Emily doesn’t often get to see other children her age or interact, so I signed her up for a library story and song time program for toddlers. Never having been in a group setting like that, Emily was very, very interested in everything that went on.
We got there early, so she first had to check out the giant red rug decorated with letters and numbers around the border. When all the children arrived, I wasn’t sure what her reaction would be. She is a friendly child and not clingy in the least. She walked up to one little guy who only came up to her chin. “Hi!” she said cheerfully. The cute little boy continued to suck his finger and take Emily in without comment.
The songs all had various hand motions and directions which she didn’t know, so during song time, she settled for jumping up and down the entire time. A shape matching game was next, and she was thrilled to take her colored square up to the magnetic board with the other children. She didn’t want to come back and sit down again, but a word or two brought her back to sit by me. She sat still for the story, but kept looking at all the other children.
Afterwards, she was excited to see a cart rolled out filled with toys the children could play with. She couldn’t make up her mind which one to take, so we took one at a time, and she tried them out.
She gave a breathless and rather garbled account to her daddy over dinner later on. “Toys on cart, jumping up and down, children and barn with cows and horses and songs…” Afterwards, she got a hair cut at the “lady shop” as she calls it, so it was a very exciting morning for a 2-year-old. The library program is 6 weeks long, so we’re going back next week for more fun.
I’ve never been a great proponent of formal early childhood education (preschools) for my own children. Having been able to be home with them, and in that my toddlers have always had a sibling to play with, it was easy to provide all the stimulation and teaching necessary. But Emily’s in a unique situation being like an only. Seeing her delight in the organized program at the library, I think a couple of mornings a week at a Christian preschool would be very helpful to her.
Onlies (or those like Em without near siblings) have to learn how to share, take their turn, and so forth with their peers, and having some experience with other children early will help her do that. Emily is surprisingly confident at this point socially, and hopefully, her sunny personality will help her get along well with her peers for a little play and learning time.
In the mean time, I have to admit it is a lot of fun, if a little surreal, to be standing with other moms, stomping and clapping along with our toddlers to, “If you’re happy and you know it…” Yes, being mama to a little girl makes me happy, and I know it!
P.S. The Valentine’s party plans continue apace. Emmy tells me that we will have candles with fire (lit candles) on the heart cake. Balloons as well. Some pink and red streamers should add a nice touch, and don’t be surprised if Emmy decides to add a Christmas snow globe and Winnie the Pooh to the table decorations! This is gonna be one wild party!