Playdates, Playdates, Playdates Galore!

Since the end of Hula Girl’s dancing career, I have been working overtime to try to get her engaged in unstructured social events with her peers. We have had three official playdates and we have several more scheduled in the near future. I am determined that she will go back to dance class someday (she keeps telling me she will be ready to go after Christmas) and that when she goes she will interact with the other ballerinas and she will have a good time. So there.

Our first playdate after that fateful day was with a set of twins who attend our library’s storytime. They are about a half-year younger than Hula Girl. They have beautiful names and even more beautiful curly locks. It’s hard to tell them apart because their mom dresses them the same, but one of them is just slightly taller, so that helps. They really enjoyed the dress-up clothes.

Hula Girl has about 25 complete outfits for dress-up, thanks to my mom, Walmart’s post-Halloween sales, and my old across-the-street neighbor, Karen. She absolutely adores dressing up in her tutus, wings, tiaras, and shoes. She also really enjoys princess dresses, wands, and Fancy Nancy slippers. She is usually wearing at least one part of one costume at all times.

I recently put together a “closet” of sorts for her dress-up clothes. I built a PVC frame with a rod across the top for hangers. Then I made curtains for the whole thing out of a shower curtain that I got on sale at Ross. It took me about 2 hours, total. And it’s PERFECT. I will have to post a picture.

Anyway, the twins really loved dressing up! We had three little princesses, some cowgirls, a nurse, a mermaid, fairies, and cheerleaders in our playroom that day. Hula Girl is very excited to have another playdate with them soon.

Our next playdate was with a friend of mine from Bible study. She has two girls who sandwich Hula Girl age-wise; one is turning five soon and one is turning three. (She also has a cutie little three-month-old boy who looks just like a Butterball turkey! I love babies who haven’t lengthened out yet but are chunky and heavy already. So roly-poly and just plain squeezable!) Those girls came over and took over the playroom! They sat right down at the play table and served up a play feast in the kitchen! The elder girl, in particular, was great with Hula Girl. She invited Hula Girl to play, gave Hula Girl the pink plate/cup/silverware, and just interacted so well with her. Hula Girl was absolutely intrigued with this girl who is so brave and so talkative and NOT afraid to just play! There was a good deal of dressing up during this playdate, as well! The girls also got to have a treat of hot chocolate with their snack. I loved their manners, their imaginations, and their mom!

The last playdate we had was this week on Thursday. We went to the home of the same family, and another friend joined us. There were four little girls, one little Gelato, one little Butterball, and a teeny weeny 6-week-old baby girl in the house. Seven children, lots of giggles, and Hula Girl had SUCH a good time. She was afraid to go into the playroom for a while, but once she realized the other girls were very friendly and that Mommy was going to sit and talk and admire the BABIES the whole time, she became braver. I overheard her asking one of the littler girls (who is a full year younger than her) to play with her. That little girl is very similar in temperament to Hula Girl. She is very timid around others she doesn’t know yet, but she is boisterous once she gets to know someone. I have played with her at her own house a couple times, and she is just a sweetheart. (That little girl will be in Hula Girl’s Sunday school class tomorrow, so I am hoping that will help Hula Girl adjust!)

We are scheduled to play again with some other friends next Thursday, and we continue to go to storytime on Tuesday. I also had a babysitter come this morning and watch the kids while I went grocery shopping. My goal right now is to put Hula Girl in situations where she HAS to be social with lots of people besides me. She has been doing really well with it, and she tells me every time, “I want to stay with ______ a long time next time! I had so much fun!” I just wish she’d keep that in her head long enough to be brave from the beginning of every situation!

Minor Homeschooling Freakout

I’m starting to second-guess our decision to homeschool.

This morning I took Hula Girl to the library for storytime (Gelato stayed home with our amazing friend Joy who babysits the kids and they LOVE her, who was homeschooled by the way). We’ve been going to the same storytime at the same library for two years now. There are several families whose kids are around Hula Girl’s age and now they have littler ones who are around Gelato’s age.

We went to storytime in August just before our vacation, but we hadn’t been back for three weeks. And a lot changes in three weeks. First of all, there is a new storytime teacher. Miss Kirsten is no longer there, which makes us sad. But hopefully we’ll get used to someone new (with her newfangled ways of singing the ABC song and all!). Aside from that, the demographics today were just way different than ever before.

All the kids Hula Girl’s age were absent- gone to preschool. Their moms were chilling calmly with their younger kids and really enjoying the 1-on-1 time with their younger offspring. I asked several of the moms how the eldest kids were liking it, and how the family was adjusting, etc. One hundred percent of the moms said it was going really well and that their child loved it. One hundred percent of them also said it was hard getting used to having their child away, even if only a couple times each week.

