Tuesday mornings begin like most other mornings: 2016 wakes us up, we drink our coffee and start cooking oatmeal for the other three. 2012 and 2015 are up next, followed shortly by 2013. They sit and eat in groggy silence. Baby needs a bottle.
2012 and 2013 get dressed for school, and 2015 cries because today is not HER day to go to school. See, this fool of a mother signed her up for only 3 mornings of fun and learning per week, unlike her older brother who goes 5 mornings, or big sister who gets to spend 5 WHOLE days at school. Little Bit is NOT happy — not one little bit.
Because of Ms. Meredith.
Now, I don’t know Ms. Meredith’s whole name. All I know is this woman is MAGIC.
I have seen this woman silence a room full of FORTY-FIVE preschoolers by raising her index fingers to signal the beginning of Storycastle’s signature song, “Well, hello everybody.” She reigns over a mass of toddlers on Tuesdays at 10:30 at the Main Library in Downtown Lafayette, and it is the highlight of our day, maybe week. Additional children’s programming can be found here.
She is kind. She is patient. She is welcoming. She is inclusive. She lays down the law with little to no negativity.
She sings! She dances! She is silly!
The books are incredibly age-appropriate. She has extension activities to keep the toddlers engaged. She understands and encourages toddler-like behavior.
And nothing shakes this lady.
Boob out to breastfeed? Nope.
Toddler trying to tear down the felt board? Nope.
A screaming, kicking, sweating tantrum? Nope.
I am pretty sure that if a kid vomited, she would have some sweet song to teach how to steer clear of the vomit puddle.
Here’s the other thing about Ms. Meredith. She attracts nice people.
Y’all, I have never been to one of her Toddler Times where the caregivers of the children in attendance were not totally involved in the program. And going there as a mom with a big young crew is a breath of fresh air. These women support one another, treat each other’s children with kindness and patience, offer sweet words of advice and humor, and help to facilitate kind play among the children.
Oh yeah, because after we read and sing and dance, we get to PLAY!
Playtime is a lifeline for me to get to visit with other moms. It’s also been a way to meet people I don’t see in my regular environment. The group is so diverse. We are a group of bottle-feeding, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering, disposable-diapering, baby-wearing, stroller-pushing, bike-riding, car-driving mamas who all want to spend time immersing our children in literacy and love.
And our leader is Ms. Meredith.