I always feel sorry for the librarians who have to do rhyme time. The stage is not a librarian’s natural habitat. They are soft, gentle, bookish people, not shameless performers with rowdy voices and jazz hands and all that razzamattaz. They wear spectacles, they don’t want to be one. Whoever thought it was a good idea to put them through this torture?
Well, lucky for us mums and dads, someone did. And weekly, at a library near you, your toddler can be entertained by a mortified cardigan-wearing bookworm who at that very moment is cursing their job description and wishing they could curl up (with a good book) and die.
I’m sure the lady running our rhyme time is a fabulous librarian. A font of all knowledge. A veritable walking encyclopedia with amazing IT skills and charming to boot. But unfortunately she also howls like an injured rhinoceros with very little sense of timing.
If we mums and dads were any good at this nursery rhyme malarkey, her lack of musical ability wouldn’t matter. After all, there were twenty of us and one of her. You’d think we could drown her out. But no. We mumble and stumble and forget the words. We make the words up. We lose the melody. And some of us (me) even mime.
And as for the actions, I really don’t have a clue. Once I’d hefted 12 kilos of toddler over my head a few times for The Grand Old Duke of York, I was pretty much spent and needed a lie down.
After what seemed like hours of caterwauling about ducks and little green men and little speckled frogs (yum, yum!) and wheels on buses, it was time for a story. That was more like it. Zero effort required by me. Zero embarrassment for rhino-in-a-cardy. But by this point, TT had had quite enough and was off at a warp-speed crawl and heading for the door.
Rhyme time and story time at the library are free, fun and educational. Torture for quiet types, but sheer heaven for boisterous toddlers. Librarians, we feel your pain. And we salute you.