April 27, 2002 - Saturday
Our local library celebrated Earth Day today with a visiting road show of live animals. It seemed like a no-brainer to take Harry to and, sure enough, he was enthralled by the small collection of ocean creatures - calms, starfish, various crabs, and mussels - that the kids were allowed to touch. Fortunately, when we got to this aquatic room it was not at all crowded, the certain result of another live demonstration in a different room where an instructor was showing off larger animals like a turtle, a centipede, a (small) alligator, and others sure to garner fascination from slightly older kids than Harry. I thought Harry would be interested, too, and brought him into that room when it seemed he needed to give other kids a chance with the sea creatures. Unfortunately, when we got there the program had already begun with a large audience of kids already in place and I guess that prevented Harry from ever getting comfortable or really even looking at the turtle being held up in front. He immediately retreated into the relative comfort of my shoulder with entreaties to leave the crowded room. At least he didn't scream his displeasure, but we didn't last more than five minutes before it was clear that Harry was not going to get into the spirit of exploration in this crowded environment. I was thinking how Harry definitely needed to start going to the larger daycare to get more accustom to groups of kids.
Downstairs in a side room off the children's room of the library, the staff had set up a project making space with all sorts of recycled materials - popsicle sticks, bottle tops, Styrofoam popcorn, random beads, etc. - and glue and Harry immediately set to work right away at being a two-year old. After we'd been in there for 15-20 minutes with just a few other kids the room filled to over-capacity. The program upstairs had clearly ended. But, this time Harry didn't even notice. I guess it happened gradually enough that Harry, who was there first and perhaps established a comfort with the place, didn't care. He was too busy gluing and stuffing and obsessing.
Heck, I guess anyone would be a little nervous going into a large group of people. Harry's no different and he'll be just fine at daycare.