Walking with a toddler takes time. Time sweet time. The kind of time that despite countless experiences remains almost impossible to comprehend. A bit like waiting for the bell to ring at the end of a school day. Or for a Chinese take away to arrive. Or for that blue idiot Iggle Piggle to float away in his poxy little boat towards certain hypothermia or a brutal, vicious, devastating shark attack at the end of In the Night Garden!
However much time you set aside for a trip to the park it's never enough, and it's generally dark or raining by the time you finally arrive. Give yourself 20 minutes to pop to the Co-Op and you might as well write the whole day off, all for the sake of a pretty bang average Chicken Stew & Dumplings. Wherever you go it's very much a walk of pain.
To give a rough ETA following a walk somewhere with Joshua it's pretty much pram journey time multiplied by 10. But what is it that causes this never-ending trek, when in reality our little one can walk as quickly as I can if he wants to?
The answer is a) STUFF and b) THINGS.
If there was no STUFF to look at, or THINGS to touch, on the way from A to B there would be no issues. In fact I would probably spend my time in slightly uncomfortable, chafing speed-walk mode in order to keep up with his little legs because when he gets a wriggle on he's a speedy little bugger.
Our local park, for example, is a brisk 5 minutes walk away, or at most a 10 minute stroll. Unfortunately there is STUFF and indeed THINGS on the way to the park. The presence of this STUFF and these THINGS leads to an average park journey time well in excess of 30 minutes. For the miscalculating parent like myself this generally leaves around four minutes of time to actually play in the park before the sun sets or before his dinner is due.
In case you were curious, trying to remove our little one from the play equipment after four minutes is like watching a person accidently falling into a woodchipping machine - ear-piercing screams and arms and legs flying everywhere.
The journey back from the park is even longer than the journey to the park given the requirement for our little one to individually greet each of the horses in the adjacent stables / riding school.
STUFF and THINGS encountered on our round trip to the park that must be interacted with include multiple drains, lamp posts, gravel driveways, a grass hill, holes in brick walls, picking up sticks, hugging trees, sitting on every seat / bench available, a bush where a bee was once encountered, four roads to cross, and, depending on the day of the week, approximately twenty wheelie bins that need banging!
Within those journeys there is also a requirement to stop and run at random intervals and to sit on the floor for no apparent reason. It's a treat for the senses and no mistake!
The moral of the story is really not to make any time-critical plans, or not to embark on a journey anywhere within a couple of hours of sunset / meal time / sleep time. Or to just take the car. Or just never leave the house...
This post was originally posted at A Life Just Ordinary.