Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Librarian

As previously noted the girls and I go to our local library every Saturday. Alyssa has her own card and loves picking out books to check out. Some weeks she gets horse books, other weeks the subject is gymnastics or the Titanic. She’s a well-rounded girl.

The librarians at our library are all very nice. But there is one particular librarian that always, always tries to pull Alyssa into a conversation. It’s usually about the books she’s checking out. The librarian is so nice but she really doesn’t seem to appreciate Alyssa’s shyness.

The librarian, let’s call her Libby, will ask Alyssa a question. Alyssa will look at me and I’ll tell her, “You can speak for yourself.” Gently. I always say that gently. I’m trying to get both A and O to not need me to be their voice these days.

The other day, though, when I said that to Alyssa Libby called out to Alyssa and when Alyssa looked at her, Libby pointed to her eyes and then to Alyssa’s. She said, “You. I’m talking to you. What do you do at school when the teachers talk to you?”

She said this fairly kindly but I think she was bordering on being harsh.

Alyssa did answer though. She said, “I talk to them.”

I explained to Libby that when Alyssa went for kindergarten testing, they noted on her chart, “Does not speak.”

I then explained that I’d told little five year old Alyssa that the rule at school was that if a teacher asked you a question, you had to answer.

But you know what? I don’t think that rule applies to other adults that my children don’t actually know. Not even librarians they see every week or so.

Yes, it would be nice if they were a bit more outgoing. But…they’re not. They might be when they’re older and that would be great. I would be thrilled for them.

Quite honestly, though, I don’t think our librarian needs to verge on bullying my ten year old to get her to converse with her. I do understand what Libby’s trying to do. And while I can appreciate it on an academic level, I sort of want to tell her to stop it (I won’t) because I feel like both A and O are both coming along pretty well as they work to overcome their shyness/selective mutism issues. I give them opportunities to get past these things and the library is just one of them.

I want my girls to be polite to strangers. I want them to answer direct questions. But I also don’t feel like they need to be, well, harassed isn’t the right word but it felt very close to just that last weekend when they’re trying to check out a book.

This is all jumbled and all over the place. Basically, I know the librarian means well. I know she thinks she’s helping but I can’t help but feel a little judged as a mother when she does things like she did last week to Alyssa. I can’t help but feel a little like Alyssa was being scolded by her when she did the “You, I’m talking to you.” thing. It was weird and off-putting and I think I’m just writing it here to get it off my mind.

So yes, that’s what this is all about.

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