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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Pockets Full of Pine Cones

Have you ever walked a puppy and a toddler? If you went any slower, you'd be going backwards. I've been trying to teach Ollie, our 4-month-old Shih Tzu puppy that when I put the leash on him, that is a sign to move his little legs, not lie down and take a nap. So Ella and I have been trying to take Ollie for walks. She takes her bike or scooter and I take Ollie and his leash. Ollie puts his leash in his mouth at an apparent attempt to help walk himself.

Originally, I had thought that with a toddler on a vehicle made for zooming, it would keep Ollie motivated to keep moving too. 

That was before I realized that my toddler and "zooming" do not go hand in hand. At least not when I want them to.

I've discovered that small humans and small dogs have the exact same attention span. About 27 seconds long. Ella and/or Ollie has to stop every square of sidewalk and pick a dandEElion (as Ella calls them). Or eat a dandelion, if you're Ollie. Luckily Ella hasn't tried to ingest any wild vegetation on our walks yet. She gives the scrunched, wilted little "flowas" to me for my hair. I am very yellow and weedy by the time we get home from a walk.
Every bug we see, we have to stop and investigate. Every blade of grass is more interesting than the last. Sometimes, gasp, there are even PUDDLES that we have to splash through one-hundred-and-twelve times each! If there's a butterfly flitting by, forget it. We just have to stop and stare for 7 solid minutes. And if there are clouds, we have to lay down on our backs and see what shapes we can find in the sky. In the middle of our walk.

Taking a "walk" with Ella and Ollie is more like an excruciatingly slow, meandering, distracted, exploration of minutiae we find on the block around us. 

At first I was getting really irritated with the two small beings. I wanted to go for a walk. I wanted to move quickly. Get this accomplished. Move on to the next part of my day. And the small beings were SO INCREDIBLY SLOW. Ella was off her scooter investigating the world more than she was on it, scooting. Ollie was lounging in the grass, eating weeds, more than his legs were moving in a forward direction. Can we just move forward for more than THREE STEPS?? We're supposed to be WALKING here, people, WALKING. Very irritating.

But then I thought about how the world must look to these two little beings. I tried to see our block through their eyes, just to understand their perspective. I realized how big the trees are that they just plop under to take a rest in the shade. I realized how tiny the roly-poly bugs are that Ella found under a rock, and how she's never seen them curl up before. I thought how both of my precious small beings are smelling, seeing, and feeling things for the very first time. Even a simple walk around the block is full of adventure and excitement for Ollie and Ella. They are both so curious, of course they both have to stop and investigate every single pine cone they find. Ella is so sweet, of course she has to move every small stick off the sidewalk for Ollie, just in case he wants to eat one and gets an owie from it. I tried to view our walk from their perspective, and I tried to be ok with slowing down a bit. I made a conscious effort to enjoy the walk through the eyes of the little ones who were with me.
Sometimes I try to see things through my kids' eyes to see what's going on with them. What they're thinking, seeing, experiencing. I'm sure they often feel that they are rushed. We have a schedule, appointments, school, whatever, and we have to GO. My kids are more the meandering type rather than the GO type. It must be hard to live in a state of feeling rushed. So sometimes I try really hard to go against every fiber of my being and slow down. I try not to rush the kids. Just let them experience life the way they want to while not being on my schedule. It's amazing what comes from letting the kids do that. You might come home with a head full of beautiful weeds and pockets full of pine cones. And a new appreciation for the huge, amazing, intriguing world around you.

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