Today I did my first (what I consider) big Storytime at PVLD. On occasion I’ve substituted at Miraleste for Lenny Lion and did a pre-school storytime during the summer, but they weren’t in the Storytime Room, or in front of my manager, or with a mascot puppet.
I introduced the world to Jimmy, the turtle who likes to shimmy today. When I ran the LA Marathon last year, Christian got bored waiting for me to finish so he bought me some gifts. One of them was a folkmanis tortoise (because I was so slow) that I named Jimmy. I took a puppet workshop last year, hoping to get more into puppets, but I kept letting them intimidate me.
I decided today, that since they trusted me with a bigger storytime, I should jump on the bandwagon and introduce Jimmy to the world. You see, each PVLD storytime has a puppet mascot. I actually forgot that today’s was Tracy Thwacky the turtle, so we could just say that Jimmy was Tracy’s cousin. Which I didn’t, but would’ve been a fun little note now that I think about it.
Anyways, today’s theme was Dinosaurs and I used Jimmy to get the kids moving at first. Jimmy wouldn’t come out of his shell unless the kids shimmied with him, so we shook our wiggles out, and by the end, Jimmy was shaking with us. The first storytime felt kind of painful. I’m not sure if it was me being nervous about my manager listening and using Jimmy for the first time, the kids were just tired, or what, but I just wanted to get it over with after the first story. I was so happy when I was done. It was a solid storytime, but the energy just wasn’t there. I felt like they were bored – even with getting up and dancing and doing familiar songs like the Hokey Pokey and If You’re Happy & You Know It. Those are almost guaranteed crowd pleasers for me. When I kicked everyone out, I was kind of bummed. My manager told me not to worry too much, that the first crowd is always a little subdued – but she looked like it sounded as painful as it felt. lol.
I am happy to say, though, that I didn’t let the first crappy storytime deter me. I learned from my mistakes and went in more confident, making changes where I thought the storytime was especially weak and changing the way i displayed the book to a much larger crowd than I’m used to performing storytimes for. And let me tell you, the second storytime was INFINITELY better. The kids participated more, I felt more comfortable, and we just had fun. I figured how much more worse could I do than the first storytime, so I went for broke the second time. I also think, though, that the kids had a LOT to do with it. The first group could barely muster a good morning while this group was bouncing off the walls. And Jimmy’s shimmying was a whole lot better the second time around. He seemed like a much more confident, although he was still scared of those big, pesky dinos.
I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll take bouncing off the walls any day…