Once again I found myself in the public library. For whatever reason, interesting anecdotes seem to originate at this location. I was ultimately headed to my best friend Shannon’s house, but her three girls needed a library run too, so we agreed to meet there. I was second to arrive. I had just plopped my purse on an unoccupied table when I heard Sadie, three year old future dictator of a small Scandinavian country, scream, “Traci! Traci! Traci, you’re here!” as she tore through the library and turned even the heads of the bookworms with earphones.
“Hey, pumpkin. Whatcha been doing?” I ran my fingers through strawberry blonde curls that would have clinched a Gerber baby contest.
“I’ve been coloring. Here,” she said, pulling off a fluorescent necklace with connecting parts the size of golf balls. “I want you to wear my necklace.” I applied this lovely accessory that looked like cast off jewelry of the Chiquita Banana woman only to discover that an eye-catching ring went with it. Seriously, if I had waved my hand too closely to my face, I would have caught an eye with it.
Sadie brandished her pointer finger at me. “I want you to stay with us forever.”
“Forever, huh? How about the rest of the afternoon?”
She weighed these two time increments in her head to test the length of each. “Ok, but you don’t leave me today.” And with that her majesty had spoken, leaving me to grasp her tiny hand and stroll around the library in search of a book.
Ever been in a library with someone speaking at a volume eight? You get a lot of dirty looks from librarians. Since Sadie only has one volume for home, church, funerals, and war zones being pelted with SCUD missiles, I kept moving around the building in an effort to share the love with all the patrons while dodging as many withering glances as possible. I don’t know where my best friend was hiding, but she was probably chuckling over in the Fabio section.
Ah, but the best was yet to come. As soon as I snagged a book from the shelf, Sadie began an energetic dance that involved a complicated leg crossing technique. Pulling a dusty file from my brain from the short stint I worked in daycare, I diagnosed this symptom immediately.
“Do you need to go to the bathroom?”
“Uh huh. And I want you to take me.” I craned my neck around, but Shannon had disappeared like a good breeze in South Georgia in the month of July, leaving me to sweat it out.
“Okey dokey, kid. Right this way.” After all, how bad could it be? A little buttoning, some hand washing … piece of cake.
As soon as the door closed and she had me trapped, she lowered the boom on me. “I want you to wipe me.” For crying out loud, this was the whole reason I chose to teach teenagers. Forget independent reading and counting to a hundred; I was trying to dodge the wiping stage.
“But you’re three. Can’t you do that by yourself?”
“Not for a stinky.” Wow. This just kept getting better and better.
“Let me see if I can spot your mom …” I took a couple of steps backward toward the door, using the form one might employ when she’s in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle.
“No! I want you to do it! Don’t leave me, Traci; I don’t want to be in here alone!” Her blue eyes were the size of watermelons, the seedless variety.
“Ok,” I sighed. “I’ll stand on the other side of the door, and you can let me know when you’re finished and need … assistance.”
She was satisfied with this agreement, although the door between us must have made her feel that I was being unjustly sidelined as a servant, so she kept me abreast of the situation with a running commentary of her progress on the task at hand. A couple of minutes later, I was able to be of use to her ladyship, and I insisted on a hand washing session for both of us that involved a disproportionate amount of hand soap. When we emerged from the ladies’ room, Sadie took off at a gallop, and I saw Shannon checking out books.
“Guess what task I just performed for your child?”
She snickered. “Really? You must rate high.”
“Yeah, it was an honor all right.” We joined the other two girls, Sydney and Savannah, as they colored photocopied sheets of animals. While they were busy staying inside the lines in spite of the fat crayons they had been leased, Sadie was working on an anatomy lesson with her doll. She had her completely stripped down and doing pelvic gyrations on the table. If a pole and a Ken doll had been present, we would have had ourselves a strip club right in front of some elementary student’s trifold board project about owls.
“Honey,” Shannon said while collecting Baby Show it All’s garments, “it’s not polite to let your baby go without her clothes in public.”
Well, Sadie knew the exact diction to apply to this set of circumstances. “Naked!” she screamed at the top of her lungs and took off with Baby Red Light District before Shannon could apprehend either. Sadie made excellent time around the tables waving that doll in the air hollering, “Naked, naked, naked, NAKED!”
Shannon, Savannah and I laughed while Sydney, a tender child with only seven years under her belt, was mortified. Shannon quickly put her middle child to rights by saying, “Don’t even get me started on the stuff you used to do.” We left before they could toss us out for lewd and lascivious behavior.
© 2012 – Traci Carver