My previous post was about finding role models for my daughter in young kids, who are just slightly older than Hannah. My rationale was that they provide her with the example of what she can do next, physically, socially and intellectually. I had made a commitment to myself and to Hannah, that I would make a concerted effort to take her out of the house more and give her the opportunities to interact with and observe young kids. So today we went to rhyme time!
Rhyme time is a weekly book-reading and song-singing session that the local libraries in our council provide for free. I had never been to one before, although Emma had taken Hannah several times and had been impressed.
I arrived at the library early (I had panic-induced nightmares of being late and having to embarrassingly navigate my way through throngs of people to the only remaining space – directly at the front) and so we sat in the park and ate a snack of grapes. At play were a few small children, and Hannah watched them with great interest as she munched away at her fruit.
We squeezed in a quick play on the swings before it was time to head inside and secure my favourite kind of spot – towards the side and back, out of the way.
When we entered, there were some parents and kids milling about already. I surveyed the library for my ideal spot to sit, then we ambled about and looked at some books until the Rhyme Master (I actually have no idea what this person is supposed to be called, but I think that’s a pretty sweet title!) arrived. I picked Hannah up and, in one swift movement secured my desired spot before anyone else had the chance (you can probably start to see why I fear for my daughter’s social development).
Unluckily for me, the Rhyme Master noticed my hasty choice of spot and beckoned me forward. Unable to resist the majesty of the rhyming woman on her throne, I dutifully shuffled forward to a more exposed position. I was in deep.
Luckily for me, the smile on Hannah’s face told me I had actually just done what was best for her. She could see all the other kids, as well as the funny woman at the front with all the sweet toys and actions. Other parents filed in around me and soon it was time for the fun to begin!
I’m not a naturally talented singer. I’m also an introvert. I also became acutely aware of being the only male in the room who wasn’t in nappies. It’s fair to say I was well and truly outside of my comfort zone. Yet, Hannah was having fun, and my involvement was key to that. So I put my pride aside, checked my self-consciousness in at the cloakroom and joined in with the singing like the rest of the parents.
Before I knew it I was having fun and Hannah was having a blast! She alternated between watching the Rhyme Master intently, facing me and watching me sing, and watching all the other kids around her. Some of the kids stood up and walked around. Others clapped and danced. Hannah took it all in. Once again, she was surrounded by role models – those children who could show her what was possible.
Then, as if for the purpose of completely validating my theory, Hannah stood. She turned around in my lap, dropped her two tiny feet to the floor, pushed herself up, and she stood. Completely independently. I was so thrilled that I forgot all about the singing and congratulated Hannah with great gusto. I’m not sure if the mothers around me were thrilled for my little girl’s achievements, or annoyed that I was interrupting rhyme time, but I didn’t care (Like I said, social skills are not my strong point)! Hannah smiled the kind of smile that lights the world, and all was good!
The Rhyme Master announced that we were on the last song and I felt a tinge of sadness. Had it been half-an-hour already? The last song was all about saying goodbye, so we waved to all of our new friends and sang enthusiastically.
We stayed at the library for a little while longer. Hannah walked around (with my assistance) and looked at the books on offer. Then we left because I knew that lunch time then nap were fast approaching. I strapped a very happy and somewhat tired Hannah into her car seat and headed home. In the short journey home, Hannah had completely passed out with exhaustion. I unbuckled her seat and she barely stirred. I carried her upstairs and her little eyes flickered open, then shut again. Lunch would have to wait. Rhyme Time had well and truly worn my little girl out.