Wearing a rainbow of beaded necklaces and a decorative headband while waving around a feathered mask, 19-month-old Kallie McPhetridge said goodbye to 2015 in style.
The toddler wasn’t expected to make it to midnight New Year’s Eve (understandably), so mom Michelle McPhetridge brought her to the Gig Harbor branch of the Pierce County Library on Thursday to count down 12 hours early — and before nap time.
Kallie was joined by cousins Travis, 5, and Tyler, 2.
“It’s great to have stuff for the kids to do,” said the boys’ mother Tiffany Grohoski.
Sister-in-law McPhetridge said that being able to have fun with other kids helps children understand the significance of the day.
The library hosted two countdowns Thursday and roughly 50 children attended both events.
The youngest patrons, those birth to 3 years old, counted down to 11 a.m. The older kids counted down to noon. Other Pierce County Library branches held similar countdowns.
Children used stickers and crayons to decorate paper crowns and “shakers” to help ring in the lunch hour.
Staying up until 1 in the morning, those days are behind us now.
Malini Fowler, mother of 15-month-old Henry
For the youngest crowd, youth services librarian Holly Smith read “Goodnight Moon Counting” to help the children practice counting. The older kids were able to get their wiggles out by dancing to three songs. Both groups got to shake egg shakers and throw brightly colored scarves into the air to prepare for the final seconds of festivities.
As they watched their 15-month-old son Henry run around, Justin and Malini Fowler joked they expected to find themselves, like him, in bed by midnight.
“He gets up too early,” Malini said of Henry. “Staying up until 1 in the morning, those days are behind us now.”
Michael DiRosa, 4, had fun playing with sisters Sara, 2, and Lily, 6 months, at the library but he also knew there was more to come.
“We’re gonna have a party,” he said of his family’s New Year’s Eve plans.
Mom Jennifer DiRosa laughed saying they planned to order pizza and celebrate but the kids were definitely not staying up until midnight.
As the clock neared noon Thursday, the children gathered around Smith, shakers in hand to begin their countdown. By “one” the group of roughly 30 children were jumping up and down, shaking their noise makers and cheering.
As they filed out the door a few minutes later, Smith looked at the remnants of the morning’s celebration. The floor wasn’t as messy as the streets of Time Square would be later that night, but the tiny revelers left their mark with streamer remnants, glitter stars and discarded shakers.