This started two divergent lines of thinking in my head:

1. I am a terrible mother for not giving Hula Girl the opportunity to go away to school. I am depriving her of meaningful and fun experiences and she will miss out on all the “normal” things that her peers will reminisce about in college.

2. I feel bad for those kids who have to be sent away from their families to go to school, especially the ones whose moms aren’t working and just staying at home hangin’ out with their sibs.

The predominant thought was the first idea- that Hula Girl and Gelato are going to be deprived of something great by having to stay home with me all the time. And so now I’ve got myself worked up into a tizzy.

Because, let’s face it, it would be GLORIOUS to send my little chickadee off to 3 hours of supervised-but-not-by-me activities twice weekly.  She would have fun and learn, I’d get a break; win, win. And then as she gets older and goes into real school and Gelato gets into preschool, I’d get even more breaks. Win, win, win! And when they both get into school school, I’d get to go back and teach again! Win, win, win, win!

But is that really worth it to me? I want to be the #1 influence in their lives. I want to be the one making decisions about what they will learn and how. I want to be the one who knows their work styles and play styles best. I want to know what they’ve done all day. I want to know which friends they have been hanging out with. I want to know if anything has happened to make them feel uncomfortable or sad (or EXCITED or GLEEFUL, for that matter).

And I want them to learn from me and my mistakes. I guarantee Hula Girl will be a better cook than me- she has already started learning. And Gelato will definitely have a better ear for music than I do because I insist on his hearing it during a lot of his day.

Anyway, I am just feeling all wrinkly and prickly and disheveled and not-sorted-out right now about our schooling situation here. I think I’m also feeling a lot of hubris and trepidation and not-good-enough and can’t-even-handle-her-at-three-how-am-I-gonna-teach-her-until-she-graduates?!?!?!

And one more thing. This has NOTHING to do with this post, but I just have to say it. What’s worse than completing your entire P90X workout? Lifting your son out of his crib later. P90X Chest and Back=OW.

 

I’m a Bad Parent (a.k.a. M.Y.O.B.)

So this Tuesday we had a snowstorm. Of course, all eight inches are already melted and we aren’t expecting any more snow any time soon. Such is the weather in Colorado. Anyway.

Tuesday morning I woke up and saw that we had about a quarter inch of snow outside, and that more was falling. How exciting! I woke Hula Girl and told her there was a surprise for her outside. We opened the curtains and she rejoiced at the idea that she would get to eat some snow. As soon as we could manage it, we got all bundled up and headed outside for a romp. It was only a couple hours after I first woke up and looked out, but 4 more inches had already fallen. I shoveled a path from the front door to the car (ahem, Jonathan, the garage still needs to be cleaned out so I can park the car INSIDE!!!!), and then we headed back inside so Hula Girl could have her roomtime and I could nurse Gelato. I asked Hula Girl whether she would like to stay home and play in the snow or go to storytime. She debated for a while but she finally chose storytime. Fine.

On the way to storytime as I was driving on roads that were six inches deep (our little area of town does not get plowed due to some weird secession failure issues) and I stopped and called my mom to see if she thought I really should take the kids to storytime at all. She said go for it. We were already halfway there, and even if no one else was there, we could always go home. Fortunately when we pulled into the parking lot, I recognized three cars that belong to moms with toddlers. So I knew we’d at least get a mini playgroup if nothing else.

As I was getting Gelato out of the car (I always get him out first and put him in last- he’s a bit more “contained” than Hula Girl is at the moment), this random lady walked by me in one of those old long quilted coats, like the one my third-grade teacher wore every day to recess. She had a knit cap on her head and she was carrying a large satchel. And she said, “What the h— are you doing bringing your children to the library on a day like this?!?!?!”

I was flummoxed at first- I wasn’t sure if she was making a sideways comment about the weather being so terrible. After all, sometimes I do the same kind of thing. I’ll comment on something not extremely related to be kind of jokey about whatever situation I find myself in with a random stranger. (For example, when stuck in a slow checkout line, I might turn to the person in front of me and say something like, “Well, it’s not like we’re going to be watching the Broncos in the Super Bowl, so there’s really no need for us to hurry home!”) You know, just a little tension-breaker so that a) the clerk doesn’t feel so awful and rushed, which inevitably leads to mistakes and even LONGER waits, b) the other person doesn’t get all huffy and treat the clerk with disdain, and c) I have someone to talk to that is not 2.5 years old.

Anyway, I responded to her strange comment with a lighthearted, “Yeah, what was I thinking? This snow is crazy!” I thought she’d laugh with me and be on her merry way.

Wrong.

