Yesterday I took Toddler to her first “story time” at our local library. I left sweaty and exhausted, OF COURSE I DID. Doesn’t everyone?
“It’s like, the easiest activity ever!” I’ve been told by other moms. So story time should’ve been a treat, but it wasn’t. As a toddler, Preschooler had sensory issues that made even a quiet group of children overwhelming. I tried two story times, and each time she’d be an inconsolable mess ten minutes into the activity.
Despite that experience, I went to story time with Toddler in high hopes. Toddler didn’t have such sensory issues, and she loved looking at books and playing games like “Where Is Thumbkin” at home. So off we trekked to the library.
We entered the big story time room with about fifteen other mothers and children. A semi-circle of carpet squares were set up, one for each child. I claimed a teal blue square smack in the middle, and set up camp. Then I attempted to have Toddler sit on my lap. This was a mistake.
She howled. She did not want to sit still. She would not, could not on my lap. She would not, could not on the square. She would not, could not anywhere.
Story time began with a softly sung song that presented the opportunity for each mother and child to introduce themselves. Toddler sobbed and flailed louder than ever. I got sympathetic looks from the other mothers, but my kid was still the only one entering full tantrum mode. And once she’s in tantrum mode there’s no big red emergency button to press for her to stop. Like the Energizer Bunny, I have to leave the premises (or go up to her bedroom at home) while she slowly winds herself down.
I was almost set to leave when I decided that maybe I’ll just let her walk around. But the minute she starts destroying something, we’re out of here.
Letting her walk helped a bit. She wandered around the extremities of the room. She crawled under a table. She walked around the semi-circle of kids, stopping at each kid “duck, duck, goose” style, thankfully without the requisite pat on the head. By the way, for any readers in MInnesota it’s “duck, duck, goose,” not “duck, duck, gray duck.” Get with the picture.
Despite this, I had to chase after her every minute or two to prevent her sticking her fingers into electrical sockets, tearing books off the bookshelves, or crawling in the librarian’s lap to snatch the book out of her hands. I was starting to sweat from the sheer exertion of distracting her.
After the story, there were some songs and gross motor activities ala “Head, shoulders, knees and toes.” Toddler would slow down every minute or two to reach for the sky and do a little dance. Despite this, I still had to chase her arounds the room to prevent her from causing any further damage to herself and others.
Finally, the librarian brought out two big bins of books and foam letters for the kids to play with. The other kids naturally started flinging foam letters and books out of the bins, and my kid? My kid starts picking up the books and letters, and putting them back into the bin.
She might not be able to sit still for hell or high water, but she is a pretty good picker-upper. I lucked out in that department.
So we’ll try story time again next week, but this time I’m wearing jogging shoes and extra deodorant.
It’s for the best.