So, 10:25: we arrive. I remember to talk about story time behavior as we walk in. Madalyn doesn't hear me, though, because she is saying "DA! DA!" and other syllables to see if her voice echoes in the breezeway. She is constantly checking for echo-edge lately.
Maddy says a rather loud and boisterous "HI FISHIES!!" as we walk by the fish tank. I start thinking "this may not end well." She heads over to the children's section and straight for the toys. Fine. The story room isn't open yet.
10:30: The door opens. All the moms instruct our children to put away the puzzles and blocks. "Madalyn, put away the puzzle. See? It's time for story time!! We can come back and do puzzles afterwards-and-also-get-a-movie-if-you're-good-please-put-that-puzzle-away-right-now-(crying, refusing)-do-you-want-to-just-go-home??"
I get the puzzle out of her hands. I take her into the room, hoping she will get distracted. More tears. Utterly refusing. I finally pick her up and head out. The sweet teacher whispers, "Feel free to bring her back in after she calms down" I say, "Thanks, I will, we're just going to have a little chat."
10:35: Back to the breezeway, the only place I can feel o-kay about her wailing without disturbing anyone. We chat. I reiterate the high points of behaving in story time: we get to sing songs, do a project at the end, play with puzzles afterwards, and pick out a movie. On the flip side, if we continue crying, we'll just go home. We walk to the bathroom to get a tissue to dry her tears. On the way back through, we see our friends arrive. "Oh look, Maddy! It's H.! Don't you want to go to story time with H?" Maddy doesn't hear me because she is detouring back towards the puzzles. I manage to reroute her.
10:40: We're back in story time. Madalyn doesn't want to sit in the circle on a carpet square, but opts for the hard tile outside the circle. Fine. It's still touch and go here, and I don't know if we're going to last. Then the teacher turns on Raffi's "We're Going To The Zoo." Madalyn's eyes light up. Sensing my opportunity, I ask her if she wants to go stand in the circle with the other children. "Yep!" she says as she bounds into the middle.
10:41: Some children are standing. Most are still sitting on their carpet squares or in their mother's laps. Madalyn is dancing and jumping with her whole body and heart around the center of the circle while loudly singing,
"WE'RE GOING TO THE ZOO, ZOO, ZOO
HOW ABOUT YOU, YOU, YOU
YOU CAN COME TOO, TOO, TOO
WE'RE GOING TO THE ZOO, ZOO, ZOO"
At least, that's what it appears she is doing as I peak between my fingers as my hands cover my reddened face. How could my child go from crying to being the center of attention in less than a minute? The other mothers are giving me gentle smiles and saying, "Wow! Look at her go! Hey, it's o-kay!"
10:45: Raffi has finished his catchy zoo tune, and it is time for the part of story time I dread the most: the actual story time. It is a constant struggle to get Madalyn to sit quietly for this portion, especially since she is usually so ramped up from Raffi. I notice my hands are sweating. Madalyn politely sits down with the other children. Moms say things like "Honey, go sit down by Madalyn" to their children because you know that every mom and child in the class knows Madalyn's name. She sits for a good portion with minimal squirming, standing, and finding a new spot and then sitting again. I begin to relax.
10:47: Madalyn abruptly stands next to the teacher and faces the group. She begins reciting the "Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?" being read in a much more animated voice than the teacher. My friend A. says, "Wow! Do you have this book at home?" No, no we don't. We have "Brown Bear" and Maddy's simply picked up the pattern of the story. I whisper for her to sit down.
10:49: Madalyn takes a good hard look at the children. This story is losing them, she decides. She then takes the initiative to launch back into "GOING TO THE ZOO, ZOO, ZOO..." complete with galloping dance. I pull her aside. A few two-year old followers begin singing it again as well. I think, not for the first time, that I will one day be getting notes home from school.
10:51: Mercifully, it is finally time for the project, the part of story time that makes it all worthwhile. As soon as the teacher picks up the pieces of cardboard we use as "desks," Maddy is in my lap, politely waiting. A completed construction paper panda is displayed; that is our finished example. Paper, glue, and googly eyes are passed out. Madalyn is now a model student. She is every week during this time. She pastes and sticks with utter concentration. You'd hardly recognize her as the child whom most mothers were secretly prescribing Ritalin to in their minds just 10 minutes prior.
11:00: Our panda is completed and class is done. We put away our supplies and head pack to the puzzles. As with the project, Madalyn sits and sorts through the puzzles longer than any other child; we are the last to leave. I remind her about the videos, and we pick out two.
Next week, we'll do it all over again. Oh, and tomorrow is Gym and Swim. Keep me in your prayers.