I Give Up On Story Time, Not On My Kid Who Can’t Sit Still


Complete with The Exorcist Back Bend and a feeble attempt to muffle shrieks with the beloved pacifier, we finally decide to leave story time 15 minutes in. We are two for two on failed story time. As a believer in second chances, I thought I’d give it another go after a good night’s rest and playing on library grounds before the 10 am regularly scheduled story time at our local library. As a mom with the only child running out of the room, I will not be returning to story time with Humnoy next week or the weeks after.

Upon further consult with my online commune whining on Twitter, I’m not alone and he’s not ready right now. He’s not ready to let me relax and watch him do the song and dance all the other kids are doing. He’s not ready to sit on his own for longer than half a page in a story book. He’s not ready to for me to be ready.

The world knows I have been ready since the day I have been forever-exhausted with this non-stop fireball of activity. I should have known my days were numbered when he took his first steps at 7 months that this kid will not stop. Why am I expecting him to sit down for an entire 30 minutes in a room full of quiet kids with their hands in their lap? It’s self-induced peer pressure, that’s what. I hear about all these kids who sit on their potty chair, enjoy to read books, and actually can entertain themselves with items that are meant for toddler leisure time.

What comes as the next blow is from Gym Hottie who asks, “”What are we gonna do when he starts school?” I have flashes of vision from my teaching days where I worked day in and day out with kids with hyperactivity and were medicated because of it. They required constant supervision, accountability, and were actually just kids who did not meet the qualifications as a part of the “general” student population. Why does that make them ‘special’ or ‘inclusive?’

“Ooooh, what’s over there?”

I now have this fear that my child will not only fail story time but also at the traditional school model. The fear that I now understand comes from the exhausted faces of the parents of the “active” children who had pink slips and phone calls home on a daily basis. I’m that mom who I made assumptions about in their home life, judged their parenting style, and thanked god that I wasn’t their kid’s parent. I fear that I fail not only myself and my kid who literally can’t help but enjoy what he enjoys doing.

He enjoys somersaults, running as fast as he can across a field or room, and sharing his personality when he sees fit. He doesn’t have to enjoy story time, synchronized clapping, or even other kids his age. My only fear should be that I can’t seem to realize this, not that he doesn’t do what they’re doing.

Forget story time. Forget those kids who can pay attention. We’re gonna go all buck wild at the playground because that’s how we know we have fun. We’re gonna dance to Blues Clues because he pointed to all three clues himself. We’re gonna enjoy this short time together before he enjoys things without me. I can’t fail in living these little moments.

What didn’t work out as you’d planned with your kid(s)? Did you try again?

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19 thoughts on “I Give Up On Story Time, Not On My Kid Who Can’t Sit Still

  1. We’re in our third “semester” of Kindermusik and my 2.5 year old is the deviant one of the bunch. I continue to go bc she enjoys being around the other kids and I get to meet moms, but I run around behind her the whole hour. She’s looking out the window or climbing on top of chairs and tables. It’s a test of patience. I do love that I get to see her determined personality and I get to enjoy that as much as I might hate that my child is “that child”. It does help other parents When their kids have a bad moment lol. Could be more moments than they do have to endure. I haven’t tried story time at the library though. You’re brave. Her voice carries in a library when we’re not sitting listening to a story, let alone 30 minutes sitting down.

    • Kazi, believe you me, that will be the last story time outing in a very long time. Your little one sounds like a perfect companion for my Humnoy!

      Now, GH and I are seriously planning to enroll him in Gymboree type of class where he can let his wiggles out all he wants and he gets to be around other kids, which is my main goal for play time. I’m gonna look into kindermusik, maybe that is a much better option than story time! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ill try anything at this point!

      • I wish there was a Gymboree in our area :(. I know Mayah would love that. Kindermusik isn’t a bad compromise though. It being music-based, her wildness isn’t a deterrent. The other adults eat it up bc she’s enjoying herself so much lol. She’s like the mascot. Humnoy would fit right in as a co-mascot lol.

