|—||7 Year Old Library Patron|
My library (Southeast Anchor Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore) is located in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, so every day is like a mini Rosetta Stone session for a non Spanish speaker like myself. Most days my language lesson comes in the form of me fumbling to help a patron in my own hybrid of Spanglish learned mostly from Dora the Explorer, and thankfully these patrons are patient and appreciate my efforts and usually humor me. But as with everything at my job, I can always count on the children to put me in my place. This happened this morning when a 2 year old regular took me to school on proper pronunciation. Charlie is cared for by his wonderful Spanish speaking nanny, Gloria. So while Spanish is not his native tongue he is certainly a fluent little tot.
Me: “Oh, you want a coloring sheet? Here you go, sweetie! Pintura.”
Me: “De nada!”
Charlie: “Dey-nah-da. Dey-nah-da!”
The look of exasperation on his tiny little face was almost more than I could handle. How dare I mangle his second language…for shame! Sorry, Charlie, I’ll do better next time!
When asked for translation 6 year old K told me, “you’re pretty and beautiful…duh”. Well there you have it.
6 year old library patron
I will now forever prefer googley to Google.
"Miss Ellie! Guillermo just called me a B! Only, he didn’t say B…he said Bitch. He said ‘Victor, you’re a bitch’. But I said B because I know you don’t like it when I say bitch, but that’s what he said, bitch. It would’ve been okay if he said B but he said bitch…" -9 Year Old Boy
Thanks for clarifying, and thanks for using the word you weren’t supposed to use 5 times.
Every now and again one of my library children delivers such a well timed comedic response that I can’t help but laugh, no matter how hard I try. That happened today in the midst of an otherwise run of the mill tween boy drama.
Boy #1 and Boy #2 were aproaching the information desk in a flurry of “no I didn’t” and “I told you” and “shut up”…
Boy #1: Miss Ellie, tell him to shut up!
Me: You know we don’t use those words in the library.
Boy #2: Yeah, hah!
Boy #1: But he won’t leave me alone!
Boy #2: He touched my computer! Tell him to get away!
Boy #1: I ain’t touch nothing!
Me: You know what, I don’t want to hear it. Act like young men and talk it out.
Boy #2: But he won’t get off my computer!
Me: I don’t want to hear it.
Boy #1: But Miss Ell—
Me: I. DON’T. WANT. TO. HEAR. IT.
[Awkard pause where the boys stared me down to see if I was serious]
Boy #2: Do you want to hear Chewbacca instead? Grrrrraaaaawwwwrrrrr.
I don’t know what pleased me more, the spot on Chewbacca noise that this 11 year old produced or the fact that he delivered that line when he did. Either way, it made my whole entire day. Because I didn’t know it yet, but yes, I did want to hear Chewbacca.
Whence working with a sea of prepubescent boys it is inevitable that feelings will arise. I have found that it is often best to pretend that I don’t know what it means to “like” like someone. This happened yesterday with my usual after school crowd.
Amid hushed voices and pointing and stolen glances in my direction:
8 Year Old: Miss Ellie! “A” said he likes you… [dissolves into uncontrollable laughter]
11 Year Old: Nuh uh! “V” said he likes you [laughter and nasty glare at 8 year old]
Me: Well that’s okay…because I like both of you!
8YO & 11YO: [in unison] Ewwwww.
11 YO: You’re disgusting.
Oh, so when I say it it’s gross? Got it.
A group of fourth graders approached the information desk this afternoon asking if I had any books on plant cells. The normal rigamarole of the reference interview unfolded and I discovered that they were doing their science homework. I suggested we check out the encyclopedia and see what we could find there…
Me: Do you guys ever use these books at school?
Kid #1: Um, I don’t think so…
Me: Okay, well they’re awesome for assignments just like this! You can look up your topic alphabetically and it has tons of information on all sorts of stuff.
Kid #2: [excitedly finding “leaf” entry] This is it! Ohmygod that’s the same picture in out homework! Look it has names of all the parts!
Kid #3: Ohmygod you have a google book!?!
Yes. I have a google book. Wonders of the library never cease.