Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bubble Fever

Yesterday while Jarrah was napping I made some calls. On the whisper of the wind occasionally float rumors of free toddler events at our esteemed local libraries. I've also heard of some sort of baby rave that goes on at Borders Books. Not only free, I heard, but with coffee for the mommies. (That last part turned out to be someone's delirious fantasy.)

Turns out "Borders Babies" is held at 10:30 every Wednesday in Mission Valley. I was a bit doubtful, but Jarrah was dressed and waiting by the door, and people, it's 90 degrees outside right now! What kind of June Gloom is this anyway?

We arrived early, but mothers and toddlers were already streaming through the front doors. Jarrah almost didn't make it, though, since she saw the books displayed out front on the sidewalk and promptly sat down to read them there. When I finally coaxed her inside to the children's area, a mob was brewing. I sat down in some squashed cranberry muffin and shielded my face from the 2 1/2 foot people who kept jabbing me with Dora the Explorer board books. Jarrah helpfully brought over two armsful of garish fluorescent dinosaurs. Eventually I ended up next to a lively young woman whose daughter turned out to be three days younger than Jarrah. It's amazing the variations on cocktail party banter that can be gleaned from spotting Target toddler play clothes in a crowd. When we exhausted that topic, we moved on to the popularity of this event, the fact that there were going to be bubbles, and which libraries have the best story times. She also told me about her C-section on Christmas Day: "I was the present--they unwrapped me from here to here." Oof. Sucks to be her. I wasn't sure what to say: "On my daughter's birthday, I was still more than a year from meeting her. But nobody unwrapped me. That was good."

"Borders Babies" consisted of three stories: one about baby monkeys that Jarrah seemed to enjoy for the ruthless crocodile who tries to eat them, one called Daddy's Day Out which actually kind of rocked, and one that was just the Pledge of Allegiance with photos, which I found sort of odd. In between stories, there was leaping and dancing to such classics as "Five Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed." Jarrah liked that part. But what she really liked was the bubble machine at the end. It looked like a red plastic submarine and when the story lady turned its handle, voluminous torrents of bubbles poured out. A bunch of kids rushed the stage at that point, a phenomenon my unwrapped friend described as "the weekly bubble mosh pit." Jarrah seemed stunned at first by this fruity abundance of bubbles, but within seconds she was right in there, pushing and jumping, and making her most enthusiastic "Gach!" sounds.

Afterwards Jarrah and I amused ourselves by listening to music samples on the giant headphones and drinking from strange children's unsupervised sippy cups. I bought Jarrah a CD that was featured in the story time (after all, Readers, isn't that why they do it?) and was taken aback when the giddy clerk asked, "Will you be watching this right away?" I stared. Watching what? And where?

"It's a CD." I countered. "Isn't it?"
"Oh, I suppose it is! It looks so fun. Can I ask you something? Do I have mascara on my face?"
"No, your mascara looks perfect."
"Thanks, sweetie. I do think you're going to enjoy this music. It doesn't look like the sleaze that's out there. (pause) I'm sorry. I suppose I should ask you if you like sleaze?"
"Uh, no. Not a big fan of the sleaze."
"I'm so glad to hear it! I myself have very eclectic taste. I shock myself sometimes. Can I ask you something? Do you know how to open these, or should I get someone?"
"I think I can figure it out. Thanks."
"Okay! Or I can get someone. There's some secret to it. I can't remember it for the life of me."

During this exchange, Jarrah kept busy by licking frantically at the purple butterfly the story lady had stamped on her hand. Today, far from being frightened of the requisite toddler stamp fest, she hurled herself into the crush of bodies clamoring for the honor of having their flesh inked. But afterwards, she had tatoo remorse, repeatedly showing me her stamp with a concerned expression. I know it's just a matter of time, though, before she becomes a stampin' pro. And a fan of the sleaze.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a delightful outing! Although I have to second your emotion on the pledge of allegience -- fine patriotic statement it may be, but it's not a story, and adding pictures doesn't make it one. xxx lix

Mary said...

I love the dialogue!

Today was so special, I am glad we were able to be together!