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Storytime & some pepper spray

It's amazing what a world of difference the right librarian can make. If your kids hate storytime, don't necessarily blame your kids. Sometimes the storytime lady just sucks.

Or--let me rephrase--put a better way...anybody willing to walk into a room full of 20 two year olds and perform and successfully get the attention of this especially wandering age group deserves a medal. I praise all of you in Youth Services for even making the attempt.

But some librarians (and teachers) are better than others at completing the task with an A-level experience. (Somehow my son's preschool teacher has gotten him to know all his colors, letters, numbers, and to say "no thank you." Equally amazing.) Or maybe this is just a case of Don't Know What You've Got Til It's Gone?

Leda and I usually pick the same morning every week to head to the public library for the hours before it's time to pick Cole up from school. She plays with the toys, we go to storytime, she plays on the computers, she watches the fish and gerbils, she does puzzles. It's a good time. Last week, however, we chose a different day because of the aforementioned illness running through our crew.

Not only can the ability of the storyteller vary, but even our regular librarian has stated that within the day there are variations in the personalities of the children/parents. The early hour that we attend is quiet while the next group is like a wild feeding frenzy. My daughter, despite her insisting on standing during books and dancing instead of doing the gestures that go with songs, is more suited to the earlier crowd. Everybody pays attention, nobody runs around the room screaming...although she's been known to run around playing curious monkey and trying to steal Miss Rory's puppets.

Miss Rory is awesome. We see that and appreciate her after a visit to a different story lady last week. Today we made it through 4 books, 6 songs, and a game of hide the eggs in 30 minutes. That's impressive considering she never raises her voice or even asks the children to settle down. It's 100% talent at keeping the kids so interested that nothing else matters. She even got Leda to hide an egg in her sleeve this morning. If it were me asking, no dice. Miss Rory is amazing. Come to think of it, I should write her a letter of praise for her personal file. Maybe a raise is in order.

* * *

After the library there is usually some time to kill. We take our time after storytime and still have room to go slow on the way to get Cole from school. It's just one of those situations where it's useless to go all the way home when we're halfway there already.

So today I needed some bay leaves for a black bean soup I'm making. And it was Leda's first trip to the spice store. She was running around pointing to all the spice jars and I'd get them down and open the lid for her so she could take a big sniff.

All was going well until we came to the cayenne pepper.

"You pepper sprayed our daughter," Mama said.

No, first of all she did it to herself.

It wasn't the sniff so much as I think it got into her eyes and burned and she didn't like the tears. Poor thing was upset but then I taught her about vanilla and cinnamon and this seemed to regain her enjoyment. I think if I'd ended with the pepper display she'd be scarred for life.

Lesson learned. You can warn your kids something is spicy, but they don't really understand until they experience it.