On the Trail Again
I used to take my tiny kids out somewhere most mornings. I’ll admit, this was largely due to the fact that getting them to take their naps in a moving two-ton vehicle is exceptionally easier than doing it in a soft, comfy bed (weirdos!). But, I have fallen out of the habit. Something about the monumental list of things that must be done before two little people, and the person entirely responsible for them, can get out the door for an entire segment of the day is just too intimidating. The volume of work plus potential tears, theirs and mine, is not worth the effort, it seems.
However, getting the kids outside, like most forms of action, is always worth it when you do it. From exercise, to a job interview, to throwing a dinner party, to running a marathon, odds are, you’ll be glad you hurled yourself over that mountain of prep and got going. It doesn’t even have to be over and you’ll start being grateful you’re doing it.
Reminding myself of the above, which I should know darn well by now, I started to get the kids and myself ready at 7:30 am. By 9:45, we were out the door. (Sidebar for working parents: how in the name of all that is good and holy do you get your kids out the door in time to drop them off at day care and still get to work on time???? This is beyond my comprehension and my hat is off to you. Like, seriously. I feel pretty clever if I can get going before lunch).
So. This morning, all optimism and denial, I jumped right in.
I prepared a hot breakfast, three minutes later removed a hot breakfast from the frig where it was being “saved for Daddy,” packed lunches, and showered. I brushed three sets of teeth and got the attached bodies dressed. Immediately thereafter, I removed certain garments from one of the dressed bodies and cleaned up poop.
I engaged in a hot debate about which shirt to wear (the seasonally appropriate one Mommy carefully picked out for you vs. the dirty sleeveless undershirt from the floor). I discussed the pros of wearing shoes (going outside) and the cons of not wearing shoes (not bloody going outside), filled water bottles, and found everyone’s sun hats. I packed wet cloths to wipe bio-hazardous hands (“Look, Mommy! Trash!”) before lunch.
I packed a small backpack with diapers, wipes, warm hats, and light jackets. I politely demanded the big boy check for pee pee one last time since I am out of fresh underwear to accommodate an accident in the field.
Then, the baby and I had an engaging discussion about whether he would walk to the car of his own accord or be carried very much against his own accord, and, finally, we examined the outcomes of various parties being honored with strapping him into his car seat.
And, away we went.
The car ride was enhanced by a chorus of “I want dirty shirt onna floor!” on an endless loop. The encore performance was, “No Mommy put onna my shoes!!”
I decided to make it a quick drive. We went over to Mission Trails Regional Park, which is mainly just lots of open space and trails where your little kids can run until their legs give out. This also helps them nap.
Once we arrived at an agreement about shoes and set our feet on the ground, all was peace. There were caterpillars, logs that were probably dinosaur bones, bike tracks that were definitely backbones, rocks, holes, sticks, and bees. Basically, fun.
I made one mistake: I didn’t shlep our lunch out on the trail with us. By the time we finally circled back to a picnic table at the trail head, I had been carrying both tired, hungry boys for what seemed like a thousand feet. (And I thought carrying the lunch bag would be awkward). But there was something sweet about it, nonetheless. And it’s really great for your biceps.
Happy Presidents Day. I hope you get outside to enjoy our country’s wonderful, restorative open spaces. Just remember to bring your lunch with you.