Where Baby Jack Meets Mother Goose

Our local library offers a weekly Mother Goose Storytime for children under 12 months of age and their mommies. I’ve been saying since before Jack was even born that I was going to take him to reading circles and play groups, but wouldn’t you know it – here he is 8 months old and I hadn’t even been once.
So, this week I decided it was high time I got over my mundane shyness of all things social and force myself to sign him up.

You see, I’ve always been a pretty shy person in intimate settings. When it comes to larger functions (such as giving speeches) or performing in the business world, I do quite well. But when it’s time to show the “real me” and socialize, I get as tonguetied as a turnip in winter. I just don’t do the “talking to random people” thing very well.

But now I have a son who will depend on me for his social life for the better part of the next decade (especially since we plan on homeschooling).

So I need to start somewhere, right?

If I don’t start now, I may end up in a rut of hiding ourselves away from the world and Jack-Evan will be grey headed before he learns that there are “others” out there.

Ok, maybe I wouldn’t be that detrimental to my son’s future social life, but I did really want to take part in the Mother Goose Storytime this spring. All thoughts of “but he’s only 8 months old, Lisa” aside, I swallowed the huge gulp in my throat and called the children’s department at the library to sign up.

Our first class was this past Thursday morning at 10:30 am.

Upon entering the children’s section (which, BTW, is wonderfully decorated with life size “Where the Wild Things Are” illustrations by Maurice Sendak), I was greeted by Ms. Heather, a bubbly little lady who asked me if we were there for Mother Goose Storytime, and then wrote Jack-Evan’s name on a little mitten name tag. She even hyphenated his name and said it correctly – which is a big plus in my books. Most people upon hearing Jack-Evan’s name let their faces gloss over with a “I-didn’t-understand-what-you-said-so-I’ll-just-smile” look. The fact that she even knew to hyphenate eased my social anxieties tenfold. Her 60 foot wide smile helped a lot too.

I then took a seat at the tables in the back for a few minutes to await the start of the class. Soon, Ms. Heather (the resident Mother Goose, sans the outfit) gathered up all of us little ducklings and we waddled..uh..followed her into the story room. It was a comfy cozy room with nice, soft lighting and 4 huge quilts spread on the floor. In all there were 11 babies, 1 grandmother, and 9 mothers (one mother had twins). Plus Ms. Heather.

It was the first time Jack-Evan (and even I for that matter) had been in a room with so many babies his age. He’s been around smaller groups of toddlers and bigger children, but he’s only see one other “baby” in his life. Talk about being fascinated! For the first 7 minutes he sat almost motionless on my lap, letting his eyes roam around the room at all of the other babies who were goo’ing and crawling and (some) running amuk.

We started out storytime with a little “hello” song in which each child was welcomed using their name in the verse. Then we did a couple short finger play rhymes, another little song, and then a sweet book about daddy’s going to work was read. We repeated the pattern and read another book. By the end of the 2nd book, the kiddies were getting restless so we finished up with the most active poems (such as “Ackabacka Sodacracka” where we lift the babies in the air at the end) and they all seemed to love the motions. Ms. Heather then passed out the same colorful board book to all of us and we read the story outloud in unison, pointing out the words to the babies. Then it was time for the “free for all”. A few large tubs of books were passed around on the quilts, and we were encouraged to take them out and spend some time reading / looking through them with our babies (or just letting them crawl on them, as some did).

All in all, the whole thing lasted about 30 minutes. Jack-Evan seemed to enjoy it very much, and was very alert the whole time. He even tried to do hand motions along with Ms. Heather during a few rhymes. Now that he’s a “big boy” and knows how to wave bye bye and hello, he tries to do anything that has a “lifting the arm” motion to it! When he got ahold of the board book, he sat with it trying to turn pages and vocalizing. It was his way of reading to me, I assumed. Then he promptly tried to eat it. I’m so proud of my little reader! (Minus the eating the book thing though.)

So anyways, that’s what we’ll be doing at 10:30 am on Thursdays from now on. I know that according to experts, kids really don’t need a “interactive social life” until after 2-3 years of age, but it’s pretty cool joining in with other moms and doing (FREE!) activities alongside my son. I kind of think of it as “social life in training” (for me!). Perhaps after a few years of learning to socialize with stranger-moms at storytime, I’ll be ready to hit the big leagues and enroll Jack-Evan in Teeball without wanting to hide under the bleachers.

Originally posted in Little Jack’s Corner ©2009

Author: Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole is a freelance writer and social media specialist skilled in non-profit marketing and grass roots advertising. This mother of four weaves humor, emotion and depth into stories about parenthood and life in the American South.