Dear Citizens in the Larry J. Ringer Library in College Station, TX at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012:
I'm terribly sorry you had the misfortune of encountering my family at the library that afternoon. I completely understand that the library is intended to be a peaceful, quiet refuge from the busy world around us, and I'm certain that if you came within even 100 yards of me, my son, or my daughter you felt anything but peaceful and heard anything but quiet.
Let me be more specific in my apologies...
I'm sorry my daughter, who is two-and-a-half, could not use her inside voice. I assure you she is very capable of whispering, but for some reason she felt the need to shout from the rooftops that a cat in the book she was reading looked just like our old cat Clementine. (For the record, the cat in the book looked NOTHING like Clementine.) I assure you she is also capable of following directions, but at her current age she prefers to do exactly what I ask her not to do OR not do exactly what I ask her to do. If you were frustrated, just think how I feel, having to spend nearly all day every day with her. (Note to self: write thank you notes to Hallie's teachers, who give me exactly nine hours of peace every week. They are my heroes.)
I'm sorry my daughter, who is potty-trained, pooped in her underwear. I rushed her stinky butt to the bathroom as quickly as I could, but I am well aware of the fact that while I was hunting down my son to inform him that I was taking her to the bathroom, she ran a full loop around the library just to make sure that each and every person in the building caught a whiff of her.
I'm sorry my daughter yelled/sang songs about her bagina - and the fact that she and I do not have penises - while in the bathroom. She knows she's only allowed to talk about private parts in the bathroom, so by golly she takes advantage of her time in any room with a shower, sink, and/or toilet to use those words as often as she can. I'm also sorry she loudly announced that I threw her underwear in the trash can and that she was therefore no longer wearing any underwear. I believe she used the words, "butt naked".
I'm sorry I chose that afternoon to acquire a library card for my son. In case you don't remember signing up for your library card, let me gently remind you that you're asked/required to sign your name TWICE during the process. It takes my son approximately two minutes to write his full name, and during those four painful minutes, five people formed a line - waiting to check out - behind us. After Will finally had his new library card (so proud!) I had to pay a fine, renew my library card, and check out that day's stash of new books, which brought our total checkout time to around 14 minutes.
I'm sorry my daughter was a holy terror during those 14 minutes. In case you missed even a part of her "act", let me refresh your memory. She started by nudging her brother, just ever so slightly and for a moment at a time, to see how he'd react. He valiantly ignored her for at least two minutes, but when the nudges became pushes he started to push back. I asked her to sit on the floor near my feet or at the table behind us. She sat at the table for .7 seconds, then jumped up and started running in circles. I asked her to run in circles near me, and to stay out of people's way, to which she proudly shot back, "I am running in circles and I AM getting in people's ways!" She ran away. I ran after her, grabbing her arm as she attempted to covertly slip into an opening on bookshelf. She SCREAMED that I was hurting her shoulder. (I wasn't hurting her shoulder. She's completely recovered from that pesky broken collarbone, but knows that if she says someone is hurting her shoulder they'll back off.) I attempted to hold her while we finished up, but she kicked me in the groin. I set her on the floor and trapped her between my legs until the poor librarian could finish processing everything we had to accomplish.
Again, my apologies for ruining your trip to the library and for the extended period of time you were forced to wait in line that afternoon. I must say, however, that while I completely understand your dirty looks, they didn't help. I was doing the best I could, wrangling a two-and-a-half year-old in a way that didn't create even more chaos and noise (time-out) and didn't also punish her well-behaved older brother (leaving the library).
We'll be taking a week or two off from visiting the library, so you should be able to browse, read, and work there in peace until the end of January. Then I'll be back, this time with an extra pair of little girl underwear in my purse.