A Nice Day For A Walk
Of the two kids, N tends to be the “well-behaved” one. He does, however, present certain challenges. Lately we’ve been having a battle over him always needing to be carried. Having a child insist on being carried can be really problematical. Imagine trying to cook dinner, for example, while holding a playful 1 year old.
So that’s our latest (and most intense) battle.
Last Sunday, J was busy for a couple hours and I thought it would be fun to give the kids a wagon ride down to the playground at the front of the neighborhood. We had just reached the end of the driveway, when N shouted “Carry!”
At this point, I basically had three options: go back inside; carry the child, or say “no”.
I chose option 3, and the little tot immediately climbed out of the wagon and on to the grass. He looked around to make sure there weren’t any rocks or anything, and then he threw himself down to have a tantrum.
C & I looked at each other, shrugged, and kept walking.
This was not what N wanted. With an amazingly loud scream of “daddy!!!”, he got up and ran after us. As soon as he caught up, he flung himself at my legs. “Carry! Carry!”
I pried him off my legs and explained that we were taking a wagon ride, and I couldn’t carry him, pull the wagon, and keep his brother safe all at the same time. He replied by flinging himself on the ground and screaming.
C and I watched for a while – and then continued our walk. I was really impressed with C, by the way. I explained that N was very sad and he said “Ohhhh…that’s too bad.”
That pattern continued for quite some time: N tantrums, we leave, he chases us down, we talk, he tantrums, we leave… and so on.
At some point during this process, N hit on the idea of clinging to my leg and riding along as I walked.
That added a wonderful new dimension. At one point, as I was pulling the wagon, C was riding in the wagon singing “Jesus loves me, yes he does”, and N was hanging on to my leg screaming “Daddy! Daddy!”.
It was at that moment that I passed a neighbor talking to his teenage daughter in his driveway. I waved and smiled.
He waved back and smiled “Nice day for a walk!”
I nodded and shouted back “Yep, it sure is!”
His daughter looked back and forth between us like we were crazy. She had time to do this because I was walking fairly slowly, what with having a screaming 18 month old clinging to my right leg and all. I smiled politely, doing my best to not look like a child-abuser, and continued on.
I like to think that whatever conversation she was having with her dad took on new significance after we went by.
I also like to think that she didn’t run inside and call the cops on me as soon as I got out of sight.