She continued on to tell me that she wouldn’t dream of endangering her dear children’s lives by taking them out on a day like this, that I was obviously lacking judgment, that I should be concerned about my driving skills, that I should worry about other people’s driving skills, that I should feel awful about forcing those poor children (who obviously HATE leaving the house in any kind of weather other than sunshine… NOT) to get dressed and go out when they should be peacefully nestled in their beds enjoying a nice long sleep-in. Obviously I am a terrible mother who is less than qualified and I need to get my priorities straight. After all, going out in such awful weather proves that I am very selfish and I really have no regard for my children’s needs, desires, feelings, or dreams. I am ruining my children forever by bringing them to storytime.

I kept a smile on my face. I remarked that I grew up here so I am used to the weather conditions. I explained that I felt confident in my driving skillz (and my avoiding other drivers skillz). I established the fact that my children had not, in fact, been begging to stay in bed; rather, they had both been awake since 5:30 a.m. Finally I said (quite winningly, I imagine), “Well, storytime waits for no one, so I had better get my kids inside! Have a nice day!”

The lady walked into the library in a huff.

Then came the penultimate nail in my “good mom” coffin. When Hula Girl gets in the car, I make her take off her coat to get strapped in. Then I turn it backward and put it over her arms so she stays warm. Safety first. Since we were literally less than twenty steps from the library doors, I let Hula Girl choose whether she wanted to wear her coat or leave it in the car. She chose to leave it in the car. Fine with me. As my little chickadee squeaked in through the rapidly-closing automatic doors, the snide woman turned to see what was happening… and said, “OH MY GOSH. SHE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A COAT?!!?”

M.Y.O.B., Self-Appointed Library-Monitor. M.Y.O.B.

We Got out of the House! (and we weren’t thrown out the window.)

Well, library storytime has started back up again after our August break. As you may know, storytime is Hula Girl’s absolute favorite outing. She looks forward to Tuesdays all week long. In fact, when we’re in normal “storytime routine” (meaning we haven’t taken a month off), she will ask me daily, “When is Tuesday? When is storytime?”

So of course we couldn’t miss the opportunity to see our favorite friends.

Also, I am determined that Gelato will have more flexibility in his life than Hula Girl had.

With those two goals in mind, Hula Girl and I took our time getting ready for storytime this morning. We worked around the house, putting dinner in the crock pot, putting the clean dishes away and reloading the dishwasher, putting away some laundry, stocking the diaper bag, and cleaning the kitchen counters. She is such a little helper these days! (I can’t wait to write her 27-month summary post. That will be up on Saturday.)

Once we were dressed, had hair brushed and styled, had our “faces on” (I wore mascara and lip gloss; Hula Girl stuck to the lip gloss only), had our shoes on, went potty one last time, and filled our water bottles, it was finally time to wake up “Edoo Buh-buh.” Hula Girl came upstairs with me and “helped” by rocking the car seat by the handle while I grabbed some diapers out of the drawer.

Gelato does not like his car seat. I mean, if you think of it from his point of view, you probably wouldn’t like it, either. Every time he has to go in it, he is woken early from a nap, too early to eat again, but far enough from his last meal to allow his tummy to be slightly empty. He is denied food. He is denied the comfort of his warm blankets swaddling around him. Then he is shoved into this crazy contraption that wrenches around his shoulders and belly and snaps really loudly and keeps him in a semi-upright position. And this thing, we might mention, is so hot it feels like it might be a pizza oven. So of course he starts sweating the second his head hits the padding.

So of course Gelato cried. All. the. way. to. the. library. And all the way into the library, and all the way through the library, until we finally got to the storytime room. Then I nursed him, and he got distracted by the lights, and he was quiet for a minute. Or two. Then he was unhappy again because “someone threw off his groove.” (“I’m sorry, but you’ve thrown off the Emperor’s Groove.”) He’d like to have me thrown out the window. (By the way, has anyone else noticed that the little old man’s voice is the same as Piglet’s?!?!) “Beware the grooooooove…”

Anyway, storytime wasn’t the greatest outing for the three of us. But Hula Girl did get to see all her regular friends, and I got to see all their moms. I really enjoy these ladies! There is just one more mom who’s pregnant, and once she has her son, there will be FOUR baby boys in storytime with their older siblings! I can’t wait! It really is fun to finally be around some real people who have children nearly the same ages and stages. (Even though I do NOT regret having virtual friends one bit!)

When we got home, I put Hula Girl in roomtime and then nursed Gelato to sleep (another no-no in our normal daily life, but hey, live a little, right!?). Then Hula Girl painted a masterpiece while I made her lunch. All in all, a good morning.

I can’t wait for the day when Gelato outgrows his hatred of his car seat. I hope it’s soon!

