing knitting group.