Today's activity was walking to the local Children's English Library, choosing some interesting and colourful picture books, sitting in the air conditioning and reading the books together. We left home at 4pm in the cooling late-afternoon. We arrived at the library at 4.10pm and I expected to stay for about 40 minutes. We love books and some of the librarians are friends of mine. It's usually a lovely place to go - although I have never taken DD there before.
There were four other people in the library: two staff members, whom I know, working on a computer in one corner and discussing whatever it was they were working on. A teenage boy with a pile of books and earphones in his ears listening to I don't know what. And a librarian, who I don't know and have never seen before, sitting at the main desk covering new books with sticky-backed plastic. That was it apart from one woman who came in to browse for a few minutes and then left, and a family of three children who dropped off some books, asked a question and also left.
One of the computer ladies got up to show me where the picture books are and we had a short conversation in normal voices. I chose four books - one about a cat, one about the toilet (very topical for us at the moment), one about a pesky fly, and one about, erm, can't remember. We went to sit at the little pre-schoolers' chairs and table in the opposite corner to the two people on the computer. DD chose the first book and I started to read it to her. I got a disapproving look from the librarian but I ignored it.
Then one of the computer people, the one I hadn't exchanged greetings with when we came in, looked up, smiled and waved to me. This is when I made a mistake. I admit I was wrong to have addressed a few words to her across the room. I know I should have gone over to say, 'hello.' As soon as I got a loud, 'shush!' from the librarian I apologised and went over to greet my friend.
After that it was downhill all the way. I was reading softly to DD but every so often she would point at one of the pictures and exclaim, 'cat!' or, 'cuppa tea!' And every time the librarian gave us another loud, 'shush!' At one point she told DD to look at her and she gave her a lecture (in Hebrew) about how we don't make a noise in the library. Funnily enough it went right over DD's 2 1/2 year old head. Really, who were we distrubing? The boy with the earphones? The two ladies on the computer who were talking anyway? Or maybe she couldn't concentrate on her sticky-backed plastic with the occasional delighted exclamation from a little girl enjoying the books. Silly me - I thought that was the point of the Children's Library.
Then I made my second mistake. DD's nose needed wiping and I opened my bag to get out the muslin. DD saw the little bag of crackers I had brought with us and she wanted one. So I gave her two small, dry crackers. The librarian came straight over to recite the no food, no eating regulations. Now I'm not stupid. I brought dry crackers and DD had two of them. They're not wet or sticky in any way and we weren't setting a bad example for other library users - because there weren't any.
What would've/could've/should've happened was that DD could've eaten her two crackers and that would've been the end of it. Instead I had to try to take them away from her and she obviously resisted, loudly. At that point I decided that we were leaving. It was 4.20pm. When a grown up librarian insists on playing jobsworth with a 2 year old delighting in the books at the Children's Library, what is the point?