 

Whew!

I was ready for naptime today.

I had my OB/GYN appointment this morning. The card on my fridge reads “Tuesday, March 20, 8:20 a.m.” Jonathan likes to go to all the appointments with me. He is really involved with his children. My mom usually comes and watches Hula Girl during appointments so that she doesn’t have to sit and be bored in the office. However, my mom also works on Tuesdays, so she wasn’t able to watch Hula Girl today. That meant that Jonathan took some time off work in the morning so that he could be here with Hula Girl when she woke up, to get her ready for the day and feed her breakfast. We figured that I’d be out of my appointment by 9, so he would have plenty of time to get to work by 10.

Ahem. We figured wrong. I showed up, signed in, and the normal receptionist was not at her desk. A different one was there, but she said, “She’ll be back to check you in in just a minute.” Okay. Then she decided that she could actually just do it herself. She looked through a folder for my paperwork and then looked on the computer screen for a schedule of the day. I wasn’t in the folder or on the screen. What?!

The first receptionist came back and tried to find me. I still didn’t exist. But then they pulled out my file and found that I was scheduled for an appointment last Friday. Um, that’s not what my card said. Furthermore, since I didn’t show, I was going to be charged a fee for a “No Show”. At that point, I said, “Um, the card on my fridge says my appointment is today. At 8:20.” And the first receptionist said, “Well, the doctor has a well-woman check scheduled at that time. We can put you in at 8:40.”

Fine. I’ll stay an extra 20 minutes.

8:40 rolled around, then 9:00, and finally 9:20. Seven other women were called out of the waiting room into the back while I waited. Seven. I went up to the desk and said, “I’m sorry, I must be having a pregnancy brain day. Did you say 8:40 or 9:40?” She smiled at me and said, “8:40, but of course we have to get in all the patients who were scheduled and who were here before you.” I had to bite my tongue at Snarky Receptionist Girl. Then I told her, “Well, my husband will have to bring my daughter by on his way to work then. Please let him know that he is free to come find me when he arrives. I’m sure I’ll be in an exam room by then.”

So I called Jonathan and told him to bring Hula Girl over since I would certainly not be ready to leave anywhere near on time.

Finally I was called back, at 9:35. I was weighed (ugh, pregnancy makes you gain weight at a crazy rate), and then the nurse took my blood pressure. She apologized for the confusion with the appointment and made it clear that the person who was doing the scheduling was let go since she had a habit of scheduling appointments but not writing them in, and then just trying to remember all of them at the end of the day. Apparently I’m not the only one whose appointment was mixed up.

After the nurse left, the doctor came in and checked the baby’s heartbeat. Everything’s good. I told her that I could actually see Gelato moving around in there, which I thought was weird for only being 20 weeks along. She thought it was great and said, “You’ve got a feisty one!”

I left the office and met Jonathan and Hula Girl in the parking garage. We swapped cars and then Hula Girl and I left to go to storytime. We didn’t make it to the 10:00 one, but we did make it in time to see some of our friends come out as we were heading in to the 10:30.

Hula Girl did not participate as she normally does- she was much quieter and clingier. I thought it was quite weird. Then I realized she’d been up kind of late last night. We put her to bed at 7:45, but she talked to herself until almost 9. (It is common for kids her age to start staying awake long into the night and generally does not signify anything is wrong. However, it does mean that parents need to be sensitive to their lack of sleep and try to make up for it in naps and early bedtimes.)

By the time we got home from storytime, she was throwing mini tantrums left and right. And then… it happened. The tantrum of tantrums. Over what? Stuffed animals.

Hula Girl has specific “upstairs toys” and “downstairs toys”. We rotate them frequently so that she can have a new set of toys to play with in different areas of the house, but she knows that most downstairs toys stay downstairs and most upstairs toys stay upstairs. Today, however, she decided that she wanted to climb upstairs to independent playtime with all of her downstairs stuffed animals: moose, tiger, elephant, doggie, Valentine Bear, Pooh Bear, teddy bear, and Elmo. Instead of having her struggle and fall down the stairs, or hand me all those silly things, I told her, “Why don’t we leave most of  your animals downstairs to rest and wait for you. You can take one animal and Mommy will take one more.”

She was not okay with that idea. She kept trying to climb the stairs with this huge load of plush critters and when I’d pull her down again she’d get madder and madder. Finally she threw them all down and flopped on top of them, screaming her lungs out and crying the hugest tears imaginable. This lasted for about 2 minutes until I picked her up along with her two favorites, Pooh and doggie, and carried all three of them upstairs.

