Saturday, November 5, 2011

Parenting and library fines

Allow me to present a simple but accurate graphic on the subject:

Click image to see larger.

Since this is the day I dropped a library book into the washer while the water was running, I think we can assume it's appropriate to reprint this poem as well:

Never check out anything from the library again

You might as well give up, doofus.
You’ve once again returned twenty items
of which you paged through two.
You have a baby now,
and reading’s not for you.
It’s gone the way of concerts and plays,
quiet church services where you could hear the sermon,
eating peacefully in a restaurant
without someone swooping your food off your plate
with a clumsily wielded knife,
then screeching to make heads whip around and glare,
and pushing the high chair over
from knee height.
Reading’s not for you,
that careful paging through of paper,
tender paper that tears so easily you’ve found,
covers that get bent and dust jackets ripped off.
And there’s so much to reading,
getting lost in the story,
in a paragraph,
just one damn sentence, please,
and it’s no use,
because he won’t let you now.
The lights are off, anyway,
for hours each day,
as you try to coax a raging monkey-child
to nap or bed,
and assuming there’s light from the blinds,
he tears the book from your hand,
and assuming there’s not,
it’s a moot point in the end.
You keep a mini-library on the back of the toilet,
hoping to read a page while you pee,
but he follows you in,
and the stack grows taller,
until it’s time to return them,
these unused, unread books,
that people who still read
are waiting for.

Tell me I'm not alone. What unexpected changes has parenting brought to your habits?

You can find this poem and more (but, alas, not the accompanying awesome graphic) in Poetry of a Hobo Mama, available on Amazon (in various countries and for Kindle, which means you can download it to your computer or smartphone, too). Or you can save 20% off the cover price at CreateSpace with coupon code SAP84AYJ. It makes a great idea for a holiday or baby shower present for a mama. (Just saying.)


Elisabeth Stone said...

BAHAHAHA. I was just talking to Ty this morning about our huge stack of library books (only two of them having been read) that are a week overdue, painted on, markered on, ripped up, and all sorts of other terrible things. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

It's so true! I always prouded myself in returning my books early because I had finished them, now I'm lucky if they get back on the due date. We've also paid our fair share of fees for ruined books. :-(

SortaCrunchy Megan said...

OH! Oh, the "donations" we have made to our local library. Oh yes. We could have added SO many things to our home library by now. Grrrrr.

Shannon said...

The kids books we check out from the library rarely leave the car, and if they do they go right back. Although now that we've started to check out the themed kits, I'm a little worried.

Gaby @ Tmuffin said...

Ha. When I saw the title of this post, I cringed, because I have about $20 in unpaid fines that I'm avoiding by not going to the library. My problem is that I get all excited to return my books on time, and then two weeks later I get a call asking about a book I totally forgot about (and no one ever read).

And talk about the lights being out all the time! I tried to read my kindle with a book light while trying to get Little M to sleep once and just about blinded him.

melissa v. said...

LMAO, this was a very timely post!! We just got a nasty letter from our library...
My mother in law is a librarian and I showed you her post~she laughed pretty hard. (Considering she has three grown kids!!)

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

and this is why I wait for the summer reading program to get books for the kids. The library erases all of our fines when you sign up for the program. Of course, we incur new fines each summer then have to wait until the next summer to get more books.

Sarah @ Parenting God's Children said...

bwahahaha! This is awesome!! Seriously. And sooo true! blerg. I should stop at two kids, I bet.

Unknown said...

Perfect! This is my life.

The good thing is that when a child gets to middle school, they receive their own account. So when my oldest returns books late and ends up with those fees, HE'S the one who misses out. And he's got the incentive to keep track of his book now. He doesn't get to use my computer because he was always getting me some kind of virus. So, he goes to the library. Well, they just instituted a "if you owe fines, you can't use the computer" rule. He hasn't misplaced or forgotten a book since!

Kelly @ The Homeschool Co-op said...

Accurate. Completely. I'm a librarian, who always has 60 books out, in the hopes of getting through just one. (2 kids - and your graph fits us - luckily our library has no fines for kid's cards). With that, I'm logging off for the night... here's to finishing that one.

Melissa said...

Oh, man. I read this, clicked through from my reader to comment, and realized I had to pee. I sat down, grabbed a book from my own bathroom library and got no more than two words in before the door opened with a, "mama! mama!" I made my husband look at your bar graph. Hilariously true!

I also had to change my music listening habits when I realized how much non-repeatable language most of my favorite contained. I thought I was pretty wholesome, but that is apparently not so!

lily joy said...

did you read my mail?? I am a regular supporter of our library.. no matter how hard I try not to be!

teresa said...

Too funny!!
We have one child and we TOTALLY say that!

kelly @kellynaturally said...

LOL!!!! Lauren, how did you break into my library file?!?!

Even more embarrassing to me then simply returning stuff late, broken, or paying fines, is the fact that before kids, I worked in LIBRARIES. For YEARS. And (internally) rolled my eyes at the excuses that people used - I myself use now. Karma, man. I'm telling you.

Ebay has become my best friend for used books. Also, our library as a "$1 books for sale" area - we make a beeline there. One dollar is FAR LESS than we ever pay in fines. LOL!!!

Lisa C said...

Haha I like your library fines chart. Yeah, I chalk it up to supporting the library. I rationalize that we get to read 30 books and watch 15 DVDs for the price of buying just one. I just keep telling myself, it's still cheaper than buying it, it's still cheaper than buying it...

Nadia said...

Love the graph!!!
What happens if I'm only on child # 2 and they're already naming a wing in my honour??? The worst thing is that the library is only a few blocks from my house.

Sarai said...

SO TRUE. Oh my goodness. We've had to actually buy several books- not just pay fines- because my toddler DRAWS in them. I have a new baby and he's really sneaky about it. He waits until I'm nursing baby and BOOM.

Did you know they charge full price of book plus a five dollar "processing fee"?? They do. They do indeed.

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

This is too funny! I guess the "homeschooling family" bar wouldn't fit on the graph? I found that once we have over 80 books out, it begins to be difficult to keep track of returns even with the database I use to track them.

It all goes to a good cause, right?

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