October 23, 2008

Playtime at the Library

Charlie and I went to our first “Playtime for Babies and Tots” at the library. The OKC Metro Library System is awesome. There are numerous branches throughout the city, and together they provide a ton of classes for kids and adults. Our playtime is for 8 month olds through 2 ½ year olds, and it consists of about 30 minutes of playing and 15 minutes of puppets, songs, and stories.

I have to pause here and say that the children’s librarian who leads playtime looks exactly like what you would picture. She’s probably in her late 50s, bean pole thin and tall, wears “librarian” clothes that do her no favors, and has long grey braids that loop down in front of her shoulders and end tied together at her back. I immediately thought she was awesome.

Charlie loved playtime. He’s a little social butterfly—definitely his father’s child. I think he checked to make sure I was there maybe once the entire time. For the rest of the time, he was off on his own exploring and playing. He had no qualms about approaching other babies and parents. He even grabbed onto a couple of people to pull himself up to standing. I joked with one mom that I should’ve just dropped him off and gone to run errands—he wouldn’t have even noticed! Seeing him so independent and confident makes me happy. I don’t want to think about the separation anxiety phase that's probably around the bend.

Charlie enjoyed playing with all new toys. There were several large bins of them scattered around the room. We don’t have a house full of toys—I’m of the opinion that less is more. But these were all great multipurpose toys that encourage creative play. Also, there were no name brands, TV show references, or character images in sight. He really liked the musical instruments, shaking his maracas and banging his xylophone.

Toward the end of playtime, the librarian gathered everyone around, and we sang simple songs that included lots of movements. The puppets came out for a little bit, and we found that the librarian was an accomplished ventriloquist! She read a couple of stories, and then we were finished. It was a great experience, and I can’t wait—oops, I mean Charlie can’t wait to go back next week.

Before we left the library, we checked out a few more board books and children’s music CDs. I love anything released by Putumayo. They have wonderful children’s and adult music CDs. We are currently listening to Celtic Dreamland, African Playground, and Sing Along with Putumayo. They are spirited and upbeat, but not annoying—I probably enjoy them more than Charlie! I also checked out You Are My Little Bird by Elizabeth Mitchell. Her voice is very folksy, which satisfies my inner hippie, but she also sings with her daughter, nieces, and nephews. I love listening to the little kids singing. Too cute!

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