Our neighborhood backs up to a park, a river, and a wildlife refuge. This morning, we finally braved the 3-mile bike trail lining the water. On foot.
The first half mile was pure bliss. Peter ran ahead of Tom and I with a picturesque abandon. Then he wanted to see the ants, pick out rocks, and look at various leaves. Any good mother would encourage this hands-on learning experience, giving her two-year-old time to explore and concentrate. I certainly pictured myself to be this sort.
But pregnancy hormones do little for my patience. I quickly grew tired of prodding him along. To his great despair, we loaded Peter into the umbrella stroller which we'd lugged along for just such an emergency. Tom had been carrying it strapped to his backpack.
So, pushing a stroller on such a level bike trail poses little problems. Except when you and your spouse are both tall, and you have to hunch over to reach the handles. I'm sure that fancier strollers have adjustable handles, but when you rarely use a stroller... well, you don't buy the fancy one.
Of course, we could invest in an ergo (more supportive than our old mei tai) in which case Tom-- who is not 31 weeks pregnant-- could comfortable carry Peter on his back. But we've hardly worn Peter in the past year, because A) he'd rather walk "all by himself" and B) letting him burn energy is highly desirable. So investing in a fancy carrier doesn't make much sense either.
Where does this leave us? Oh, yeah-- hunched over our $20 umbrella stroller for the next mile.
Halfway through, we spread a blanket for a breakfast of hardboiled eggs, blueberries, and cheese. This made it all seem worth it, and we contemplated making this a Saturday morning tradition.
For the next half mile, Peter walked peacefully holding my hand. This would be a Saturday morning tradition for sure. All we had to do was hold hands, right? But then Peter, who had been watching Tom push the stroller (which he decided was less cumbersome than carrying it on his back), decided he wanted to push it himself. Since we were down to 1 mile, why not?
A half-mile later, I knew why not. Keeping a stroller-pushing two-year-old on the path is tedious. The tantrum he throws when you insist he ride in the stroller for the rest of the ride home isn't much fun either.
I'm not sure when we'll do this again. Whenever it is, we'll turn back after one mile.
I miss the days of throwing Peter on my back as I went about my business, not loaded down with a stroller, and hardly hearing a peep as my child so contentedly took in the sights.