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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