Motherwit: Story Time

Motherwit: Story Time

Nov 15 Moterwit Art

By Elizabeth Johnson

Scene: Large room with toys in the lower level of a library. Moms, nannies, and one dad sit on square cushions arranged in a circle on the floor; approximately 25 two-year-olds play, talk, stare, point, jump, run, trip, cry, and generally display the full spectrum of toddler behavior.

Kate: C’mon, Gwen, we’re blocking the stairs. Don’t you want to go in?

Gwen: No.

Kate: But you told me earlier this morning that you wanted to come to story time, remember?

Gwen: Remember?

Kate: So let’s go in and say hi to our friends.

(Gwen sits down on stairs).

Kate: We’re here for you, sweetie, not for me. (muttering to herself as she surveys the room) Definitely not here for me. Definitely not my idea of fun. More like my idea of hell.

Gwen: Mama, what’s your idea of hell?

Kate: What? Stop listening so closely! Would you rather go home now?

Gwen: Would you rather go in now?

(Kate and Gwen descend the remaining steps into the room. A mom stacking blocks with her son waves to them).

Kate: Gwen, say hi to Julie and Zack!

Julie: Zack, say hi to Kate and Gwen!

(Zack and Gwen look sideways at one another. Zack gets into a downward-facing dog pose. Gwen sticks her finger up her nose).

Julie: It’s so good for them to have this chance to socialize.

Kate: Absolutely. (winces as Gwen picks up a bracelet of bells from the floor and jingles it in her face) And think how great it will be when they’re in preschool and they have even more opportunities to socialize. We might not even have to do this kind of thing anymore!

Julie: Um, I don’t know what you mean?

Kate: Ha ha ha, nothing!

Julie: Zack and I love story time.

Kate: Absolutely. Love it.

Julie: This time when they’re young just goes by so fast.

Kate: So fast. I know.

Julie: Have you guys started trying for another one yet?

Kate: I don’t know, sometimes I think one is all I can handle.

(Julie stares at her).

Kate: Ha ha ha!

Julie: Ha ha ha!

Gwen: (pointing) Mama, what’s he doing?

(Julie and Kate turn and see that Zack has approached a group of boys who are stacking cushions into a tower. Zack picks up a cushion and chucks it, hitting one boy in the face. The boy starts to cry. Julie jumps up, apologizes to the boy’s nanny, and drags Zack away).

Julie: We don’t throw things when we can hit other people!

Gwen: He hit that boy.

Julie: It was an accident.

Gwen: It was not an accident.

Kate: (hastily) She’s in this phase where she likes to say the opposite of whatever you say.

Julie: Oh. How cute.

Gwen: How not cute.

(Librarian appears and counts the number of children. There are now 40. She looks at the ceiling and appears to say a quick prayer).

Librarian: It’s really wonderful that so many of you could join us today.

(No one hears her).

Librarian: (louder) This program is designed for fewer children so we’ll all have to be on our best behavior!

(A little girl runs into the wall and begins screaming).

Librarian: (shouting and waving her arms) Over here! Everyone come sit in a circle!

(The adults corral the children and get most of them sitting within a few minutes. The librarian begins reading a book. It’s difficult to hear her over the ongoing noise. Those kids not physically restrained by an adult soon begin wandering around the room. One girl starts singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider).

Librarian: (stops reading) Is this working? They seem a little restless.

Gwen: It’s not working.

Librarian: (closing book) How about we dance instead?

(Librarian turns on a CD. Music plays and a cheerful song instructs the children to engage in a variety of movements).

Kate: Can you flap like a bird?

Gwen: No.

(Song plays: Reach for the sky!).

Gwen: I don’t want to do it.

Julie: (dancing energetically) This is so fun!

Kate: Absolutely! (muttering) I could really use a drink.

Gwen: Mama, what do you use a drink?

Kate: I just said I need a drink of water! Do you want to keep dancing or do you want to go home and make lunch? You probably want to keep dancing.

Gwen: I want to go home and make lunch.

Kate: Well, if that’s what you want! Wave good-bye to Zack and Julie!

Gwen: Wave hello to Zack and Julie.

Julie: Are you sneaking out?

Kate: We’re sneaking out!

Julie: See you next week?

Kate: Sure! I’ll probably be crazy enough to come back.

(Julie stares at her).

Kate: Ha ha ha!

Julie: Ha ha ha!

Elizabeth Johnson is a freelance writer and mother of a three-year-old. She writes on parenting topics and for the children’s market.


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