Mother Goose Storytime at the Library

This morning I was awakened by the sound of GirlChild crying out in her sleep, “Oh, no! I dropped all my books on the floor!” A good library day if there ever was one! 😉

Today I took BoyChild to his first infant storytime at a nearby library (since he slept until 9ish so he could delay his morning nap until after the session)…and I think I made a mommy playdate for next Monday’s storytime!

I haven’t been to an infant storytime since GirlChild was a baby, so here’s a recap of what happened there:

Seating—A large, colorful parachute was spread out on the floor of the storytime room, and we all spread out around it. I chose a seat close enough to the librarian’s spot to see her without being right next to her. BoyChild is beyond distractible, so I figured this was my best bet.

Greeting—The librarian (we’ll call her Mother Goose) had all the adults introduce themselves and their babies and give the babies’ ages. There were babies as young as three and a half months and one going on two who was transitioning up to the next storytime. The majority of the babies were between eight and ten months old.

Meeting—As is typical with infant storytimes, there was a decent bit of instruction and explanation for parents as everything transpired; tips to modify the activities for different babies, reasons why we do certain things, etc. Mother Goose didn’t really address the children at all, but I guess that makes sense when they likely wouldn’t give her the time of day anyway! 🙂

  • Finger plays—I can’t remember what it was called, but we did something involving a bunny going ‘round and ‘round (in the palm of the hand) and a puppy chasing it “under there” (and ending with an underarm tickle).
  • “Baby Exercises”—BoyChild did NOT like this part of storytime. I should never have put him on his back, but it was hard to do the movements (basically baby stretches) with him sitting or standing (as he preferred). This seemed a lot better with the younger, less mobile babies.
  • Books—Just two: All of Baby Nose to Toes and Pat-a-Cake. Mother Goose would read a sentence from the first one and have us repeat it while poking our babies in the body part mentioned (or, you know, just pointing at or patting it). Since Mother Goose was using a doll to demonstrate all the songs and whatnot, she wasn’t able to actually *read* Pat-a-Cake while she was doing the motions, so she just showed us a few of the illustrations when she was done as part of showing us how to read to our babies.

  • Songs—I knew most of the tune to “All the Pretty Little Horses,” but my memory of the lyrics was all from the Susan Jeffers book (apparently just called All the Pretty Horses and out of print) that I had when I was a kid. Although BoyChild didn’t care for being reclined in my arms while we sang it and had to have belly-nibbles to keep him curled up and giggling softly while the song went on, I actually used this song to put him down to bed tonight. We also did “The Noble Duke of York” (which we call “The Grand Old Duke of York”) and another bouncing/lifting song that I can’t recall. There may have been more as well.
  • Parachute—GirlChild loved this part because she actually got to participate instead of sitting and watching quietly! We sat with our children in our laps and raised and lowered the parachute slowly while we sang basic songs (“The Wheels on the Bus”) and recited nursery rhymes. The oldest child crawled underneath it to play, but everyone else tried to keep their kids with them. (I would have set BoyChild free, but Mother Goose never said it was okay, and I didn’t want to be a disruption!) Mother Goose said that the babies like to see each other from underneath it, but I was too busy trying to keep BoyChild from escaping to pay attention to whether it was just a desire to be free or a desire to interact with the babies on the other side.
  • Sign Language—Mother Goose said they had learned “daddy” (among others) last week, so this week she introduced these: mommy, thank you, ball, and happy. GirlChild loved this, of course, but BoyChild was too squirmy at this point to let me manipulate his hands at all.
  • Free Play—After the closing song (which I don’t remember), Mother Goose told us that her part was done but that she would pass out books and balls and we were free to stay until noon. GirlChild took two books (“One for me, and one for my baby brother!”), but she spent most of her time kicking around the little, soft soccer ball that Mother Goose handed out. Probably half of the families stayed. There was a little boy (dressed almost exactly like BoyChild) and his mom sitting directly across from us during storytime, and she came to talk to me during the free play…turns out her little one is just one day older than BoyChild! We had a nice chat while GirlChild played and read and BoyChild tried to steal other babies’ slobbery soccer balls.

GirlChild was the only older sibling to attend, so I don’t know if that is frowned upon (nobody complained to me, at least!) or if none of these kids have older siblings not already in school.  I prepped her before we went that this was for BoyChild and other babies and that she wasn’t allowed to answer questions or respond to Mother Goose when she talked to the little ones. She was a perfect little lady and only did the things families were expected to do; singing songs, reciting rhymes, and interacting with BoyChild. She seemed glad to know most of the songs and perfectly happy to listen to baby books. (It probably helped that the mom sitting next to us couldn’t stop smiling at GirlChild and engaging her attention!)

We had a good enough experience that we plan on going back next week if we can arrange the nap schedule to accommodate it! If you have an infant (most infant storytimes start no later than 6 months (often from birth) and can go up to either ages 1 or 2, depending on the size of the library system and the number of different storytimes offered), I would most definitely recommend trying to find an infant storytime near you!

I found this blog by a storytime librarian that talks about infant (and preschool) storytimes in general and the specifics of her program as well. She mentioned handouts of the songs/rhymes/etc., and that was one thing I missed at this one that we had when GirlChild was a baby. I certainly could have used a reminder of some of the words during the session, and it would have been nice to have the information for when we got home to rehearse again. Check out Library Noise for weekly posts about what songs, books, and rhymes she’s doing with her little ones!


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