Thursday, July 12, 2007
I've Been Around the Block a Few Times
Being that my latest goal is to find a balance between the Rat Race and enjoying life, I have been trying to take the kids for a walk each evening and on weekend mornings. It's a chance to burn off some of that extra energy, and they love getting out and running around. I do too. We started out taking their ride-on cars, but that didn't work out so well. Hayden would zoom way ahead, and Logan would quickly tire of it, so I would have to carry his home. One morning we even made it over to the lake (yes, here in the middle of Los Angeles) where the boys chased an entire flock of ducks into the water. Good fun. We will be spending lots of time there.
They are friendly souls, so our evening walks around the block have also facilitated meeting many of the neighbors I would otherwise just give a vague friendly nod to as we go around the block. My kids literally stop cold when they see someone (actually there are a hundred reasons they stop, making a walk around a small block a very long journey indeed. ie: A garage opens. A garage closes. A dog barks. A neighbor opens his door. There are flowers.) Once the targeted neighbor notices the two staring boys they generally stop whatever fascinating activity they were doing and say hello. I stand by like the not-so-bright cousin that the boys were kind enough to include in their day. They will then pepper the neighbor with burning questions and tidbits such as: How do you open your garage? Do you use a button? Does it open in one piece? My garage is closed. Is that your car? It looks like my Grandpa's car. Is that your dog? I have two cats. Does your car go in your garage? Why?
I say "they" ask questions, but really Hayden fires them off while Logan stands by supportively in the interrogation, with a few words echoed in agreement- Bappa cah (Grandpa car), my Booboo dat (Voodoo the cat). Sometimes, they get a few obliging answers, then less elaboration until the neighbor looks at me in panic as if to say I should call off the hounds. At this point I step in and introduce myself and the fact that we just moved in. Sometimes (well, once) the older neighbor offers the boys a cookie, disappears inside for a minute, then comes back and hands them each an entire sleeve of Saltine crackers. They dutifully thanked him, ate as many crackers as they could before they ran out of saliva, then happily handed the packages to me for the remainder of the walk. Gee, thanks. (**disclaimer: Yes, I let my kids eat crackers given to them by a complete stranger. I just figure, since he didn't know we were coming around, I'm guessing he didn't have pre-poisened crackers at the ready. He's just a nice old man who enjoyed giving something to the kids.)
Although Logan is not a reserved child, Hayden is the clear leader between them. Whatever antics Hayden has, Logan will try to mimic. I find this endlessly amusing, greatly enjoying lagging a bit behind to watch them. Each time we come across paver stepping stones, Hayden wants to play hopscotch. He very deliberately steps to each one solemnly saying "hopscotch" with each step. Then, Logan does the same thing saying "obskah" with each step. It's like a ritual as they are very serious about this, and there is no abbreviating the process if I'm impatient to move on. Trying to get them to move on, just makes them go through the ritual several more times at least. Sometimes they run ahead. Sometimes they lag behind. Sometimes they hold hands. They are always mindful of what the other one is doing. Sometimes they even include me or want to hold my hand.
I have to say, although it would be great to take another family vacation, or some big outing, these evening walks bring me such joy. The boys are content, and getting to be boys. I get to be with them while enjoying our new neighborhood. Mostly, there is time to stop and smell the flowers instead of constantly trying to "accomplish" something, and not really experiencing anything.