A walk to the shops should be a simple straight forward task that doesn’t take too long. Not when there is a toddler involved involved. Walking with toddlers adds about 20 minutes to every journey.
Thanks to a pig in a red dress puddles are hours of fun. Hours.
Why walk when you can fly?
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 a toddlers world planes rarely fly in straight lines, they zig zag back and forth and do loop the loops. Parents find themselves 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. Toddlers walk twice as far as the rest of us who are walking in boring straight lines to get to our destination.
If they are not ‘flying’ they are jumping over the pavement cracks, skipping, hopping, running, dancing, anything but walking.
Why walk when you can stop?
Then there are the abrupt halts for any number of reasons, stopping to look at their 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 toddlers ‘fun’!
Why walk when you can collect
Then there is the need to pick up everything they see. A stick maybe just a stick to you and I but in a toddler’s eyes it’s a walking stick or a sword. Stones and leaves become prized treasure (the bigger the better), feathers give them super powers, flowers are picked as a gift for me. When you are walking in the park or the forest it’s nice to encourage them to hunt and gather, it’s a fun game. However when walking down the high street 99.9% of things on the floor you do not want them to pick up! Antibacterial hand gel is a handbag essential.
Why walk when you can streak?
You 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! Toddlers 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 they are playing, the ten billion questions about the 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.
It takes even longer when there are wheels involved!
Walking with a toddler is never boring. They certainly makes the 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 you’ve even entered the shops, but that’s a whole other blog in itself!
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