Last Wednesday, the 31st, is the day baby C.J. landed in the hospital. We had been at the doctor earlier that week and were giving her an antibiotic. Wednesday was a bad day - sick baby and older kids who could not leave the house. I couldn't take a feverish baby out, but they were bored. They were patient, but antsy.
That Wednesday, I told Ty and Za, we will take C.J. back to the doctor (to be checked) and then run by the library. I even contacted the library to see what time they closed because July 31st is a big deal for the summer reading program kids - the last day to report books. We were going to make it in time.
We never made it to the library though because we were at the hospital. We came home with a groggy baby days later who still did not feel great.
We made it to the library yesterday, a week too late. I knew it was late. I told the kids that before we went inside. I explained that the library had rules, we had read our next set of books but did not get them recorded on time. We would talk to the librarian, and we would see what would happen. I wanted them to behave and if they were sad, they could tell me when we left.
And that is what happened. We left the library without our final book prizes because we did not get them recorded in time. We got to the van, and Ty and Za were pretty sad.
I try to make the summer reading program a big deal. I talk it up, act excited about reading the books. I am excited and I want my kids to treasure reading. That's what I told them too - that they read 45 books this summer (the library awards prizes at 15 and 30 books so we did get two sets of rewards) and that is impressive.
Actually, we read more than 45 books this summer. I built them up again. I told them I was proud of them for not throwing a fit. I was proud of them for telling me their feelings, that they were sad and that they understand that C.J. had to go to the hospital and that was more important than recording the books.
I drove home. It's a lesson in dealing with disappointment, I said over and over again in my head.
The librarian did not seem to care. I think she thought I was lying, even when I offered to show her surgical stitches on my baby. She was so disinterested, I didn't even pull out the hospital paperwork to show her that I had brought in. She didn't seem interested.
I understand part of that. I had students and parents lie to me when I taught, and it frustrated me to no end. Perhaps the librarian had been warding off people who wanted to record their late books. I see that point of view. She thought I was another liar.
But! Hospital stays? funerals? extenuating circumstances? I worked with that - and always used those exact examples to tell my students I would work with them, if only they alerted me.
I don't think the awards from the library are unforgettable. Last year the kids each got a bag and both are already ripped. I think they wanted their final 15 books recognized. They finished the program and wanted their hometown library (that their mom builds up) to be proud of them.
I think that in 2013 as kids head back to school, librarians could perhaps take into account that many kids do not enjoy reading, that many kids sat at home all summer and watched television, that many parents did not take their kids to the library to check out books, that many parents do not read to their children.
My kids learned a lesson in dealing with disappointment. I did too.