Reading period

Anahit and Maria_thumb.jpg
Jack, Renee, and Joe_thumb.jpg

“Unless you have a kid,” said Joe Edwards, AB’01, juggling 16-month-old Jack with one arm and a book with the other, “you don’t know what it’s like to have exams and a teething child at the same time.” The small band of student-parents seated before him in the Ida Noyes Library—all clutching their own little ones—nodded. In the midst of finals frenzy, Tuesday afternoon’s Story Time, sponsored by the Office of Graduate Affairs’ Student Parent Group, offered a brief respite.

“We’ll have a song, then a story, then a song,” explained Joe’s wife Renee, AB’00, before jumping into a welcome melody called “Good Afternoon,” followed by a reading of Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type. The tale of barnyard bovines who discover a typewriter and begin, via letter, demanding better work conditions from their farmer elicited giggles from adults and kids alike. Next up was “Shake Your Sillies Out,” an upbeat tune by Australian children’s band the Wiggles, which got everyone— developmental-stage permitting—on their feet. A bedtime tale, Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book, calmed the group before a round of Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “I’m Being Swallowed by a Boa Constrictor.” The hour concluded with Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are and Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food?

Aside from some restlessness on Jack’s part—quickly assuaged by a pacifier, or, as Joe called it, “a parent’s greatest joy”—the kids, who ranged from four months to four years old were a well-behaved bunch. Infants Anna (7.5 mos.) and Emma (4 mos.) bounced on their parents’ laps while Anahit (4 years) quietly took in each story.

The free event was one of many parent-child activities sponsored by the Office of Graduate Affairs’ Student Parent Group each week. Organized to support the University’s approximately 500 student-parents, the group has some 150 student, postdoc, and faculty families on its listserv and also hosts holiday parties, parent-education lectures, and a discussion board. As the Story Time drew to a close, Office of Graduate Affairs’ communications and project manager Natalie Tilghman, AM’04, reminded the group of other upcoming events: a workshop on healthy eating and making your own baby food and a lecture from the Erikson Institute on Getting Your Child to Sleep. “That’ll be standing room only,” joked Renee. Again, the parents all nodded.


Anna and Suihan 2_thumb.jpg Story Time Group 1_thumb.jpg Jack and Renee_thumb.jpg Emma and Patty_thumb.jpg

Photos (side): Anahit (4 yrs) and her mom, Maria (top); Jack (16 mos.), Renee, and Joe Edwards read to the group (bottom); Photos (left to right): Anna (7.5 mos) and her dad, Suihan; Student-parents and kids bond in Ida Noyes; Jack poses with mom, Renee; Emma (4 mos.) takes in the stories with mom, Patty.

Photos by Brooke O'Neill

March 15, 2006