Last night, I took my oldest two kids to the Pajama Story Time event at our local library. It started at 7:00 p.m., which was the big selling point for me. See, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. is the witching hour chez Vaughan. The kids are punchy, the Little Guy is usually sailing off to bedtime, and the whole span of time is usually filled with bickering and random blows. I thought the change of venue might help a little.
When we got there, I saw that the story time is intended for kids ages 2 through 5. Perfect for the Girl, not so much for the Boy. I just told him to pretend he was five, and was reminded of my father shaving a few years off of my age whenever we went to a buffet restaurant. Kids under thirteen always ate cheaper. No one ever looked askance at me. 'Tis a boon to be short sometimes.
The Girl was enthralled by story time, and I can see she is going to be SUCH a teacher's pet. Shouting out answers, doing exactly what the 'teacher' says, grinning from ear to ear when told she was correct. Oh lawd, she will love school. The Boy drifted away to the coloring sheets and crayons, which was fine by me. He could've read the selection of stories to the kids gathered together, so I could see that hearing them wasn't really interesting to him.
The whole story time took about 30 minutes. Since I'd expected to be out for about an hour, we decided to go into the library's play room, as did a bunch of the other story time kids. It comprises kiddie kitchen and food market furniture and paraphernalia. The Boy was 'running' the food market for a bit, and the toddlers would steal money from the cash register. He jokingly yelled, "I'm going to call the cops on you!" as they gleefully ran away. The Girl wanted to run the shop with the Boy, but he staunchly refused. Eventually, though, he got kind of bored with it and wandered off to play with something else, and the Girl took control of the shop.
The little ones sharing the room with us were, child by child, snapped up by caretakers to go home for beddy-bye. After most of them had gone, another child and mama entered the room to play. They were African-American. The little girl, about three years old, wandered over to the shop. The cash register drawer popped open, and she helped herself to some of the money.
I think you can see where this is going.
The Girl very happily, and very loudly, shouted, "Call the cops! Call the cops! Call the cops!" AND SHE WOULDN'T STOP. Not for my grumpy face/head shake, not for my death whisper, not for my (hopefully) subtle gesturing. But I couldn't make a HUGE deal out of it, because I knew she was thinking, "Hey! African-Americans steal!" I KNOW she was just playacting what the group had done before, but the newcomers certainly didn't know that. And if I tried to explain it to the newcomers, that would also make it a bigger deal.