Last Fall I decided that we would commit to going to weekly storytime at our local library. We had gone sporadically in the past and the gals had always enjoyed it. They were in the 0-2 range, and there were never any expectations, so the gals just did their own thing and everyone had a ball. However, since they don’t go to daycare or preschool, I felt it might be good to add to our routine.
I was so excited to go on that first day. They had aged up to the 2-3 group and I was hoping that they might actually understand what was going on. The crowd was small that day. Some little ones looked a lot younger that my 2 year olds. Hmm. First tip-off that things might not go so well. Strike One.
There was some free play at the beginning and Madeline tried to interact with a girl around 18 months. The mother instantly said to Madeline “don’t touch her.” Ok, she wasn’t touching her, but that’s fine and I respected the mother’s wishes (there could have been a good reason why she didn’t want her child to be touched), apologized, and moved Maddie in another direction. Maddie does some laps in the crowd, mingles, then heads back in the small toddler’s direction. On her way she trips over that same mother’s outstretched leg. Goes flying. Shakes it off. The mother just glared at Maddie. Awesome. Strike Two.
Song time! Sing! Dance! The whole crowd loved it.
Another Song! Yay! This one has puppets! EVEN BETTER! But you guys, in this librarian’s head, it might have been a song, but you better sit down for this one. Because it was honestly too much for her. The gals were up and dancing, still reeling from the last song, and several other children were too. “I’m sorry, I have to stop” said the librarian. “I cannot concentrate and must have everyone sitting. I can’t go on until they do.” All said while staring in my direction.
COME ON! They are 2! You really expect them to be sitting the whole time???
We are done. Strike Three, we’re out.
I have a tendency to speak my mind in unjust scenarios, but that’s when I decided this just wasn’t for us. It wasn’t worth getting worked up over. We weren’t ready and that library had forgotten how kids work. I swooped up the Gals, apologized, while throwing in some sarcasm (come on, it’s me) as we left the building. Twitter talked me down off the ledge after that nightmare, but as far as I was concerned, we needed to take some time before we hit up the library again.
A few weeks ago, I got the notice that my library card was up for renewal, and since we no longer lived in that county, I decided to finally get one for our new address. The whole experience was night and day. As soon as I walked in and stated my business, the librarian showed us the kids area. The gals were free to roam and even, GASP, make noise! This library has a separate quiet room! Genius! While the gals played, I was shown around and issued my card. I even laughed with lady helping me about our last library experience and she was horrified that we had to go through that.
After I had gotten my new card, another librarian approached me because she saw I had kids. She let me know all about their children’s program, their storytime, and other fun activities that they held through the month. She even gave me a couple of tips on how to read to the gals to help them learn how to read in the future. After her invite to storytime, I shared my previous story again. She couldn’t believe that the librarian expected 2 year olds to actually sit for 30 minutes.
I felt so comfortable now! Not worried about how the gals would behave, I brought them to storytime yesterday. They made several laps around the library, played with the iPads, felt board, and tapped on the keyboard of a computer. They yelled and giggled. They ran away from me when I tried to herd them towards the storytime section.
Then the story started…and this magic happened.
One gal SAT DOWN. The other gazed over from the felt board, but was actually LISTENING and responding to the librarian’s questions.
It was amazing, and I actually have hope for these two rapscallions. They finished out the story, stayed for the song, and peaced out at the end during ribbon play (darn iPads).
So I’m calling it a success. The librarian was extremely nice, and encouraged us to come each week to create a routine. Now that we are actually welcome at a library, I plan on adding it to our regular schedule.
We are no longer storytime dropouts!
Now shopping at REI is another story…