When we got to her room, she fell down on the floor and screamed and cried some more. I got very involved in watching the wind whipping the scrubby grass outside. It was so interesting that I even forgot that Hula Girl was there until she calmed down. 😉

We had no further meltdowns between independent playtime, lunch, and nap. But I am beat. And it’s only halfway through the day!

*I was talking to a new friend of mine, Chelsea, who is also pregnant, at storytime. I told her we were late because of the scheduling snafu. She said she’s experienced the same thing at that office, and that they’re generally really slow anyway. We both mentioned that we’d considered switching offices due to their really really slow staff and long waiting room times, but we both know that there’s really no other choice in this area. So, here’s to always scheduling on a day when my mom is free!

Hiatus Over (It’s a Long One!)

As pointed out today by Chelsea, I have not blogged in a while. Funny thing about pregnancy brain is that I really truly thought I hadn’t blogged in 3 days. But then I realized it’s actually been two weeks. Oops. Guess I’m a bit behind. I was napping some days, but other days I was reading a book series. Now I’m reading The Help just because I’ve heard it’s good. Yes, reading frequently distracts me from other things in life, like this blog.

Let’s see… what have we been up to around here?

The weather has been absolutely fantastic for the past week. Punxsutawney Phil was wrong wrong wrong when it came to our outlook this spring. We definitely got maybe a couple extra weeks of winter, but we’re certainly in spring mode now. All week long the temperatures have been in the 70s and  the skies have been sunny and cloud-free. It’s even been less windy- dare I say mildly breezy- all week long. Hula Girl and I have been taking advantage of this weather and we’ve been on the go!

Monday was our trip to the YMCA, where Hula Girl splashes around in the Pirate Pool. Unfortunately the Pirate Pool was closed. I think they replaced all the water in the pool and the water temperature was only 78°. Brrr. So we kicked around the big pool and the lazy river, but Hula Girl was very sad that she couldn’t run around and splash as she normally does.

Tuesday was storytime as usual. A funny thing that happened here was that Hula Girl and I got a chance to practice her obedience. We were headed out the door of the children’s section to the checkout machines. She started to run. I called her by name and said, “Come here.” She did not listen. So I got out the big guns. “Uh, oh.” Yes, it took those two little words spoken in an almost-singsong voice to get her to stop in her tracks and turn to face me. Then I said again, very firmly, “Come here.” She smiled, came running over to me, and hugged me. I knelt down to her level and said (whispered), “When mommy says, ‘Come,’ you come. Say, ‘Yes, Mommy.'” She said, “Ye-thhhh, MO-mmy!” Then we walked on, holding hands. The librarian watching the whole scene smiled and said, “She’s so obedient!” Why yes, Ms. Librarian Lady, she is. Thank you for noticing. We’ve worked HARD to keep her that way!

Wednesday was our hang-around-the-house day. Hula Girl woke up Wednesday morning with a runny nose. She had also woken up numerous times in the night just kind of whining. Great, she’s sick, I thought. I was quite disappointed. We played outside a bit and played inside a lot (with the windows open). I put her down for her nap early, and lo and behold, she slept for… 1 hour, tops. Greeeeaaaat… I will say that Wednesday provided me one of the more pleasurable experiences in my week. When I put Hula Girl down for her nap that day, I put on a swimsuit, slathered myself in sunscreen, and laid out on my balcony overlooking the reservoir and read a book. Those of you who know me in person are thinking, How long did that last?! Yes, it was totally unlike me, and I will rarely do it. But it seemed like a great idea at the time. And I’m pretty sure I got some good vitamin D. After all, I was using the horrible sunscreen left over from last summer. (I will try to find the post and link that one here soon.)

Thursday dawned and Hula Girl didn’t seem so sick after all. She only had a few whining sessions the previous night, and was silent after 10. No runny nose, just slight congestion. Therefore we deemed it necessary to have a visit from Grammy, who accompanied us to the park. Oh, the glorious sunshine.

Today we had another bum-around day but we also visited the playground at the elementary school near our house. Have I mentioned that schools around here are on a 4-day-a-week schedule? SO nice for their teachers, but really, how do the kids learn anything?! Their year is not very much longer than traditional school years. My neighbor tried explaining it to me one day by saying that her kids are in school longer each day. Based on the times she provided me, her kids are in school exactly 6 hours less each week than my students were when I was teaching. I can’t imagine teaching everything I taught with 6 hours per week less time to teach! So, maybe not so nice for their teachers. Hmmm… Anyway, we visited the playground here and Hula Girl got her kicks swinging and sliding and collecting rocks. Cool.

