Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Take a Walk with a Toddler and a Preschooler

With the weather being so nice lately, we've enjoyed going on some walks. Today, we walked around the block (about .7 of a mile, according to usatf running routes), and I'm sure if anyone saw us it looked like the circus was coming to town. Ellie started out with her coat and helmet firmly secured, riding her bike. Norah started out with her coat, a balloon, and riding in the wagon. About 200 feet into the endeavor, Norah and Ellie were running down the sidewalk, looking back at me every once in awhile to say, "Ha-ha-ha-ha-Ha!" in a taunting voice. I was pulling a wagon full of bike, helmets, balloon, coats, and a couple of rocks they found in the road. Later, Ellie was pulling the wagon, Norah was riding on my shoulders and I was holding rocks in my hands. And later still, Norah was riding in the wagon and Ellie was practicing braking on her bike while I pulled the wagon and guided her handlebars down a hill. 45 minutes later we arrived back home. And I loved it. And they loved it. And life is good.

After nine years of having a toddler (four different kids, not nine years of the same kid), I think I have finally figured out how to take a walk with kids. I used to march purposefully around the block, thinking about how I needed to get home so I could clean the house/write a blog/lay down and perish. I was trying to get their little heartrates up, so I could do my part to combat childhood obesity. I figured walks should take maybe 10 minutes tops, and we should all move forward in a linear fashion, arriving at our destination out of breath and triumphant. That never happened. There were many times that I'm sure my neighbors thought, "That crazy lady is beating her children in public again. They should just stay in the house." When really, the children had insisted they wanted to go on a walk, but discovered halfway into it that they were tired. And when you're halfway you have two options: 1. Turn around or 2. Keep going. Both involve walking halfway again. But I've persevered with my walks, and now I bring you:

WALKING WITH CHILDREN: Tips to help you smell the roses

1. Bring a wagon. Even if they insist that they will walk/ride the whole way. They will want to ride their bike, or a scooter, or some bouncy ball thing with a handle, for about 100 feet. Just far enough for it to be a huge pain to walk back to the house and put the bike/scooter/ball away. So either you carry it, leave it in the road while your child screams hysterically and hits your back, or pull it in the wagon cheerfully.

2. Be prepared to take a rest(s).Even if you are only three houses away from your house. Don't be afraid to pull up a square of sidewalk and have a nice little chat while you're resting.

3. Don't try to count it as extra running mileage. Your heartrate will not go up. (It might spike at short intervals when chasing your child away from the road/garbage/dog poop they inevitably discover.)

4. Bring Food and Water. You might think "I'm just going around the block. I'll be right back." But you won't. (Don't leave the stove on either.) And you will probably have to bribe one of the children somewhere along the way.

5. Just think, "I don't have anything better to do. I don't have anything better to do." And believe it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Resolutions 2014

So now that it is February, and everyone has already given up on their resolutions, I am going to start mine. I've decided to keep it simple this year. Once, I saw a ginormous Christmas tree, decorated to the max, huge gold and cream bulbs, yards of beautiful lacy ribbon, sticky-outy-flower things, tons of lights, and a ginormous star towering on the top limb. But right in the middle of the tree was a beautiful wooden sign, painted and decorated elaborately that said, "Keep It Simple."  So not that kind of simple, more like Charlie-Brown's-tree-before-it-was- decorated simple. 

2014 Resolutions:
1. Always choose love
Last year I fell into this bad habit of choosing swearing, and anger, and exasperation followed by heavy "woe-is-me" sighs. And I thought, "Why do my children try so hard to ruin my life?" When I think they were just trying to survive. I was pretty sure they were having nightly meetings about how to make me angry and disgusted. Turns out that I was imagining this. I was choosing to feel those things in reaction to normal, everyday life. And I was miserable and I think my kids were probably miserable too. I thought a lot of things like, "How many gosh darn &**%& times do I have to tell them to not ____________?" And "How many times is it going to take for them to learn that _________________?" Well, it turns out a lot of times. And that's okay. That's normal. 

When I turned my angry parenting magnifying glass to my own life, I realized that it takes me a lot of times to learn a lesson. And sometimes, even when I've learned that if I eat a whole bag of chocolate chips I will feel very sick, I still eat a whole bag of chocolate chips. So I'm choosing love instead of swearing and exasperation. Love and understanding for everyone, everywhere. And I hope my children will choose that for me too. 

2. Run a half marathon 
I've lost that loving feeling for running. And I'm trying to dig myself out of the afraid-hole that I buried myself in. Move legs move! I'm focusing with lasers on this goal. (I mean it. I'm printing out a sign and I'm going to point my laser pointer at it every morning.) I'm signed up for the half in Ogden this May. I understand that there are a lot of little goals underneath this one like 1. Eat right (I'm currently going 30 days without eating sweets) 2. Go to bed on time (10:30 at the latest) 3. Exercise 6 times a week (this is mostly done in the early, early morning). I'm going to do it! 

And that's it. Once I run the half marathon I'll have to choose some other goal, but until then, that's what I'm concentrating on.

And just for fun, here's a little synopsis of last year's resolutions and how they were (or weren't) accomplished.

1. Be More Awesome--Nailed it. I am totally more awesome this year than I was last year at this time. In what ways? I bought a pair of skinny jeans-powah! Awesome oozes from every pore in my body when I wear those babies. (And I am only like 5 years behind the fashion curve. Way more awesome than 10 years behind it.) And the number one measure of my awesomeness? My dance skills. 
2. Eat less crap--Well, this one was on again, off again. I'm a yo-yo crap (not real crap, just junkfood crap) eater. I was moderating nicely until Thanksgiving. Or maybe it was Halloween. On second thought, that might have been Easter that I gave up and just started giving myself permission to eat badly. So not so good on this one. 
3. Get out of bed--Hey, I'm doing it! I have an occasional Monday or a Wednesday that I don't make it up at 6:30, but most mornings I'm up and at 'em, Adam Aunt. (It totally helps that my children are not babies anymore. And I am not nursing them. Not that I nurse them when they are not babies, but anyway, you get the point.)
4.  Cut Ellie's bedtime routine down from 1.5 hours to 10 minutes. We are down to 30 minutes (most nights). So I have made some progress. 
5. Beat Mike in the Spudman--Alright, I didn't beat Mike in the Spudman. However, I did beat him in the swim and the bike. He caught me in the first mile of the run and didn't look back though. This is my year, right knees? Right?