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Monday, January 25, 2010

It has been said that I am like Lady Gaga. (A mild exaggeration, to say the least. We definitely differ in our taste in clothes and make-up…I hope). The unlikely comparison comes from the sudden popularity of my toddler/preschool and parent music classes at two local public libraries. We were having an issue at the bigger library because people would register on-line (there were only 15 spots available per class), but then not everyone would come so I’d have a very wee-sized class of wee-sized musicians. Then we wondered: can we let others drop in to at least make it more worth my time? I mean, I do hate playing to an empty house. But then what if we let others in and all of a sudden everyone who actually registered actually shows up? It would be musical mayhem! (Musical Mayhem. I did consider that as a name for my business but decided that the mayhem part went without saying in a toddler music program, so promoting it might not be the best idea).

The proposal was made: This session, it will be a drop-in class but only open to the first 15 kiddos (aged 2-5) and parental assistant. I arrive on the first day of class to an angry toddler-mommy mob scene. They are lined up in the library…around the corner. Apparently one of the librarians didn’t want to let moms just put their names down on a list (‘cuz then what if they didn’t show back up when it was time to start and we had an empty spot), so they HAD to stand in line to hold their spot. Moms were ticked off. Librarians were ticked off. Everybody was really just way ticked off.

And because they couldn’t lose their spot in line, they had to keep angry, line-waiting children with them when the library is practically as cool as a candy store…especially this one complete with play-puppet area. With the number of people waiting in line, the library may have to invest in some Disneyland line-rope thingies. They can maze their way through the book shelves while they wait.

Anyway, this system obviously wasn’t working. So, week 2 the proposal was made: This session, 15 minutes prior to class time, the first 15 kiddos will get a ticket – a laminated piece of bell-shaped paper – which must be turned in upon class entry. Well, what did they do? They lined up 30 minutes prior to class time to get there 15 minutes prior to class time to be one of the first 15 kiddos to get a bell-themed ticket. Apparently kiddo-mom combos #’s 16-23 were hoping that some of the kiddo-mom combos #1-15 would start dropping like flies. Yeah, not so much. Kiddo-mom combos #1-15 were able to flaunt their bell tickets as they smugly entered the storytime room turned musictime room. One of the librarians said she’s concerned that people might start camping out – sleeping in sleeping bags along the sidewalk the night before the library doors even open. (Again, exaggerations, but holy majoly, people are hardcore about their toddler music classes!).

At the first library, where on-line registration has worked surprisingly well, people have started sneaking into class when the librarian’s not watching and guarding the door like a bouncer. This week, it seemed like every time I looked around the room there were a few new toddlers who hadn’t been there before. And at one point, I commented that it was like a clown car – they just kept coming through the door (even 20 minutes in to the 30 minute class)! Comical, indeed. I’m glad I’m not trying to get into one of these classes – it’s cut-throat!

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