As far as generalities for Hula Girl go, she’s getting so much more grown-up these days. She’s talking much more clearly, she’s attempting to pronounce words accurately (hence the Ye-thhhh, Mommy!), she’s able to name and identify all her colors. We’ve been working on letters and numbers here and there, and her letter flashcards (index cards on which I wrote the letters of the alphabet in purple marker; high-tech stuff only in my house! lol) are her favorite possession. Of course, this morning she tried to wash the “o” and now it’s a blob. But she loves those flashcards. She has really been great about using the potty. We have had some accidents here and there, but we’ve cut out all rewards for going potty. She stopped asking for them, and I am not going to remind her. 🙂 I think her new reward is getting to wash her hands. She would spend hours standing on her step stool in the bathroom, washing her hands and toys, if I let her. Sometimes I turn on the water in there (she can’t reach the faucet- just the water stream) and tell her to wash her hands because I need a few kid-free minutes in the kitchen. She’ll poke her little head out the door and say, “Hi, Mommy! Wah-ans!” (Wash hands!). She’s really quite proud of herself. And let’s face it, water’s fun.

My pregnancy is going well. Yesterday marked 20 weeks. So, halfway there… or MORE than halfway if I get my way. I’d like to deliver a week early this time. Hula Girl was induced on her due date and arrived one day late. I want to feel what it’s like to actually go into labor. I’m doing some research on natural birthing methods. I’m not sure I could actually handle it all-natural (I mean, that epidural really made things easy last time), but I kind of like the idea of at least going through most of labor in an upright position (unlike last time, when I was forced to lay on my left side for 14 hours straight). Actually, now that I’ve written the last two sentences, I think I will just do a separate post on that topic once I have done more research and have more to say about it.

As far as the pregnancy goes, some fun things have been happening. I had already been feeling Gelato moving around in there for a few weeks, but now Jonathan has been able to feel it from the outside. And today as I have been sitting here writing this post, I have actually seen my stomach move a few times when Gelato’s given a particularly hard twitch. None of it actually hurts yet, so I know Gelato’s still quite little.  I actually threw up this morning out of the blue. I haven’t had nausea for weeks, but after gulping half of my glass of supercold water, I just had to do it. So weird. I felt fine afterward, so I just took it more slowly the next time around.

I have been having some aches and pains in my back and hips. I have also been hot. I am kind of not looking forward to our summer here, where it’s expected to be in the 90s and 100s every day from May to October. But my plan is still in place to laze around in the baby pool in the shade of the house every day while Hula Girl naps. Maybe the nice breeze/wind will help cool me off a bit, too.

Okay, I will be posting more frequently again. Pinky promise. Then you won’t have to read mountains of information all at once. 🙂

Doh-dee-mime Success!

Well, this week’s storytime provided me plenty of reasons to chuckle.

Remember last week’s storytime?

This week was pretty much the polar opposite. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the library with Hula Girl was a brand-spankin’-new poster, the size of the window in the door, stating:

Our Storytimes have Changed!

Bumblebees (0-15 months) Mondays at 10

Time for Tots (15 months – 3 years) Tuesdays at 10 and 10:30

Something Cutesy that I can’t Remember (3-5 years) Wednesdays at 10

Yes, they reprinted the poster, made it about 4 times as large, and stuck it right there on the front door of the children’s wing. Teehee.

The next thing that made me feel giddy was today’s handout. The theme listed at the very top was “Quiet” and the sign language showed the sign for quiet. Our books for the day were The Quiet Book and Shhhhh. I am pretty sure Miss Kirsten was planning to follow last week’s “Noise” theme with this week’s “Quiet” theme anyway, but it just made today’s theme seem so ironic.

There was one part of storytime that frustrated me- the loud discussion held by some moms prior to the start of storytime. They were talking about last week and how one mom’s children were the ones to blame for the pandemonium. I will admit, one mom did bring in 4 of those boys over 4, but that does not mean that the other moms then have the right to discuss her parenting style, children’s behavior, or rights without her present. I think I have not noticed much “mom gossip” because I have intentionally kept Hula Girl and myself mostly at home during her life (even though I am well aware that it exists everywhere- after all, these are the same ladies with whom we all went to high school and if gossip reigns there, why would it stop when we all grow up?). It just really bugged me that these ladies felt the need and the right to have that very demeaning conversation right then and there, including acting out scenes and pretentiously describing “What I would have done….” Sigh. Women, who should be kind and patient with one another, and who should be able to lean on each other for advice and ideas about raising these kiddos, are just plain cruel sometimes.

Anyway, on with the success part.

Hula Girl participated! She has always been a watcher and observer at storytime. Each week we sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” and do the hand motions. There is also a “Let’s get Ready for Storytime” song. I have tried to move her arms and hands along with the others for a while now, but she isn’t really interested. However, all this week, she’s been wanting to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle” at home and she’s been practicing the hand motions. We do it at every meal, and at least 10 other times throughout the day. Apparently all that practice boosted her confidence, because when it was time for “Twinkle, Twinkle”, she was ready. She had her little hands up and made the best little diamond she could possibly make. It looked like she was clenching her fists together, but she tried!

