Friday, September 20, 2013

Seasonal Changes & Library Love

It's not quite summer anymore, but it's not quite fall/winter. The water park has been closed for a few weeks. The weather hovers in between both warm and cool seasons and we're still plenty active outside. My grand design is to get B outside as much as possible in the warmer months (anything above freezing) because winter is-a-comin' and he's never been this mobile in the winter.

I'm scared. Are other stay-at-home-moms that don't live in Southern California scared?

Thankfully, I bought two snow bibs and a nice jacket that should serve us well when he absolutely must be in the snow. And I bought myself a rockin' pair of snow boots that will keep me from falling on my arse this winter. My pair is tan/red and I think it will make me more motivated to schlep the kiddo places and do things like purchase food for my family. There have been winters that I get very creative based on my complete disinterest to exit into the negative degree temps.

Back to my original topic. What to do during the day with a toddler who doesn't much desire being cooped up inside and dealing with my sheer boredom of the same local parks we already visited 347 times this summer...

I strategically plan for things like swim lessons and gymnastics (and other classes, etc.) to take place in the winter months. It allows him to release some energy and it gives us somewhere to go when the weather is harrowing. I have a whole list of places/activities that work for winter and summer days. Fall and spring are in-between and overlap.

Winter: local church we attend that has an indoor play area & ride-on toys, swim lessons, gymnastics, library storytimes, children's museum, playdates at friends' houses, indoor play area we pay $1 each time, seasonal fests...

Summer: local and drive-to parks, water park membership, library storytime, splash pads, children's museum, playdates, seasonal fests, exploring in our own backyard (or the yards of unlucky neighbors with no fences!)

On both of those lists... library storytime. Not only are we religiously at the library to check out books and puzzles each week (the educator in me), but we attend about 1-3 storytimes for different age groups and at different libraries. Libraries we're not even members at sometimes! When no registration is required, it's basically an open invitation for free social interaction, early literacy exposure, and entertainment.

Our local library only has one small branch because we live in a small town in a big suburb. There is a 0-2 storytime and a 2-3 storytime we're attending each week. And the other libraries in our school district (but not the library we have membership) have tons of storytimes at each of the branches run by different people, with different kids, and different stories. We attend a toddler storytime for 18mo-3 and a family storytime of a hodgepodge of ages. We've even gone to Barnes & Noble for storytime! They have a toy train set and a Starbucks that sells Cheesecake Factory cheesecake slices, so that's always a winner, even if the books aren't. Just about every day of the week offers a storytime within a 4-mile radius we can attend.

I know. Totally a library junkie. But I didn't mean for it to be that way. It just drives me looney when I look at the calendar and see _______ for the day's activities. I feverishly find somewhere for us to go in order to break up the monotony of being home all day long. It's not fair to Benjamin and Lord knows I'm bored!

Before you become all impressed about how studious we are, I'd like to point out that Benjamin spends the majority of the time being bribed with raisins to stay in the room, walking around and locating clocks, buttons, and opening any cabinets. And if there is a single electronic device that can be tinkered with at his level (or not, he requests "up please"), especially with bright lights or sound, he's off and running. The most recent storytime we went to, the lady was using a document camera. Right away I knew we lost him. He's not the kid who sits in my lap or happily participates in all the activities. That was my pre-walker. Now he cannot be bothered. And yet, we still attend. Because I figure a library is a fine place to explore where there are people, books, puzzles, and often times, a play area.

What's funny about observing his complete disinterest during storytime is that he loves books. He can't get enough. I don't read fewer than 50 books a day to this kid, and he has a name for most of the ones he loves. Thank heavens for a library card that allows me to check out other books that I haven't memorized. And yes, the sharing of germs simply have to be forgotten... otherwise we'd never leave the house.

I mean, this is the same kid who sucked on the stylus pen at the Target checkout a week ago. That still haunts me.


Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

I checked out two potty training books last weekend. We read them. And as I was doing it, I thought that of all books to check out, those are not the ones. Germ sharing normal books - sure. Germ sharing potty book - ick. So those are going back to the library tomorrow.

Finn is a book man too and I think it's a good thing. With so many external stimuli these days and technology overload, it's good for kids to just sit and read and personally I think they learn SO much more that way.

Also, solid suggestion on Barnes and Noble - we have two story times at our library (well one is more music and song time), but would love to add something else to the mix.

I wish our library's were one in the same. And our boys could be BFFs and we'd call them Finnjamin.

Nick & Jenny said... [Reply to comment]

I guess the teacher in me sees normal, daily life as an 'activity' ;-) Rather than do much for dinner during nap time (because that is MY mommy time), why not just chop everything up? 15 min tops, right? Then later, he can stand on a stool with you behind him, and happily dump and attempt to stir with his own spoon? It's a little slower, and messier, but I've found my kids eat new foods if they've had time to play, explore, and 'help' me.

In our house, there is an old pair of socks with hand-drawn eyes and smile... they are sock duster puppets. Because if the kids can walk and touch things, then they can 'help' with cleaning. Starting at 17mo, both kids have coveted my broom (it looks like a witch's broom) mostly because they see me use it every day. A. squealed with delight when she got a mini broom at age 20 mo. for Christmas! When we're done, sometimes we play broom hockey with a plastic container lid and our brooms. E. loves the vacuum and will 'vacuum' with a wooden spoon next to me.

The list goes on... matching socks, throwing folded socks into a basket, the only really hard thing to get done with the kids awake is to work on the computer! Those buttons are too tempting to push, right? :-)

Laura McCannell said... [Reply to comment]

I'm exhausted just hearing about your activities. We've been house-bound most of the week thanks to Grace and I feeling under the weather and it is so boring. I have read Grace she same twenty books at least twenty times now. :/

I have no suggestions for you. Sounds like you're doing great!

Nicole said... [Reply to comment]

I'm laughing about Finnjamin!

And I think you're doing great, too! We're nowhere near that active. Most days we're sticking around our house, but we do go for neighborhood walks most every night. At least we're doing that for now. When the weather turns yucky, I have no idea what our plan will be. Hopefully it will involve taking the girls out of the house together and not melting down over hitting and "she's touching me" nonsense.

Melissa said... [Reply to comment]

Ha ha! Finnjamin! And Caledrew!

I know exactly what you mean! Lillian and are in a rut. We go to the library once a week and the last time I was there I asked them about their "story time" for under 2 year olds but I just do not know if I can do it. It seems like a lot of happy, innocent, sing song time and I do NOT do well with that.

We have Chapters up here (like Barnes and Noble) toys and books to play with and coffee for Mama (who wants to click an ad?). We also make sure to visit a friend each week as I have a couple Mama friends that are off. I usually go to their places which means, new toys! There isn't much. I am concerned as the snow begins to fly. I think we will have to look into doing some swimming at the Y once a week.

Darcey said... [Reply to comment]

Very much impressed...I am no help when it comes to Midwest winter and kids. I survived one and immediately moves down to Florida. :)

Amelia said... [Reply to comment]

I'm SO jealous about your plethora of libraries! Ours is very small, run by volunteers. There was a phenomenal story time run Friday mornings by an elementary school teacher studying to be a librarian. Then she got a real job and they replaced her with a teenager who tried to teach my kid about space and ended up discussing dead stars and black holes sucking up entire planets. My daughter, who LOVES being read to got up and left. I was right behind her. We are sans story time currently. *sigh*