A slightly above-average achiever's guide to parenting
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Living Life at a Toddler Pace
August 27, 2015
I'm a bit of a fast walker. Perhaps it's from years of living without a car in Boston and having to walk quickly in the winter, or maybe it's because I grew up with a 6'1" brother and a 6'4" father so "going for a walk" meant "sprinting to catch up". But in any event, I tend to walk quickly and have developed my own sport of weaving through tourists on Hanover Street during the summer.
Chewie, by contrast, is not such a fast walker. I know, I know, I should cut him some slack because he has "shorter legs" and "has only been walking for less than a year" and "is only a toddler". But the real reason he's a slow walker is because he looks at every, single, thing, we pass on the street. Every vestibule we pass he wants to walk into, every storefront we go by he wants to dodge into. While he may not stop and smell the roses, he defintely stops and eats the dandelions. And the rocks. And the sticks.
Like any parents, I've started to plan for this toddler pace by building in extra time to do the things that will take longer than expected...like finding shoes that were previously on his feet not 3 minutes ago before we leave the house. And stopping to watch the "curtle" (turtle) on the merry go round at least 3 times before we go anywhere.
But the most unexpected part about being "forced" into a toddler pace is how much I can absolutely love it some days. One of my favorite things to do since Chewie has been born has been to go out of the house without a stroller and let him lead the way. Nothing will force you to "enjoy the journey and not the destination" more than walking with a toddler. We have spent countless days this way and they're some of my favorites with Chewie.
We never make it far (it's a victory if we even get to Hanover street two blocks away), but in the little stretch of path we cover, I've realized that there is LOT worth seeing, so maybe he is onto something. Turhs out it actually IS pretty entertaining to watch cars and trucks whirr by on the overpass. The dog park IS a great place to sit for 30 minutes and talk to your neighbors. And the old folks home down the block IS as pleasant a place as any to dance outside on the corner and wave at the residents inside. I've never come back from one of our walks with him and thought "well that was a waste of a day". I've met neighbors I otherwise wouldn't have and have seen things I never knew were right down the block
That's not to say that I'm always this zen. If we have somewhere to be, Chewie is strapped into the stroller and there are snacks and toys to keep him occupied because we mean business. But, as often as I can, I try to enjoy life at a toddler pace. Because pretty soon, he's going to get on a scooter, and then there will be no stopping him. And his childhood will keep flying by.