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It’s finally warming up here in Louisville, and Matt and I are both anxious to get out and enjoy the non-arctic air. Yesterday I could tell that Simon got out at school, because when he came home I spotted mud on the soles of his shoes. This little bit of dirt made me envious; I wanted to get out, too! So after Simon had his afternoon snack yesterday Matt and I decided to go out for “a mini walk”. I assumed this meant we’d put Simon in the Bob and walk for 20 minutes or so. Matt assumed this meant that we’d choose a destination and all walk together.

The short version of this story: Simon’s not ready for that kind of walk. There were brief moments of happiness when he’d take off down a sidewalk and run his little wobbly run with arms up and dimples blazing. But it turns out that these happy moments punctuated much longer stretches of frustration, defiance, and misery.

Had we been in a park or at the zoo, things would have been fine. But Simon wanted to go into the street, and he couldn’t; and he wanted to scurry over parts of the sidewalk that were still frozen, but we dared not let him; and he wanted to run up people’s driveways, which we allowed a little; and he wanted to run up muddy lawns, which we disallowed; and he wanted to jump in puddles, and we thwarted him at that end, too. Each disappointment on his part was manifest in the classic two-year-old presentation of whining, crying, trying to pull away from us, and, eventually, staging a sit-in.

Twenty or thirty minutes into our “mini-walk” we hit a mega wall. Simon wanted to do everything he couldn’t, the sidewalk reached a treacherous part where it was icy and broken up from old tree roots, and Matt’s attempt to carry him resulted in full-scale revolt. Simon screamed and writhed in his arms, and it became clear to us all that it was going to be a long, hard slog home.

The only course of action that suggested itself was to go get the car and drive the single block down the street to get them. I volunteered for the march of defeat, greeting a neighbor along the way who asked me “is that your son crying down the street.” Yes, yes it was. By the time I reached Matt and Simon, they were walking two-by-two down the sidewalk and it looked like all was well. Upon closer inspection, I could see that Simon was navigating through tears, and Matt informed me that he had been crying out “come back, Mommy” in varying levels of desperation ever since I left. It was the fear that got him walking.

So lesson learned. Until the world no longer looks like an obstacle course to Simon and/or unless it’s safe and acceptable for him to go most places he wants to, we’ll stick with the stroller. And maybe in a week or so, when the ice is all gone and I’ve gotten him some decent boots, we can try a neighborhood stroll again.

One Response to “A Very Grand Misadventure”

  1. blg says:

    The very hardest thing *I* ever tried to internalize about kids is that you have to try to structure experiences and outings to limit the times you have to say “no”.
    Like certain people’s homes (maybe they have a pool, maybe their living room is full of breakables).
    And, apparently, though I wouldn’t have predicted it, going for a walk.

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