Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Out and about

Us girls just got home from Storytime at our local library. They have a free program for the under 2 crowd called Cuddle Up & Read to Me. It's 20 minutes every Wednesday morning. Last week's theme was bugs, this week was animals by the pond, and next week is spring. The librarians read three stories that have to do with that week's theme, and then we sing songs. So far we've sung If You're Happy and You Know It, The Baby Hokey Pokey, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. For some reason I start to get all teary eyed when I'm singing them to Mo. And then I pretend to yawn to cover up the waterworks.


And we learned a new-to-me kids song (it's the first one in the medley above) called I Know a Chicken. The librarians pass out shaky eggs, and the older children shake them along with the music. I shake one on Mo's behalf. Good times.

A lady next to me asked how old is she and looked surprised/amazed/somethinged when I answered eleven weeks. I know that at this point Maureen isn't hanging on every word about the five little frogs sitting on the log, nor does she know how to clap yet. But she is looking very intently at the babies sitting nearest to us. And she is listening to the silly songs and the storyteller's voice. And she is being socialized and learning to observe and process chaos. Because there is a lot of chaos at Storytime. Or at least today there was.

Mo was the only baby-baby in attendance this week. The next youngest was sitting unsupported, and the rest were walking. While most of the grownups appear to be mommies, several were grandmothers. It seems like the grandmothers are more permissive about letting toddlers run around willy-nilly. I'm not going to be all judgey. No, scratch that. I AM going to be judgey. As difficult as it is to get a toddler to hold still for 20 minutes, practicing that skill is part of the point of Storytime. It's not like they are asked to hold perfectly still during a ninety minute economics lecture. No one segment is more than three minutes long, and between each book they get to dance and sing and shake eggs and whatnot.

I get that little ones are wiggly and easily distracted and have poor impulse control. But when the librarian was reading the third book today I couldn't hear the story. Maureen and I still don't know whether or not that duck got unstuck from the mud because the other children were running around and climbing the stage stairs and making grabs for the bag of shaky eggs and squealing and dragging their carpet squares behind them. And some of their grownups were trying to negotiate with them to be reasonable but in a halfassed sort of way, while the rest of their grownups just smiled stupidly after them, admiring the trail of auditory destruction in their wake.

(By writing that last bit I fear I have guaranteed that Mo and I will act out the exact same scene at Storytime next year.)

I tried to tune out the craziness and focus on Mo and the story. I think a skunk ultimately helped the duck--does that sound right? The grandmother on my right seemed like she wanted to chitchat, but I ignored her cues after our initial exchange. She plopped down on the floor next to me, exhausted before Storytime even began. Immediately the little boy made a beeline for the bag of eggs. Grandmother seated the girl on a carpet square and stuck a pacifier into the silent child's mouth saying, "Here, take this." (Don't get me started on my pacifier high horse.) So the little girl couldn't smile or squeal along with the music or anything. Then grandmother looked after her misbehaving grandson and told me how much she had been looking forward to him being this age, so she could do more fun things with him. "But then she came along," she gestured toward her granddaughter, "and it's just too much."


Way to let your infant granddaughter know what a disappointing burden she is right from the beginning.


old dog said...

Love that you are taking Mo to story time. It is the way that you grow an attention span also. Too bad the librarian doesn't lay down the law about the stories being for everyone to HEAR, and that out of control kids or parents, or GP's should move out of earshot.
If you missed the end of the book, check it out!

Anonymous said...

You rock! I couldn't agree more with all your judgey-ness and hopefully in TWO years when I'm sitting there at story time my sweet little perfect angel will be just that.

Hope to see you soon.