  2. My almost 4 yr old has been a test in patience since the day he was born. He is a spirited child. Intense, active, and needs to be the center of your attention pretty much constantly. Only over the last 6 months or so has he started playing for extended periods (like 20 minutes) by himself. Then he is up and doing whatever it is he can. I joke that our house is not only child proof, it is Connor proof. We are constantly rearranging and trying new methods to keep him from getting into things he shouldn’t. My husband gets so irritated at him touching the Playstation and the remotes, etc, but he just wants to be doing everything we are. So I teach him how to use the things correctly in hopes that he won’t break them. As much as I want to pull my hair out in frustration, I also love all the ambition and energy he has. and he is so full of love โค
    Luckily my almost 2 year old is much more laid back and just a big goof, so it evens things out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Amanda, you give me hope! I literally wish and hope that the next one is either a girl (if its a boy/girl difference) or a mellow version of our first-born! I’m (trying) to read the Spirited Child book but of course having a spirited child ironically doesn’t leave much room for extra time! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. He’s all boy and going through a terrible twos, I think he’ll come around. My daughter went through the same thing, the first few days at the daycare (when she was 2.5 year old) I thought they would kick her out, she couldn’t sit still during story time and after a few weeks she was doing much better. I think the key is routine, and if you could tough it out story time at the library might not be so bad.

    • I think I’ll unofficially try another story time if it fits in our schedule but I’m not going to push it anymore. He is Humnoy and a different child. We’re now looking into doing a indoor play date for him as that’s probably the *best* option for him as he’s crazy, er, very energetic! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. First of all, Humnoy is so handsome! Second, you will get nothing but sympathy and understanding from all of us on our blog. We all have one or more children who don’t fit the mold.

    Here’s the thing. Humnoy will reach a point where he will enjoy story time. It’s inevitable, and you know that. Kudos to you for not pushing it. Just because it’s a โ€toddler activity,โ€ doesn’t mean it’s right for all toddlers.

    I think part of our job as parents is to give kids room to grow into the people they are, not try to cram them into the box of who we or society wants them to be. Humnoy sounds like an awesome kid, and he’s lucky to have awesome parents.

    ~Daniรฉl

  5. Just so you know… I use you to tell myself its all okay. Emery eats books. Rips them, throws them… Does not approve of reading front to back or even right side up. As a total book nerd… I go through these once a week melt downs when she hurts my pretty books I’m trying to share. But then I just put them away and hope eventually. Emery doesn’t even watch tv for more than 5 minutes. I’ve tried blues clues, Dora, curious George, nick jr,”the baby channel”. She’s just a crazy wild spirit.

    Also…I decided before I was 6 months pregnant that my girl was homesxhooled at least to start and so far I am still convinced its best

  6. My mom could tell you 29 years worth of examples of my brother being the insane, rowdy, distracted kid and he grew up into just about the most delightful, well adjusted adult I can think of. I was no dull baby, but next to my brother, I was comatose. My mom learned the hard way what happens if you take your eye off a kid in a shopping cart (eggs cracked to drench the winter coats at the bottom), or that a 1 year old can figure out that drawers = steps and pulling a full-sized dresser down so it lands on said 1 year old will scare the mom more than it’ll hurt the kid. My parents had an actual conversation about whether it would be child abuse to put chicken wire or some other material over the top of his crib to keep him in it (they decided that it would be and ended up bolting every other potentially dangerous item in the room either to the floor or into the closet). Looking back, she says she had more fun than any of her friends and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I see my wild little girl and know I’m in for the same nonsense and can’t wait!

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  9. Don’t worry about who he’s going to be at school in 4 years based on the fact he likes to run right now. He’s perfectly normal!! Kids this age aren’t meant to sit still that long. I haven’t attempted a story time yet bc I know mine will run, and I’m outnumbered.

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  11. Ugh the only reason my daughter wants story time is for the play time afterwards. She actually does like books and puzzles, but she needs to do it one on one. Group settings are not great for some children to learn, and that is why I am homeschooling. In my state there is no shortage of mommy groups and community activities for her to be involved in for socialization. At school she would just be labeled and treated as bad when she is not.

    My son has autism and refuses to read books even though he used to l9ve them. He will fight to get away. I do not read to him anymore. I play with him by chasing him and playing on the slide. He gets more language from that then he does from fighting with me over reading a book. Society just needs to understand that all children are unique and until they do, we have to do what works for each child.

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