Monday, 2 July 2012

The Road Less Travelled

Our daughter likes walking.  A lot.  She’s really a big fan of perambulation.  Offer her the chance to go for a walk and she’ll have her shoes on before you can finish your sentence.  They usually won’t be on the right foot of course, in fact often they won’t be on her feet at all, but you can tell that she’s eager. 

If you asked her though, she’d probably say that she was a walker in the mould of Sir Ranulph Fiennes or Ray Mears, you know, the adventurous sort, not content to follow the map.  If her grasp of idiom were better she may even say that she was mostly an ‘off the beaten track’ kind of a gal and that walking on pavements was for sissies who couldn’t cope with off roading.  That’s pretty much what I assume she is saying to me anyway as we make our way down another pavement.

Oh can we go up there?  Can we?  What do you mean by car?

You see, she is ecstatic any time a walk is mentioned.  She really will try to get her shoes on when you mention a walk, and even when she didn’t really understand, as soon as you started to get her ready to go out she was all for it.  Going for a walk was a pretty guaranteed way to achieve number one parent status for the whole week, if not longer.  (Now of course my wife and I don’t vie for that sort of think, what sort of parents do you think we are?  No, we don’t have a poster on the wall charting our current parental approval rating, although come to think about it…Which makes me think of this strip from Calvin and Hobbes which is, of course, a totally amazing cartoon.) 

But back to walking.  She loves it, until, that is, she is actually participating in it.  Off she goes, with you struggling to keep up.  You find yourself trailing behind, grasping on to the reins as she power walks the first few metres.  And then it’s as though some switch flicks in her brain, she realises that she isn’t going to be beating her own trail and she turns to you accusingly and demands to know what you mean by this. 
How can you not be taking me hiking?  She asks.
Surely we aren’t going to trudge these streets again?  She implores.
Haven’t we been this way before?  She questions
And then the coup de grace,
Pick me up, now, please.
That last one actually comes out more like, Carry, Carry, Carry, until you give up and hoist her aboard.  This marks the end of any sort of walking for her.

Recently we were going to the shops roughly 0.492 miles away, approximately.  Anyway, they’re a decent walk for 18 month old legs.  We walked across the grass, which obviously made her feel like a mountaineer so she was prepared to humour me and walk a little further.  Having, however, made our purchases, and finding that we were seeming to take the more conventional paved way home, N decided to take matters into her own hands.  Thus the inevitable cries for a carry ensued.  I obliged (I have the parental approval wall chart to think of remember) until I was delighted to find that she wanted to run. 

Or not.  A couple of unsuccessful attempts to get her to run later it began to dawn on me that actually what she wanted was for daddy to run.  Carrying her.  And the shopping.  Which was not light.  She wasn’t to be deterred, no matter how much persuading and cajoling I tried, so off we went, half a mile with my daughter in one arm and the shopping in the other.  I’m not going to lie to you, people stared.  My daughter was cackling in delight as we went, occasionally pausing to bellow WINDY in my ear.  The shopping bags were doing some form of dance step that I’m pretty sure is Inter-Galactic in origin, and I was turning a shade normally only reserved for the tip of Sir Alex Ferguson’s nose, I think London 2012 has come too soon for me in this particular category, Rio 2016 is what my training has been aiming for.

Great manager, scary nose

Eventually we arrived home.  I had shattered my personal best for running 50% of a mile with child and shopping.  N was the most delighted I had seen her outside of a meal time, and my wife was doubled over with laughter at my beetrooty visage.

Perhaps one day, as we’re kayaking down the Zambeze on our way to the next polar expedition, she’ll tell me why, on that June day, she had taken it upon herself to explore the limits of my fitness.  Until then I’ll just have to remain in the dark.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, a great post! My daughter also gets excited at the feel of the wind in her hair. Children certainly help to keep you fit!