Since we moved here, we’ve been meaning to take a trip to the library. Besides the obvious lure of the books (especially for Dexter who seems to LOVE to look at them, if not sit still long enough to be read to), I’ve found that they are generally a good place to start to find children’s activities. For the last few weeks, Mark has been after me to take Dex and check it out, but my exhaustion, various medical issues (including fainting!) and general fear or going anywhere alone has kept me from making the leap.
So last night, as we went out running some errands, Mark asked if we could stop by the library on the way home. We’d already tried once over the weekend only to find that it was already shut (at 2 PM!), but he’d noted the hours and knew it would be open late. I agreed, and off we went.
When we got there, we found quite a small library, but it had a lovely children’s section, which we went straight into. Dexter was all smiles right away. He sat himself down at one of the tiny tables in one of the tiny chairs, and I quickly grabbed a random book off the shelf and placed it in front of him. He flipped through it, but both of us were dismayed to find that it was a picture book and had no actual words. So we switched it out for a new one, which made him happier.
His attention didn’t last for long, though, as surrounding us were about five or six other children, all of whom were crawling around chasing each other and pretending to be their favorite animals. The cheetah chased the turtle who chased the bear cub, and Dexter was hooked. Despite not knowing any of these kids, he joined in right away, crawling around and trying to interact. One of the older girls tried to talk to him, but when Mark explained that he doesn’t talk yet, she quickly lost interest and went back to the other kids. Dexter was undeterred however and just kept happily playing.
He seemed to take great delight in interacting with one little girl who must have been slightly younger than he was. She would go up to the bookshelves and grab a book, and he’d run up to her and shyly wait to be offered it. They passed it back and forth a couple of times, smiling broadly at one another before dropping it and continuing their game of chase.
My heart fairly soared!
After a while, a couple of older girls began doing handstands and cartwheels around the area, and Dexter was all wide-eyed amazement, standing as near as possible and taking in their gymnastics. I laughed loudly when he suddenly bent down, touched his hands to the ground and started trying to kick off the ground with his legs. It was a beautiful mess, but to see him trying to emulate the older kids was priceless.
We left with plans to return as soon as possible, and I noted with excitement that they have a story hour every Tuesday with a “Stay and Play” session afterward. So I hoped to take him today.
When it came time to go this morning, I was feeling slightly dizzy, so I asked Mark if he would either take us and drop us off or just take an early lunch to come with us. He was more than happy to come with us, and so off we went.
We got there slightly late, and I was a bit sad to find that Dexter was immediately apprehensive about the large group and loud playing. He was very clingy right away, and though Mark and I tried to get him to join in with the other kids, he preferred to sit on mama and daddy’s laps. We sang songs with him, and even though he usually LOVES to clap along to songs, he was frozen for much of the fun.
At a certain point, the story lady got out a box of tiny egg-like musical shakers, and Mark took Dex up to pick some out. He seemed very excited but perplexed about the strange new toys, but all the same, he did shake them like a trooper!
He still wouldn’t join in with the other children, despite the obvious longing in his eyes. He seemed to look at them and yearn to be part of the fun, but something in him just wouldn’t let him. I wonder if it was that there were so many adults present? Perhaps the grown-ups made him feel he was under too much supervision to really “let go?”
I was very proud, though, when the Story Time lady came around, and he joined in with her, singing and shaking his toys. Though he didn’t manage more than a sort of grimace, I could see that he was feeling somewhat less apprehensive as time went on.
For the most part, I think he was more curious about everything than he knew how to deal with. And because of the early election being held there, there was no Stay and Play session this week, which meant he didn’t even have a chance to get to know the other kids. He just listened to some stories, sang some songs, felt awkward and left.
There’s no story time next week due to the actual election, but I’m hoping that in two weeks time when they start up again, we’ll be able to join in and have a grand old time. I think that next time around, we’ll strive to get there a bit earlier so that he can watch the room fill up gradually instead of walking into an already full room and being scared.