Lorraine Finch and her two children, Jared and Liza were going to story hour at the Library. Mrs. Etheridge, the librarian was a kind, older woman who had been reading stories to very young children for decades. During the last story hour, Jared had thrown a book at Mrs. Etheridge and knocked her glasses off.

“Remember Jared, be nice to Mrs. Etheridge and listen to the story.

No bad behavior this time,” Lorraine reminded him.

As they walked into the big, beautiful room, Mrs. Etheridge warmly greeted both children and their mother, and showed them the way to their spots on the green carpet. Then she held up the book.

“Once upon a time,” Mrs. Etheridge began, “there was a little monkey. His name was George.”

“Poop, poop, poop, pee, pee, pee, poop!” Jared chanted. Mrs. Etheridge stopped reading and looked at Jared. He laughed.

“Oh, Jared,” his mother said, “What can you say to Mrs. Etheridge? He didn’t mean any harm. He is just excited about the story. Curious George always has this effect upon Jared.”

Jared laughed louder. He didn’t do a thing to let Mrs. Etheridge know he felt even a little bit sorry. Liza began to whimper and Jared scooted over to a bin of books, dropping them one by one on the floor. The other children stared at him.

“Lorraine, please take your children out of the story hour. There will be a time when they will be able to listen and enjoy themselves, but today they are disturbing the others. “

Lorraine was unable to do anything but steer Jared out the side door. Mrs. Etheridge got the group’s attention back and in no time Curious George was being enjoyed fully.

In the hall, Jared ran to the drinking fountain. Putting his hand over the spout he made water spray all over. There was no way Lorraine could begin to wipe up the wet floor. Holding Liza in one arm, she grabbed Jared’s blue shirt and began to march him out to the car.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, Mommy, na-na-na-na-nah!” As Liza squirmed, Jared seized the moment to duck out of his mother’s grasp and run to the car. He stood in the road and stuck out his tongue at her.

A woman who was returning a bag of books took in the scene, put her tote bag down and offered to hold Liza. Without a word, Lorraine handed the little girl over and cornered Jared. She wrestled him into the car, silently vowing to not bring him to the library until he was thirty. Exhausted and grateful, she retrieved Liza from the young woman.

“I can’t thank you enough. I’m Lorraine Finch.”

“Happy to help. Jane Williams. If I can offer a suggestion, maybe just bring one child next time.”

“Well, they both wanted to come.”

“You’re the mother. This was a dangerous situation. And just so you don’t think I’m a total busybody, I’m a nursery school teacher, so I do know about children.”

“I’m beginning to think you are just what I need. Could we ever talk?”

“How about Thursday afternoon? The coffee shop in the library is cozy and quiet. Can you find a babysitter?”

“My mother in law will be in town so that works. Looking forward to it. Maybe you can give me a few pointers about my little man.”

As they were driving home, Jared grabbed Liza’s stuffed rooster and whipped it at his mother. She jumped a mile as it hit her cheek and dropped into her lap. Lorraine pulled the car to the side of the road.

“That was possibly the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. You could have made me drive off the road! We could have been in an awful accident.” She glared at Jared. “How could you do that?”

Liza stared wailing. Jared was quiet for once. As Lorraine started home again, she felt that being a mother might be too much for her.

Once home, she sent Jared to his room. “Take out your Legos,” she told him. “I need a little peace.”

Liza and she had a few quiet minutes looking at a book in the den before she heard a crash. Lorraine, holding Liza, went up the stairs to find Jared in her room, holding a bottle of perfume. Framed photographs were scattered on the floor.

“Your room! Go there and stay there!” She followed him to his room and closed his door firmly. “Don’t even dream of coming out!” As she went back downstairs, she could hear him kicking the door.

That night, Lorraine reviewed the day’s events in her head. “Why does he do horrible things all the time? How can I get him to behave?” She realized she needed advice, and looked forward to her meeting with Jane later in the week.

When Lorraine’s mother in law arrived Thursday morning, Jared greeted her. “Hello Nana, mana, sana, banana. I am a wolf and I am going to eat you.” He pulled on her pocketbook.

“Jared, please! Stop pulling,” Nana said. He yanked it away and threw it into the dining room. Lorraine retrieved it. “Sorry, Nana. Jared is a little keyed up to see you.”

After lunch, Lorraine got ready to meet Jane.

“Please don’t be long dear,” Nana said. “I really don’t think I can handle both children all afternoon. Jared just doesn’t listen to anything I say. I’m always afraid he will hurt Liza.”

“I know what you mean,” Lorraine sighed. “I’ll be quick.”

Lorraine is clueless as a mother. Her saving grace is that she knows she needs help and is willing to receive it. Jane can be a lifesaver for her. The timing is perfect for Nanny 911.

Written by – Anne Martine Cook, 40+ years experience teaching nursery school children.