And when it was time to get the shakers, she walked over to Miss Kirsten but didn’t take a shaker. Evie asked her mom to come with her, and I suggested that she show Hula Girl what to do. She happily agreed, but then Hula Girl still wouldn’t reach in and take one. I had to go help her with that. I think next week, given the opportunity, she’ll know what to do. But when it was time to put the shakers away, I said, “Go put your shaker back in the box!” and she ran over there and put it in, then danced in the middle of the carpet until I asked her to come sit down. That’s my girl!

Of course, she chose her same spot, on the “U”.

After the official storytime was over, we were coloring (again-success! Hula Girl got to color as long as she wanted- she didn’t try to stick a crayon in her mouth!) and the moms were talking more than usual. Another mom and I were talking to Evie’s mom about her pregnancy (she’s due in June). The other mom has an almost-2-year-old boy. She is new to the storytime, but she was very friendly and outgoing. I finally got up the courage to talk a little more to her after we got out of the storytime room, and I asked her how she meets people and/or finds activities in the area, since we’re new and I’ve had very little success. She said she’s newer and has faced the same struggles, and that she’s thinking of just starting her own playgroup. YES! She’s also a member at the Y (we’re planning to become members soon, too), and she said there’s a lot going on there. Another YES!

We exchanged numbers and she just texted me asking if we want to join her and her son for a picnic at the playground after next week’s storytime (weather permitting)! I am very very excited, since this is our first real planned “playdate” since we’ve moved here. I sure hope the weather stays nice like it has been for a few weeks.

So, all in all, doh-dee-mime success. Wouldn’t you agree?

 

Doh-dee-mime Fail

Every morning when Hula Girl wakes up, the first thing she asks me, is “Doh-dee-mime?” She loves storytime at the library so very much, and it only happens once a week, on Tuesdays. So every morning, I say, “Yes, I know you love storytime! We’ll go on Tuesday!” Of course I know that she doesn’t actually understand the concept of Tuesday. But I tell her every day anyway!

Today, being a Tuesday, was different. She woke up, asked, “Doh-dee-mime?” and I was able to smile at her and reply, “Yes, we’re going to storytime today! It’s Tuesday!” What a thrilling answer! She smiled and told me that she was excited to see the kids.

Storytime starts at 10, but if you’re one of the cool toddlers, you show up with your Mommy at 9:45, because all the cool toddlers like to hang out and gawk at each other for fifteen minutes. (Another alleged reason for arriving at 9:45 is so that the Mommies can milk an extra 15 minutes out of a fun activity that breaks up a rather long and repetitive week. Not that this reason is accurate or necessary…) Since the library is 10 minutes away, that means we don’t leave the house until 9:35. And 2 hours is a long time to fill when Hula Girl is 19 months old and can’t wait to get to storytime.

Here’s a little breakdown of the pre-storytime timeline from this morning***:

  • 7:30 wake Hula Girl, get her dressed
  • 7:42 come downstairs, start breakfast
  • 7:53 strap Hula Girl into high chair, eat breakfast
  • 8:01 done with breakfast, try to cajole Hula Girl into eating more
  • 8:03 brush teeth
  • 8:06 go to living room and pull out new lacing beads
  • 8:07 find new activity- train- as lacing beads are just not interesting
  • 8:08 find new new activity- finger painting- since train is  boring
  • 8:22 stop fingerpainting since Hula Girl put paint in her mouth and that means we have to stop (immediate logical consequence!)
  • 8:32 go upstairs to put away Hula Girl’s laundry in her room
  • 8:45 come back downstairs and try to grab Hula Girl’s attention with books- unsuccessfully- so just end up reading baby books aloud while Hula Girl wanders around playing with toys
  • 8:54 Hula Girl asks me to play with her- I do- as soon as I get there, she leaves
  • 8:55 decide Hula Girl didn’t eat enough for breakfast and strap her into her high chair for a midmorning snack of blueberries and yogurt
  • 9:02 unbuckle Hula Girl from her high chair since she wasn’t hungry at all
  • 9:03 actually capture Hula Girl’s attention with some books
  • 9:20 start getting ready to leave for the library
  • 9:34 strap Hula Girl in to the carseat and leave

***Now, let’s remember that Hula Girl is still recovering from her illnesses, and so this morning’s timeline is not quite accurate for most days. I can usually find an activity or two to hold her attention for longer than 2 minutes at a time. However, she was in a funky funky mood today, and it was wonderful to realize that we could finally start getting ready to leave the house at 9:20.

