There is nothing like fun for free. For a lot of moms, that takes the form of your local library’s story time, where you’re likely to meet a whole host of characters.
1. The soprano
This person, usually a woman, gets way, way into the musical part of story time. She has an eight-octave range and will use every single one of them to belt out “The Itsy Bitsy Spider.” She may or may not actually have kids with her.
2. Mr. Oblivious
This dad loves the library. He can be found with his nose firmly planted in a Dan Brown book while his kids tear out page after page in the early readers. The librarian usually ends up babysitting.
3. The librarian-in-training
This one wants more authority than she has. She will usually approach the librarian at the end of each story time with a recommended reading list and a themed week-by-week calendar. She’s made her own volunteer badge that she wears on a beaded lanyard.
4. The early bird
This parent gets to the conference room an hour early and waits outside, side-eyeing anyone who gets a little too close and elbowing people out of the way when the doors open.
5. The camper
This dad makes a day of the story time experience. He brings lunch, a blanket and a portable training potty so that he doesn’t need to leave. You half expect him to whip out a pack-n-play part of the way through Llama Llama Red Pajama.
6. The screamers
This entire family has no concept of a “library voice.” “I LOVE THIS BOOK!” the little ones will scream. “YOU DO? THAT’S SO GREAT HONEY!” the mother will shout back at them. And thus, your migraine is born.
7. The mom with an advanced child
This mother will volunteer information no one really asked for. The librarian will whip out a copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and this one will primly request a new book because her child has already mastered this one. Of Mice and Men, perhaps? Maybe The Satanic Verses?
8. The plague carrier
This mom carries the plague — literally. Strapped to her chest is a large lump of mucus and ear pus wrapped around a sniffling, hacking toddler. She will find you. She will sit next to you. You will contract “streptovirusfever.”
9. The late one
This parent comes rushing in five minutes before story time is over, tromping on diaper bags and rolling over fingers with her stroller. “Sorry, sorry,” she’ll fake-whisper. “Am I a little late?”
10. The story time cop
The mortal enemy of the latecomer, the story time “five-oh” is a rule enforcer to the core. He will loudly recite story time hours and remind children that they are to stay seated, becoming more and more agitated as he realizes that he can’t reason with toddlers.
11. The ventriloquist dummy
This mom’s child has a magic trick — he can throw his voice so that his words come out of his mother’s mouth. “We don’t like The Rainbow Fish, do we, Aiden? We wish the other children would refrain from speaking out of turn, don’t we, honey?” Impressive.
12. Rip van Winkle
This was me. Exhausted and toddler-fied, I would find the nearest beanbag or unsoiled carpet tile, and despite my best efforts, drift off into the sleep of the dead. Long after story time adjourns, van Winkles like me can be found snoring and dreaming of the day that our child will be too old for story time.