Monday, September 21, 2009
Working Towards Stroller Free
We got our primer in parenthood while living in a city, and we're a huge walking family. Which has meant that we definitely use a stroller. When you're in a crowd, it's a great way to keep track of your little one, and it's just easy. Strap them in, push them where you want them to go. We sling/carry our babies for as long as we can (which is still the case for Lily), but since we have big kiddos we can't really physically continue that into toddlerhood-- especially with two sensitive backs in the family. So we use strollers, which is a great tool to use from time to time.
But, especially as Zosia has become a very able bodied toddler, we have started taking steps towards freeing her from the stroller. We love it when she's walking on her own, because not only is it great exercise, but she loves doing things "all my self." This journey towards independence has been both amazingly fun and difficult.
Zosia loves stopping to look at things. She notices things that I would never, in a million years take the time to look at: a bug, an acorn, a branch, a cat, a patch of grass. She is the most amazing naturalist I know. It's amazing to see the world through her eyes and start to cultivate a wonder for all of these beautiful details in the world.
But then there are the challenges. Like when we're on a schedule to get somewhere and Zosia is stopping to hug a tree (happens all the time). Or when Lily is hungry and we need to get somewhere to give her a snack. One lesson we have learned is that we must allocate at least twice as much time for coming back from a destination as for getting there. Sometimes more. Somehow the need to get back home is never quite as pressing as the need to get somewhere new and exciting.
And we have learned to go to places where we can let Zosia explore her environment a little more freely-- parks with minimal bike/ car traffic, natural places like streams. That way we can let her go without constantly having to remind her to stay on the sidewalk or on the side of the road. We can relax, which is wonderful.
Sometimes we still load up the family-- Zosia in a stroller, Lily in a carrier, Selma on a leash-- and go for a nice long walk that is exercise for both adults in the family. That feels wonderful and lets us clear our mind and is one of the things we love doing as a couple-- as a family. But then other times we have learned to let go, go slow, and enjoy the little things along the way.
(And no, Lily's not walking yet... that's Zosia last fall!)
How does your family get around? How do you negotiate the needs of each member of the family?