Fridays with G: Baby Networking

G was actually still sleeping when I arrived at his house on Friday morning.  But by the time his dad left for work at 7:30 a.m., he was awake.  There was no mistaking it, as he was making siren noises from his crib.  He visited a Davenport fire station the week before and has a new obsession with fire trucks.

G also has a new room now, to make room for Baby #2, ETA May 18th.  I flipped on the light, said good morning, and he smiled and bounced up and down.  Then I received the biggest hug as I picked him up out of his crib.  And he snuggled for about 20 minutes.  After that, he was ready for breakfast and ready to take a ride in Smurfette.  He even put my shoes on for me!

putting on flip flops

G ready to go
Come on, Aunt Mel! I'm waiting!

This week’s new adventure was toddler story time at the Fairmount branch of the Davenport Public Library.  We arrived early and had time to play first.  I was so proud of myself – until I saw we had a leaking diaper, and of course I left the diaper bag in the car.  So we rushed to get changed and made it back just in time for story time.

story time
Kicking back with the Wells Fargo horse after story time. The name tag is still on!

Just take a moment now to imagine 20 toddlers with their parents and a few siblings, all together in a big room.  It would have been even more entertaining had I not been responsible for keeping one of them in line.  G actually did pretty well.  He kept the sticker name tag on his shirt.  He was just a bit clingy and wanted to take this session to observe before he just jumped in.  We had all sorts of toddlers there – from G’s age of not quite two years old, to four year olds who still haven’t mastered how to behave better than a toddler.  Not judging, just saying….

You had the immaculate kids with their prissy parents, the kids who obviously dressed themselves, the kids whose parents must obviously want them to be nerds their entire lives, and then the seemingly average kids.

I felt the other parents pass judgment on me as soon as the song time began and G didn’t want to stand up.  After song time was story time, and that’s when the real fun began.  A few of the kids had to wander, and the one kid who has to sit as close as possible to the reader was present and accounted for.  We also had the two brothers fighting over whether one could sit next to the other.

When the two stories were done, it was open play time, and the librarian opened up a cabinet of toys.  Of course G went for the Melissa & Doug buildable trucks toy – not only because of his fascination with trucks, but also because Aunt Mel couldn’t figure out what pieces went where.  (By the way, they have directions on the bottom of the truck bases – good to know.)

G befriended a boy named Jacob, whose dad seemed to be somewhat judgmental of me, given his looks in my direction.  I finally told him I was the aunt and this was our first story time.  That helped, a little bit.

Then we played with toddler Matilda and her grandmother, who insisted on calling Gabriel “Gabe”.  His name tag clearly stated Gabriel, and my sister secretly wants to deck anyone who calls him anything else.  This desire was building up in me also.  The grandmother continued to call Gabriel “Gabe” and me “Gabe’s mommy”.  I had corrected enough people on my relation to Gabriel by that point, and it would be tough to correct her on the mommy thing and not the Gabe thing.  So I let it all slide.  After all, Gabriel does call me Mommy.  We are diligently working on saying Aunt Mel.

I walked away from toddler story time feeling pretty good about our baby networking.  I was annoyed by the presence of politics in baby activities – there were definite status structures and relationships built there – but politics is everywhere, they say.  And I was proud of G for being open to something outside of his comfort zone.  He never ran away, screamed, or misbehaved.  He even shared toys with others.

We rewarded ourselves with some Culver’s fish, fries, and chocolate frozen custard.

Culver's frozen custard

Later that afternoon it appeared I had used up G’s allotment of behaving for the day.  He laid in his crib for over 30 minutes without taking a nap.  I’ll give you one guess what sound I heard during that entire time.

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