One way to get Little Bird to sleep is to take him for a long walk in the stroller.
I jump at the chance to be the one to take him – I just love a good walk.
One of my earliest pictures shows me on a walk with my uncle at the Farm…following cows back to the barn one summer evening. I know that love of my uncle – and cows – came from those walks.
As I grew older, walking was how we got around. We walked to school & we walked home. We walked to friends’ houses. We walked to the store (to blow our allowance on baseball cards and Slurpies, mostly). At least until we discovered bicycles.
In my late teens, I joined the Army; walking became a part of training and strength-conditioning. I threw an 80 pound ruck-sack on my back and walk 10 miles, 15 miles, and frequently many more. I pushed myself each walk – more weight, more miles. Faster times. More blisters and callouses.
These last few years, the purpose of walking has been to get Dog-Bird (the family dog) some exercise. I wake at 5:30 in the morning (thanks, Uncle Sam), grab the leash, race Dog-Bird to the front door, and we’d see how far and how fast we could walk in the 30 minutes before I needed to be home to start breakfast for the kids.
Now, pushing Little Bird’s stroller (I wonder if they have off-road tires for baby strollers) along ahead of me, I find pure enjoyment in walks. Within seconds of the stroller going “wheels up”, Little Bird’s crying stops. Sometimes he sleeps, but sometimes he stays awake and alert and soaks in this huge new world he’s seeing for the first time.
On Sunday, a pleasant breeze tickled Little Bird’s face – he was so happy I thought I would be the one to see the coveted “First Smile”. (No dice, although I did get a Joyous Coo).
On Monday – a particularly cloudy January morning – we stopped walking and sat down on the curb in a single sunbeam that found its way through the clouds. I showed Little Bird a mockingbird on a mailbox, and the both of us soaked up the warmth of that sunbeam until it was swallowed up by the clouds.
On Tuesday, we stopped to talk to a neighbor. I’d passed this same neighbor and her poodle nearly every morning on my pre-sunrise dog walks, but never bothered to stop and say “Howdy”.
I know that parenting won’t always be fun. I know that Little Bird is going to grow up faster than I want. I know that someday I won’t be able to walk. These are hard truths.
I just hope that along the way I can remember to stop walking, sit down on the curb, and enjoy the warmth of the sunbeam.by