Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Long Walk Home

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.


kristen said...

Yikes. Things get hard when they have trouble walking a long distance and get really heavy. Make that times two and I was FRUSTRATED with my inability to go any distance reliably.

I am so glad I broke down and bought a super expensive jogger (at a great price! $150 off buying it in town!) when we moved to this walkable neighborhood. Even with my personal physical limitations, I can easily push the kids to the library, several friends, and to Five Points, so that opens up a lot of opportunities for us to spend time together in the neighborhood, out and about. And, before I bought it, I found no less than FIVE Wanted to Buys on craigslist in B'ham, Atlanta and Raleigh so I knew when I was finished with it, there should be a market for a used one. And actually, a used one sold for more on ebay than I paid for mine the week I got it. So...

martha said...

Craigslist is AWESOME! That's where I've started looking for virtually everything before going to a store. Though we still do so little long distance walking, a jogger would mostly take up space in our garage.

I've heard of some bars that can be attached to standard stroller handles, making them a little taller. That's what I need to look for.

Now, in your case, in the big city-- so glad you have some good transportation. I love doing things by foot, miss having a village nearby...

Susie said...

Oh my! The thought of walking three miles all pregnant is not a good one, of course I'm a little more pregnant than you, but still.

Hey, get the Ergo already. You'll get probably three good years out of it even if you don't have a third baby, making it a frugal expenditure even if you couldn't then resell it, which you could, for probably around $75, so seriously, I'm having a hard time with the logic of depriving yourself of good gear! :-)

Amy said...

I have an all terrain stroller I'd be glad to let you have. Not using it any more... Now how to get it to you????

martha said...

Amy-- Ah, so nice! Really, though, the problem isn't the durability of our stroller (the bike trail is really smooth) but the height. And, of course, the fact that Peter would rather be walking.

Susie-- Would you believe I took a 6-mile walk at 41 weeks pregnant? Which totally crushed my belief in a long walk for inducing labor. As for the ergo... maybe I found one used...

Susie said...

OK, walking for 6 miles at 41 weeks is just scary! Clearly, it just told your body "Hey, I have far to travel, can't be having a baby just now!" Maybe this time you should lie around like everything's ready and you're just so tired and the baby needs to come out 'cause you're weary and delicate ... but every now and then find some stairs to climb just to punctuate the point, lol! I swear I climbed the stairs a million times the weekend before going in to have Ryan. Yes, I was induced on schedule ... but I did walk in 3.5 cm dilated, having done nothing known for labor induction except laundry.