(As a side note, whenever I have a phrase structured like the title (blank time at the blank) I sing it to the tune of "Midnight at the Oasis." I have no idea why. It's not like the word time is in there anywhere, but it's just ingrained in me and I do it automatically without thinking. Story Time at the Liiibrary, get your books and songs...)
Monday nights are Brynna and my date nights. We usually do supper (although last night we cheaped out on that) and then head to the story time at the library. Just the two of us. Mommy-daughter bonding. Story time has been very educational for me and I'm glad we started it. There is no story time in April or May and I'm going to miss it intensely. Not just because of the lack of a really great activity which enhances my kid's love of books and reading, but because I have no freakin' clue what we're going to do next Monday.
Story time goes like this - there is a topic. Last night it was bunnies. There are stories about bunnies and songs about bunnies and sometimes, but not always, a nice moving around activity about bunnies. Then, there is a craft about bunnies. Finally, there is the Silly Dance Contest, which is a song by Jim Gill and gives the kids a chance to wrap up their fun by moving around and having a good time. I love the silly dance contest. It's my favorite part of story time.
But, like I said, story time has been very educational for me. I'd like to say that through story time, I have learned more about colors, airplanes and of course, bunnies. But the truth is, I mostly knew that stuff. I have learned about Brynna. It's been really rewarding, because I don't get to see her in many settings other than home and church. It's nice to see how she acts when someone else in charge, how she interacts with kids and how she learns.
We started going because I figured it's a nice approximation of school group time (which Brynn hates). I thought that maybe some fun group experiences would help her deal with the not so fun group experiences. I think this has worked a little. Her teacher said that her hatred for group time has cooled to a low sizzle, so hopefully, we can make it go away by next year. But, I thought I would share some the things I've learned about her that I never would have known otherwise. I am sharing this because I had to step us both out of our comfort zones to experience these things and I was surprised by a lot of them.
1. My kid is bizarrely mature. I see her playing or I have arguments with her and I think how young she is, but the truth is she is not as young as other four year olds. In this group, she is the only one that only stands when instructed, only talks when prompted and participates at the level of an elementary school kid. In fact, the teacher asked me when she would be old enough for Bookcrafters (a group with a minimum age of 6!). She's not only old enough to act more mature, but to be annoyed by kids who don't. I love the eye roll when one of the kids start acting up, even though I constantly tell her not to do it. I don't take any credit for this. It's all Montessori, baby.
2. She is sometimes intimidated by her peers. This kid is not shy. She does that shy around mommy thing, but on the whole, she is a mover and a shaker. A kid who gets things done, who plays with strange kids on the playground and invites loners to play with her. But Story time seems to be kind of a closed group. Most the parents know each other and so do most of the kids. Most of the kids are shy of Brynna and Brynna is shy of them, too. (Most of the kids also come in riding in Bugaboo strollers, wearing designer duds, so I am intimidated by their moms. Also have I mentioned the extreme lack of dads in this group. This is the first time I've experienced a world devoid of dads.) Anyway, I'm hoping that she makes a story time friend soon, because it's hard to watch her wanting to jump in with some of the other girls, but afraid to. It's just not like her to be afraid of anything.
3. She is one focused person. I don't know if I have ever been as focused in my life as she is on the teacher, on the music or on the craft. I don't know how many times the teachers have told me that she is reluctant to leave work unfinished, to the point of not wanting to go outside to play. But when you see it. When you see her aching to go do the silly dance contest, but not about to leave that craft project undone, well, it's inspiring and sad at the same time. I get angry for her that she doesn't get to do it, ever. (It doesn't help that my kid is probably the only one actually doing the craft because most of the other moms just do it for their kids.) She doesn't get angry or hurt or upset by it, though. She makes a choice to stick with her work, even when I'm telling her to just go dance and I'll finish or I'll save her seat and she can finish when it's over or I'll give you two dollars to finish it at home. She makes a choice and she stands by the consequence. Without flinching. Without ever whining that she missed the silly dance contest again. Without ever even mentioning that she loves it and wants to do it.
Last night we checked out the CD with the silly dance contest on it. And we did the silly dance contest in the car on the way home. Then we did it in the front yard while I hung her windsock (the coolest craft yet) on the porch. Then we did it while we were walking to the bathroom. Then we did the silly bath contest in the tub. We did it again this morning in the car. I'm going to get this CD so we can always silly dance on the way home after she has risen above.
The teacher kind of looks at us funny, maybe a little sad. I think she sees in Brynna a slightly anti-social, unplayful kid who seems intimidated by all the fun. What I see, though, is a kid ready to learn, ready to focus, a kid who will do the dancing and singing uncomplaining, but would really like you to get back to the stories, a kid who takes such pride in her work that she won't leave it to do the funnest thing, a kid who can't stand it when someone interrupts her learning, my kid. My glorious, smart, funny, imaginative, creative and sparkly kid.