A walk to the shops should be a simple straight forward task that doesn’t take too long. it’s as some would say…
“A walk in the park”
Not when there is a 4.10 year old involved…
In H’s world everything is waiting to be a game. Just straightforward walking is boring. It’s much more fun to spread your arms like a plane and fly. And in H’s world planes rarely fly in straight lines, they zig zag back and forth and do loop the loops. I am constantly saying “watch where you’re going”, and muttering apologies to the strangers who play dodge the small child who is careering straight for them at break neck speed. He walks twice as far as the rest of us who are walking in boring straight lines to get to our destination.
If he’s not being a plane he’s jumping over the pavement cracks, skipping, hopping, running, dancing, anything but walking.
Then there are the abrupt halts for any number of reasons, stopping to look at his reflection in a shop window, pointing to a cyclist and asking “is that Daddy” (It could be an elderly woman or a man with two heads, but if they are on a bike it must be Daddy!), waving to the police car, seeing a car that looks like Lightning McQueen, or just because
“I’ve run out of batteries Mummy, you need to press my on switch to make me go again”
The problem with all of these abrupt halts is that they often cause pedestrian pile ups. People in a hurry on a busy high street are not often very amused by a 4 year olds ‘fun’!
Then there is the need to pick up everything he sees. A stick maybe just a stick to you and I but in H’s eyes it’s a walking stick or a sword. Stones and leaves become prized treasure (the bigger the better), feathers give him super powers, flowers are picked as a gift for me. When we are walking in the park or the forest I encourage him to hunt and gather, it’s a fun game. However when walking down the high street 99.9% of things on the floor I do not want him to pick up! Antibacterial hand gel is a handbag essential.
We have to stop (again) every few minutes to put on/remove sunglasses/hat/coat/shoes. It is impossible to wear an item for the full journey! 4 year olds rarely understand that the sun has just gone behind a cloud and will reappear in thirty seconds, they are only ever concerned with the here and now. Then there are walls to balance on, lamp posts to climb, fences to swing on, bike racks to duck under, sign posts to stop and read, crossing buttons to press (even when we are not crossing the road). And all the time there is the constant talking, the sound effects that go with whatever game he is playing, the ten billion questions about his world around him, the loud (and often embarrassing) observations about the man with the white beard who of course must be Father Christmas, or the man with no hair who H finds very amusing.
Please don’t take me the wrong way, I am not complaining, often I am in awe of his little world. It’s innocence, his wisdom. He certainly makes my world more interesting and fun. It’s just that ‘popping’ to the shops is never quick, never something to be done in a hurry. And all of that is before we’ve even entered the shops, but that’s a whole other blog in itself!
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