You may or may not know this, but for the first two years of Juliet's life, I never stepped foot in the library.
Not even once.
I avoided the library because I had no idea that babies were allowed inside and I was desperately afraid of her making a peep while I was inside.
I had no idea that there was an entire second floor complete with climbing train, couches, kids books, and a ton of screaming/crying/flailing/manical toddlers wreaking havoc upon the stacks that my one baby would hardly make a difference.
We did not enter the library until a few months after Juliet turned two.
And at that point, she was walking, talking, and could understand some reason. I could tell her to stay next to me, to speak quietly, and to please not climb on top of the bookshelves. Mostly, she would listen and we could get in and out in a reasonable amount of time. (i.e. before she lost interest in following my rules and begin to instate her own.)
With my second child, Lucia, I didn't have the luxury of waiting till she was two before taking her to the library. We were already addicted to our weekly supply of kids books and we simply HAD to go.
Before she could crawl, I could strap her on my back via baby carrier or baby wrap. Sometimes we would go with the stroller.
Then came the phase where I tried to just carry her in and let her roam a bit. (I had eased up a bit and lost a bit of my fear of having a child make a scene in the library as there were so many other kids in there making scenes already.)
But that ended quickly as my second child was a bit more adventurous than my first had been. I spent more time trying to find her than looking for books, so we went back to the stroller.
Now that Lucia is almost two, she has very strong opinions about being strapped down in the stroller while big sister walks about in complete freedom.
And while I do sometimes let her out, it generally ends up with me having to pull her down from the top of the rocking chair or picking up a stack of books that she has de-shelved.
So, to get the job done quickly (get my books and get out before meltdown occurs), I must strap her into the stroller. And at this point, "hold mommy's keys for me" just doesn't do the trick anymore.
So, I have resorted to bribery.
Yes, that's right.
Straight up bribery.
Of the candy variety.
I find lollypops work the best as they take awhile to be eaten and generally keep the mouth otherwise occupied. (and by occupied, I mean quiet.)
I found a nice box of "natural" lollypops at Trader Joes this weekend and put them straight to work this morning.
After about ten minutes of playing on the train and reading books with her sister, I called Lucia over to me.
Me: Lucia, it's time to go now. I need to get some books and check them out so we can go home. Would you like to get into the stroller for me?
Lucia: NO!! (while running away)
Me: (not worried in the slightest) But Lucia, darling, how would you like to have a lollypop?
Lucia: (turning to look and me and running towards me grinning and nodding enthusiastically) Yes! Yes! YES!
Me: Well, sweetie, you'll have to get in the stroller, and THEN I'll give you the lollypop.
Lucia: Okay, mama!
And the little darling hopped right in.
I'm guessing her dentist will not approve of my methods, but for now, it's all I've got!
How do you manage the library with small children? Any tips?