I’ve written before about how difficult it can be to entertain the Popple. Like me, she gets restless in our tiny flat. We’ve tried lots of baby classes, but the now-very-mobile Popple can’t sit through most of them anymore. Taking her outside would be the obvious solution to our cabin fever, but we live in Scotland, where the weather is 90% dreich and 10% taps aff*.
And that’s where libraries come in.
Libraries are free, warm havens for parents and their bored children. There’s no pressure to buy anything, so no one blinks an eye if you do nothing but watch your baby run around the children’s area for an hour, pulling books off the shelves and squealing with delight.
(I put the books back, obviously. I spent my high school years working in the children’s room of a library on the evenings and weekends, and I know the pure rage that comes from finding board books in every f***ing corner of the place.)
The Popple loves everything about the library – all the books she can ‘read’ (by turning the pages as fast as she can, usually with the book held upside down), the free pamphlets she can rifle through, the librarians who tell her how cute she is, the other children there who she can stare at awkwardly.
Sometimes we attend Bounce and Rhyme at one of our local libraries, which is a 30-minute session featuring songs and nursery rhymes. These sessions are always packed, showing how much parents NEED something like this – a free, semi-structured event that gives them an excuse to get their babies/toddlers out of the house, even if it’s just for half an hour. If the session leader doesn’t turn up, as often happens at one of the libraries, the parents run the session themselves. We’re just a bunch of tired mums and dads, singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It” while sitting on a filthy library carpet and feeling genuinely grateful to be there.
*Definitions for all you non-Scots, courtesy of the Urban Dictionary:
Dreich: A combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather. At least 4 of the above adjectives must apply before the weather is truly dreich.
Taps aff: The removing of one’s shirt or other upper body garments, most often in the event of warm weather but also often for purposes of celebration or simple antagonism.