Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ode to my Wednesday Story Time...

Two months have passed since I led my last  Preschool Story Time, and I feel like I can and should spend a few minutes on my own personal soap box to tell you my thoughts. We'll call it my Ode to Story Time...or Why I Enjoyed Panicking Over Pinterest Every Other Week.

I really wish that when my kids were young we would've lived close to a Library that had a weekly story time. While living in Europe I did my best to teach my children to love literature...but they really missed out on the group nature and...camaraderie of the gathering that is Story Time. I must've done something right because they are both big readers, but they never had the opportunity to fight for a particular spot on the rug with a bunch of other munchkins, or had the book they were dying to check out snatched from their hands by another kid. Or for that matter, been asked "Are you stupid or something?" by another 4 year old. Those are important growing moments. But I digress...

For almost 4 years I shared the weekly story time responsibilities at my library with "the boss". She loves story time just as much as I do, but we both had themes we were partial to, so sharing worked out best for us. I got the dog and Mardi Gras themes...she got nursery rhymes and monsters (The Monster at the End of This Book with Grover was a favorite of both of ours). We went about our craft picking slightly different. She was great at coming up with original ideas, many using clothes pins...while I gravitated towards labor intensive Pinterest style crafts usually with roughly 5,000 paper pieces to cut out. Initially, I prepped my crafts myself...but after I moved into the cataloging position I was told to delegate prep to the aids. (Insert Snidely Whiplash laugh here) Right now my friend Kat should be snorting over the elaborate prep work I used to task her with! I learned that not all adults have good scissor skills...and I loved when the parents asked if we had to cut "all those circles ourselves?!?". Good times...

But really...I was in it for the kids. I loved seeing these little ones come in first as bitty things who would sit in their mom's lap and not pay an ounce of attention to what I was reading. They would make noise, and watch the big kids with every ounce of their tiny attention spans. And then one day, they were walking and talking...and telling me all kinds of things before the stories started. They knew my name...requested specific themes...sang songs for me related to our books. I knew their full names, their siblings names, whether they were a fan of Paw Patrol or Disney Princesses, the names of their favorite toy or dog...and I mourned the day they got old enough to go to school.

My last Story Time was one of the hardest things for me to do in the lead up to leaving my job before our move. It was a theme that I knew a couple girls had been waiting weeks for...CATS. It was going to be a good one. I believe one little girl even arrived wearing cat ears. 

Now, I need to go on a little tangent here for a minute. As most of you know, I am a military wife and I worked in a Library on a military base. Military kids are asked to regularly do so much that most kids never experience. They move...their friends move...their parents go away for long periods of time...and they handle it with such grace and grit. It is just their lives. They don't know anything different. And they don't get enough praise for how well they take the upheaval.

So back to my story.

There were really only a couple of kids at story time who were old enough to understand that Miss Christina was leaving...that I wouldn't be there next week. But one girl, who I can say now was my favorite, was really NOT happy. Her mother explained that it had been a tough year...that V had lost a lot of friends and was taking it hard. I did my best to explain to her why I had to leave. When that didn't work I bribed her with superhero stickers. But then I had to walk away super fast so she didn't see me start crying.

I miss Story Time. I miss reading to and playing with little kids. I miss encouraging them to color outside the lines and make polka dot puppies if it makes them happy. If you have little ones at home, consider taking them to a regular story time. I know not all programs are created equal, but if there's a Library or book store nearby that feels like a good fit, try to go regularly. If you have grandchildren at your disposal, take them instead. It could be a regular date of yours.

There is absolutely nothing like watching a group of young kids being transported to magical worlds where children turn into hamburgers, dogs talk, books swallow animals and elephants do ballet. Seeing them make the connection that Libraries are fun and exciting places to go to. Watching crafts progress from the perfection of mom doing it for them, through to a bunch of scribbles on a paper with two circles glued on it (with a pound of glue stick!) and on to a beautiful pink cat complete with a sore red eye (just like Miss Christina had). Without even getting into the benefits of group interaction...the whole sight is a beautiful thing to behold. And you will rarely find a staff member reading books at a Story Time who doesn't 100% want to be there hanging out with your kiddos. 


Story Time. I'm a fan. I hope you are too. 

I'll leave you with a Story Time Haiku (my first bit of poetry since high school): 

I have some great reviews coming up soon!! Don't forget to follow me on Facebook for other book related news and assorted shenanigans. (And if you ever brought your kids to one of my Story Times, just know that it was probably the highlight of my week, and I enjoyed every minute of it!)

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