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Reality Check: Acting Up at Library

Q. My toddler and I have loved going to story hour at the library, but lately she's been acting up. Should I stick it out or try a new activity?

Toddlers have the attention spans of fleas, and they squiggle and wiggle and get loud and fussy even when they're not bored, much less when they'd rather be somewhere else. If yours is happier pulling the books off the shelves than listening to the storyteller, it may be time to spend your mommy-and-me time somewhere else.

Yes, this stinks for you, because libraries are mothers' best friends. Mari and Lila spent quite a few afternoons being entertained by the sweet, energetic storytellers at our local library. But all good things come to an end, and the library became a less frequent stop when Lila decided the toilet tissue in the library's bathroom was way more interesting than anything anyone ever wrote.

It was then that I figured out that my efforts -- much like their toys -- had to be freshly rotated to keep the girls engaged and interested. Luckily, toddlers are easily amused, so you don't have to splurge on entertainment. Take a walk around the block and point out the flowers and bugs, or go to the produce section in the grocery store or farmers market and pick out different colors and shapes and things that smell nice. The point is to mix it up so your toddler feels like she's having a new experience.

Not that this will keep her from cutting up -- but it should help. She may even be up for revisiting story hour sometime.