The regular event calendar for our store is consistent year round. We host a preschool and caregiver event every weekday morning at 10:30, and then keep our event space free for birthday parties on the weekends (for more on that sprinkle-filled festival, see Happy Birthday Party Blues). Mondays are for Paint-a-Story (described in The Messier the Better); Tuesdays bring Stories & Snacks, a more traditional 4–5 stories on a theme followed by muffins and conversation; on Wednesdays we host MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) and playgroups, and on Thursday we celebrate Silly Songs & Stories, a half hour of shorter tales and rhythm instruments, dancing, singing, and on my braver weeks, my ukulele or guitar.
We established this routine years ago, and often laugh when customers ask if “that messy book and art thing” or the “books and bongos” class will happen next week—of course it will. Other than holidays for which we close (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s Day and Easter) we ALWAYS keep our regular events in place. Even in December, when our party room is rimmed with tables for gift wrapping and an embarrassing amount of unreceived books (the elves work nights, thank goodness), we just push everything back and host our weekly silliness. Partly, we do that to maintain a sense of destination about our store, and keep our regular customers engaged. Surely, we use events as gentle ways to bring in new people, meet their children, and try to charm our way into their hearts (and maybe budgets.) Relationships take time, and we want to offer as many opportunities as we can to become friends. Being part of a parent’s weekly routine, and seeing children frequently allows us to ask about progress with potty training and phonics and wiggly teeth, and share momentous occasions like first words and wobbly steps.
I went to sleep with the Edelweiss grid open and now there’s drool on the keyboard and my author visit pitch for that new YA fantasy is just fjkldkjslkdfldkfjlsdkfjlkjlksdjfldkfjlsdkfjldskfjldksfjldskfj….. and it’s submitted and when I got out of bed I tripped on that stack of ARCs and I spilled coffee on my last clean shirt (and I have a school presentation this morning) and I could tell it was going to be a really bad day.
At morning staff meeting Antonia got the jelly doughnut and Nichelle got the last apple fritter so I had to eat the leftover granola bar from the drawer under the register with no coffee because I spilled it. All of the folding chairs were gone, too, so I had to sit in the bean bag chair. I said I would get a backache in the bean bag. No one even answered. I could tell it was going to be a quite horrible day.
I think I might move to Canada.