A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to fathom this, but my wife and I rarely use our son’s stroller anymore.
He’s become quite adept at walking and loves to be on his feet seeing everything and exploring, so most of the time we leave the stroller at home when we take him out into the world. Of course, those excursions are generally things like trips to the grocery store or a restaurant, so they’re not filled with more walking than he would be able to handle.
If we were going to go to a zoo or walk around the park for a while, we would certainly bring the stroller with us, but for little trips, it’s fun to give him a chance to be on his feet.
We try to have him always hold at least one of our hands when he’s walking around but sometimes he doesn’t make that very easy. He seems to be getting more used to it, but he’ll still pull his little hand away as hard as he can until he gets free. Then he likes to toddle ahead at full speed.
Because of that little maneuver, I try to hold on tighter, so he can’t pull his hand free. However, his new move has become slowly lowering himself to the ground until I let him sit down. He keeps holding my hand through it, he is just determined to not move until he gets to investigate whatever it is he has seen on the ground.
He started doing it when I would let him walk our two dogs with me. At first, he was thrilled to be holding a leash and loved to walk along behind the dogs as they made their way to the courtyard at our apartment complex. But then things like leaves and acorns would capture his attention and he’d let the leash fall so he could investigate these new items.
On Mother’s Day last week, we left the complex and went walking on the streets to give my wife some time to relax as she wasn’t feeling 100 percent. When I take the dogs on a real walk like this one, it can take me 20 to 30 minutes and I knew bringing the baby was going to add to that time.
However, what I wasn’t ready for was just how stubborn he was going to be in investigating every leaf, rock and twig he saw. The whole trip ended up taking nearly an hour.
When we passed a magnolia tree he was clearly perplexed by the large leaves that don’t look like anything in the courtyard. It was cute and I was happy to let him crouch down and gather a few for close inspection. I kept him from trying to taste the new leaves, but he was still fascinated several minutes later. The dogs were tired of standing around so I picked the boy up and carried him for a little while.
After a couple minutes, his relatively light weight began to get heavy so I once again put him on the ground with a leash. I don’t think we went more than a few yards before he was back sitting on the ground checking out a bunch of rocks next to the sidewalk. This time he picked out a smooth one he really liked and wouldn’t let go of it for anything.
He carried it through the rest of our walk — both when he had a leash and when he was being carried — and proudly presented it to his mother once we got home.
It wasn’t the most useful of Mother’s Day gifts, but it was definitely something he picked out on his own.
William C. Wadsack is the managing editor of the Herald Democrat and a first-time father. He never realized just how expensive children could be until the birth of his son. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @WCWadsackHD.