Sunday, November 14, 2010

two kids walking

I decided this weekend that I have been pushing the kids around in the double stroller for too long. The age gap between them, twenty four months, meant that I needed a double stroller when Geekyboy was little. Geekygirl's reluctance to walk anywhere, combined with my inclination to acquiesce to her requests, and the rather child unfriendly topography of our neighbourhood has ensured that I have continued to push them everywhere, even though they are now not little at all. I had reached the point of driving to places within walking distance, because I was physically incapable of pushing the 70 combined pounds of child for any length of time. Those hills might be tough on a littler person's legs but they are tougher on a mothers gluteus maximus.

So when we decided to take advantage of an unseasonably warm November day and head to the playground I put my foot down. No stroller. We chose the closest and least vertically challenging playground option and got there without complaint, Geekygirl a skipping, sprinting sprite, waiting impatiently at the intersections for her steadily tromping little brother.

Getting home again was more challenging. The kids have become accustomed to riding home after their playground exertions.  Relaxing in the McClaren chariot, eating crackers and drinking milk while their exhausted mother strains to push them home.

They set off in good spirits, climbing little walls and chattering away. We were almost home, and I could see poor Geekyboy was very tired, his eyes glazing over as he stolidly placed one little Croc'ed foot in front of the other. Geekygirl was still full of energy, and as we reached the final stretch, a steep downhill incline, she decided to run. She loves to run pell mell down the hills. I'm always in two minds as to whether to stop her, or let her enjoy it. It must feel a bit like flying to run into gravity like that. Back in my running days and before my knees hit middle age I used to quite enjoy it myself. I'm always in awe of her grace and bravery as she hurtles along, and I figure that the best way to learn one's limits is to push them.

Today she met them, she stumbled and fell. A split second later a howl bellowed out. When I ran to her picked her up, ensuring no serious damage, and intending to carry her the rest of the way, Geekyboy just sat down. I think seeing his sister being carried was just too much for him to bear after he had trudged for so long without complaint. It was one of those sudden moments in motherhood, when a lovely time turns in a split second into a stand off. A missed step over an uneven paving slab and suddenly the world goes wrong. I was left standing with two howling unmovable kids, within sight of our front door.

We got home, of course. Both children pulled themselves together remarkably well, and I remained calm too.  I still think "operation walk on your own two legs" can be called a success. Anyone want a rather heavily used third hand McClaren twin traveller? Fingers crossed our double stroller days are done.