There’s just one little plot twist.
Getting Dorian to sit still as I recite flowery prose from Beatrix Potter is a bit like inviting a wild boar to a tea party with your best china then asking him to behave. If we get through one book without him flailing his arms and rolling onto his stomach, then he’s engrossed in rapidly flipping pages before we have time to find out what mischief Squirrel Nutkin has gotten himself into.
I soldier on knowing the enjoyment he’s experiencing now and for years to come is worth the paper casualties. Goodnight Moon masticated, and food splattered on Green Eggs and Ham. So when I need a break as storyteller, we head to Blue Manatee for a story time.
Tucked in a cozy block of kid-friendly shops in the Oakley business district, Blue Manatee children’s bookstore is a place to socialize with other children and parents. You can cuddle up with your kids on the couch or floor and let someone else turn the pages and invent the funny character voices. Along with readings, storytellers incorporate songs and movement, so wiggle worms, like Dorian, are welcome.
ManaBabies Story Time with Miss Alicia is tailored for babies up to six-months-old. Between each story Miss Alicia takes time for songs, movement and puppet shows. The activities promote language, body awareness and bonding.
Jewish heritage is the focus of Story Time with PJ Library. Story tellers from the Jewish Community Center also sing traditional Jewish songs and make crafts with the kids. Dorian made a shaker with a paper plate filled with beans, which has become a constant source of amusement.
For the bilingual baby, try a foreign language story time. French, Spanish and German speakers lead the readings each month. Many studies point to the cognitive benefits to raising a multilingual baby. Who knows, maybe these simple stories with repetitive words and pictures will even help bilingual-challenged parents like me brush up on our language skills.
Blue Manatee is a bookstore designed for kids. So when stories and even songs can’t hold Dorian’s attention, there’s plenty for him to explore. He’ll crawl through a bookcase shaped like a train, then toddle up to a papier-mâché tree sprouting from a corner of the store. But truly Dorian is a bookworm at heart, and by that I mean he loves to climb the shelves, toppling every book in his path.
Find a complete list of Blue Manatee events under the ActivAtees page of the website. Story times are free and updated monthly. Other activities are just a few dollars to attend. I like to download the pdf calendar to my phone so I’m never at a loss for what to do with my wiggle worm Dorian.
Selena Reder is a mother, writer and part-time video producer living in Cincinnati, Ohio with her son Dorian and husband Tim. Dorian loves chasing Selena and Tim’s tailless cat, making messes for dad to clean up, squealing loud enough for the neighbors to hear and staring at strangers until it’s uncomfortable. Tim loves Dungeons and Dragons, Margaret Atwood and writing meticulous grocery lists.
Selena loves washing cloth diapers, binging on British TV (Top Gear, Only Fools and Horses, Doc Martin, etc) painting and knitting super fancy baby sweaters. She also loves working part-time with her video editor husband (special shout out to her parents and in-laws for being great babysitters!).
If Selena were stranded on a desert island with only one thing to do for the rest of her life, she would nurse her son in their favorite chair. It’s the best thing in the world right now.