Around the block
Lately I have been spending a lot of time alone with Noah and Rosie. Like a lotta lot. L’s days have increased tenfold (a mathematical impossibility, but there you have it) and so I am the one at home schlepping detritus from floor to shelf, brushing teeth, wiping bottoms, explaining cold fusion (no really, you should spend five minutes with Noah and his endless and probing questions about the construct of everything in the whole of the universe), and putting out the fights. That’s right, there are FIGHTS now, you guys. Fights involving fingernails and teeth and wailing. There should be a warning label on pregnancy tests that say BE ADVISED: ADDITION OF SECOND CHILD MAY PRODUCE BOUTS OF ADVERSITY. HAVE EARPLUGS AT THE READY. Sheepishly though, I should admit, had there been such a warning, I would have read it and immediately issued a loud PSHAW at the thought that my flawless specimens of human engineering would have such issues. AS IF. But as it turns out, my kids are….normal. Huh. How about that. Must be from L’s side.
Anyway, recently when the screeching starts to hit a decibel level loud enough that the furniture begins to rearrange itself spontaneously, I have been cutting through the din with a loud HEY HOW’S ABOUT WE GO FOR A WALK??? almost always remembering to then switch to sotto voce when adding “crazy crazy devil children.” This has a 100% success rate for cheering everyone up, and when it stops working, well, I shudder to think what I’ll do. Come….up….with……activities? Or….crafts? No, clearly the outdoor distraction must maintain its status. There are no alternatives.
One must be prepared to accept the consequences of using the powerful W-A-L-K word though, and from past experience I can tell you that this means you better not say it until you are ready to open the door and immediately set forth on a round the block adventure. Because though she is extraordinarily prolific for her age, the one word Rosie has not yet incorporated into her repertoire is wait.
Noah, on the other hand, though equally joyful about the chance for running at full tilt, does a celebratory jig of happiness and then immediately and seriously begins a careful selection of correct shoes for the occasion (running shoes for speed or shoes with lightning bolts for cool speed?) as well as which toy to bring along for the (very short) trip (around one block). Also, sometimes there are wardrobe accessories.
Rosie is great guns at the beginning, full of piss and vinegar, leading me by twenty paces with fierce independence.
Noah also prefers to run (running is his favorite), but will only go so far before reliably, predictably, slowing and turning to find me behind him, checking to see that I am still within sight.
Then Rosie’s battle between velocity and curiosity starts to tip in favor of the latter, and the walk around the block becomes the wait around the block. (Which unfortunately, with a needy toddler sister and only one parent around for the majority of his time, is a word Noah has become all too familiar with.)
Rosie is always up for new challenges…
while Noah patiently sits, giving his sister the time she needs for her adventures.
God bless that fight-free fourth of a mile of cement for giving us all little breathing room, and for letting me step back and see with fresh eyes what I have in front of me.
Which is this: just a brother and a sister with the wind in their hair.