What the fck is this?
I get it, peeps. Really, I do. I get that it’s like a PSA for talking about and dealing with domestic violence in a family, and there are kids who truly—and sadly—need that information.
But perhaps the local library might find a better place to shelve it than in the toddler section with the board books. Seriously, kids’ll need an extra PSA about books that scare the shit out of them after seeing this.
I mean, the library’s supposed to be a fun place, a place encouraging kids to step into whole new worlds through the magic of words—not the stuff of nightmares.
As with everything on this blog, there’s a story behind the picture. No, I didn’t go looking for it. I don’t have to go searching for blogging opportunities; they just come to me. It must be something I did in a past life. (I still haven’t figured out if that something has warranted punishment or reward through this blog…hmm…)
My kids and I were at the library several months ago, and my then-18-month old, grabbing blindly at books, suddenly let out a bloodcurdling scream.
I ran to him and grabbed him, cradling him in my arms. “Shhh, sweetie. It’s okay, sweetie. What is it? Why is baby so upset?”
Suddenly, my preschooler, sensing my distress and an opportunity to make it fun, grabbed the book that my toddler had thrown to the ground and started dancing with it, joyously flinging his legs all around like an Irish step dancer. I watched the library staff jump to their feet and start snapping pictures.
After I’d calmed my toddler down and gotten a glimpse of the book, I was horrified. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked the librarians.
“Oh, that’s a great book! Really informative,” one of them said. “We want to showcase the diversity of our resources on our webpage,” she explained. Then she pointed at my preschooler, holding the book and cheesing for the cameras, and looked at one of the other librarians, who was also busy snapping away. “He’s smiling a little too much, isn’t he? He just looks too happy to be holding that book.”
Well, thank God.
“Hey, kiddo,” she called to my preschooler, “do you think you can frown a little bit? Think of something sad that makes you cry?”
Her co-worker joined in. “Has Mommy ever given away one of your favorite toys?”
That’s when I snapped to my senses. “What the hell is this, a photo shoot? Buddy, put the book down—“
“Oh, come on, Shay,” one of the library girls said. “Everyone knows there’s no violence in your household—“
"Exactly,” I agreed. “Unless you count buying the cheap lunchmeat for the hubs so that there’s enough money left in the grocery budget to get my deli salami…wait, why am I even having this conversation? I do not want my son on the library’s webpage holding a domestic violence book!”
The head librarian rolled her eyes. “Everyone knows they’re not poster children for domestic violence, Shay.”
“Obviously, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let them be models for the campaign!” I could tell the ladies weren’t listening as they continued snapping away. My son was loving it, posing this way and that, taking direction well as the girls told him to frown or put the back of his hand to his forehead as he looked down at the book.
I’m pretty sure I saw a manufactured tear slide down his cheek at one point. It was so realistic that I actually considered putting him into acting classes, until I noticed the assistant librarian standing over him, squeezing a wet paper towel over his cheek.
I ran over and slapped it out of her hand.
“SHAY,” the head librarian said, studying the images on her digital camera. “Quit being such a diva. We’ll put a disclaimer that says he’s not an actual sufferer of domestic abuse.” She rolled her eyes again, and I was shocked that the word DU-UH did not follow her statement.
“I.Don’t.Give.A.Shit,” I said slowly, making sure that I whispered so the kids around me couldn’t hear my horrible language, but all the while enunciating directly into the librarian’s ear so that I would finally be understood. “Nobody ever reads the fine-print disclaimer. They just start looking for the parents so that they can scream obscenities and hurl shit at them…and honestly, I don’t need any more of that than I get in a regular day.” She rolled her eyes again while I continued. “You guys are lucky I’m such a damned nerd that comes in here all the time and we’ve become friends…otherwise, I’d issue a formal complaint.”
The librarian sighed, shooting an annoyed glance in her co-worker’s direction before turning back to me. “Oh, shut up,” she said, then got busy repositioning my son so as to catch his pouty face looking into the eyes of the bloody doll.
They managed to snap about 10 pictures before I wrestled the book out of my little model’s hands and hid it under a potted plant in the corner of the library.
Luckily, the photos never ended up making it on the library’s webpage.
Rumor has it another kid came in and grabbed How to Make the Most of It when God Gives You a Methhead for a Mom, and the librarians just went ape shit.