We arrived at storytime just a bit before it began (due to some unforeseen parking lot traffic) and we were shocked by the number of toddlers who were there. Normally there are about 8 or 9 children there, all under the age of three. Not today, my friends. Today, there were 16 children, most of whom were boys, over the age of four. What their parents were thinking, bringing them to “Toddler Storytime,” is beyond me. Hula Girl was in heaven. She loves kids. But not only that. She adores boys. She had the time of her life walking up to each and every child there and saying hi this morning. 

As soon as we were called into the story room, Hula Girl walked in, said, “Bee-boo,” (thank you) to Miss Kirsten, who was holding the door, and sat down on her favorite spot- the letter U. The alphabet rug is really a genius invention. All the kids get their favorite letters. For the older kids, who can spell their names, it’s exciting to sit on “their” letter. For kids like Hula Girl, who only know a handful of letters by sight, it’s exciting to recognize the same (albeit obscure) letter each and every time and sit on it. The only issue arises when kids share the first letter of their name. Madison and Megan had a fight about who gets to sit on “M” the other week until Megan’s mom said Megan might sit on “N” because it’s the last letter in her name. About halfway through storytime, however, Madison decided she  should be on “N” since her name ends in “N”. Nice try, Mom!

Anyway, as soon as we sat down by “U” the kids came streaming in. Miss Kirsten, who runs the storytime each week, looked a bit surprised at the sheer number of bouncy little chubby faces and did her best not to freak out. Unfortunately, each week’s books and themes are chosen pre-storytime and Miss Kirsten has a schedule sheet that lists song lyrics and that day’s sign language for parents. Usually this is good. However, today, Miss Kirsten was in Trouble, with a capital T.

This week’s theme: Noise.

This week’s books: Shout! Shout it Out! and The Loud Book!

This week’s demographics: 5 girls under 2, 3 girls between 2 and 6, and 11 boys ages 2-6.

See, Trouble.

Hula Girl was pretty much terrified of the boys during the first book. At this time, the boys decided to have a contest to see who could “Shout it out!” the loudest. I am pretty sure the little boy sitting right next to us won. Hula Girl chose to move onto my lap. The little girl behind us, who is almost three and has not worn anything but her princess dress since Santa gave it to her on Christmas, informed her mommy that “the other kids are being very noisy.” Her mommy and I exchanged looks and contemplated leaving and starting our own storytime with the theme of “quiet” at Starbucks.

After the shouting match, the boys lost all interest, and Miss Kirsten lost all control. Hula Girl did her best to follow along, but she is so quiet and young compared to the other children, that she was almost overlooked when Miss Kirsten was handing out the shakers. My poor little girl was standing in the middle of the rug all alone, holding her hand out to receive a shaker, and Miss Kirsten didn’t even notice. I had to politely ask for one. Then the first thing Hula Girl did was put the shaker in her mouth. DOH! If that weren’t enough, Hula Girl almost didn’t get to put her shaker back in the box since Miss Kirsten was too preoccupied with keeping the big boys from trampling a little 10-month-old girl. She politely stood there holding out her shaker and waiting for the box to pass her by. When that didn’t happen, she put out her lip and hung her head, but kept her hand out in front of her. Finally, the little princess girl, Evie, took Hula Girl’s hand and walked her over to where Miss Kirsten had placed the shaker box on the floor. I decided right then and there that Evie’s mom and I MUST start our own storytime. Hula Girl should hang out with kids like Evie more often!

The craft activity today was absolutely ridiculous, too. It was two full-sized, front and back worksheets, containing counting, matching, and writing practice. Um, hello, your advertisement says, “Toddler Storytime for Kids ages 18 months-3 years.” Really? These kids should not be learning how to write in cursive yet. And their parents shouldn’t be hovering over their shoulders  and encouraging them to draw straight lines from the “M” to the monkey. As if. I told Hula Girl to just color. Unfortunately, she put the crayon in her mouth, and that was the end of craft time for us. (Immediate, logical consequence!)

All in all, storytime was much worse than it normally is. Hula Girl did not talk about it much on the way home. She usually repeats everything that happens, telling me, “Did, boy, dee, muh, nin non, dah dah,” (kids, boys, girls, books, sing songs, color). Today, all she said was, “Out! Out! Boy out!” (Shout! Shout! Boy shout!) and then she started talking about her car toys.

I’m still not sure whether she realized today was not as fun as it usually is. She didn’t necessarily want to leave, but she never puts up a fight about that anyway. I just hope it didn’t ruin her excitement about storytime in the future. Have your kids ever had a major disappointment about an event, but then recovered at another time afterward? I’m hoping this is salvageable.

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