Family walks

With most other forms of entertainment closed, we’ve been doing a lot of family walks. There are a few trails relatively near the house, so we load everyone in the minivan and go. Usually we make it 45-60 minutes, out and back. My husband and I trade off carrying the baby (my husband took a tumble the other day on a rock but contorted himself in such a way that the baby was unharmed. My husband was too, after a fashion.).

The kids complain bitterly every time but once they’re on the walk they tend to enjoy it. Fresh air and exercise boost everyone’s spirits. I think I may push for at least one weekly walk, even after all this is over.

A few other notes:

I did a 5.3 mile run today (Sunday), which was my longest since the baby arrived. I did a 5.0 mile race back in February, but I’ve mostly been clocking 3 miles or so each time. Given that the baby has decided he won’t take a bottle, 5 miles is about the length of my leash.

I bought a SNOO (on sale!) from my hospital bed after delivering the baby. I’m mostly a fan. The rocking and white noise do seem to help him stay asleep, and help soothe him if he startles in the middle of the night. On the other hand, the soothing function never works for putting him to sleep in the first place. That’s all on me, so it’s not a miracle worker. He’s often getting 7.5-8 hour stretches at night. This morning (Sunday) I woke up before him and got some work done. He’s going to age out of the SNOO in another month or so, so we shall see how this goes.

He will not sleep in the SNOO during the day. I have no idea why not, but for naps, he will only sleep in the Baby K’Tan, which is a carrier I bought on the advice of a former babysitter. It’s fine and comfortable enough as these things go, but this means that the “you time” in the “eat, active, sleep, you time” cycle is quite inhibited. I can do any “you time” activity that doesn’t disturb a baby sleeping on my chest.

My husband and I have been cleaning out our closet. This is such a pandemic cliche, but in our case it’s because we’ve decided to convert part of the closet to a nursery. Neither of us is all that into clothes, so I think we will be able to make enough space. This is the current best option given that the attempt to put the 8-year-old and 5-year-old together was fairly disastrous. The 12-year-old and 10-year-old are still unhappy about sharing, but at least their sharing hasn’t resulted in violence at 10 p.m., so that’s where we are right now.

We are really digging out some crazy stuff. My husband found a coat he forgot existed. I found my wedding shoes. My husband apparently has kept dozens of business class flight bags, I guess in case the rest of us decided we urgently needed eye masks and (bad) ear plugs. We took out the travel-sized toothpaste from those and chucked the rest. I found my Ball State University ID card from when I was a high school student living on campus. I have been taking pictures of certain special items I know I haven’t worn in a while; somehow taking a picture satisfies the need for a memento. I also found a pair of espadrilles that never entered my conscious mind. When did I become the sort of person who buys (let alone wears) espadrilles??

(We shall not speak of the size 2 shift dresses. Strongly tempted to just donate them. In the unlikely event I become a size 2 again, I will buy new dresses.)


8 thoughts on “Family walks

  1. “somehow taking a picture satisfies the need for a memento”: this is so true for me. Everytime I feel I just can’t let go, I take a photo and then I’m fine. Needless to say, I never look at those photos – but I could if I were missing the stuff.

    1. @Maggie – yes, once I realized I wanted the memory, not the object, at least for a few things, this seemed like a much better idea.

    1. @Aubrey- they’d rather sit at home watching TV and eating candy all day. I’m not saying they don’t do a lot of that, but we at least try to take an hour or two off…

  2. Family walks are a HUGE part of our family “culture.” Our five year-old just completed our go-to route (a 7-km loop that circles the perimeter of our town) without the aid of a stroller or parental shoulders this weekend. A HUGE deal!!!

    We’ve found walks are a great time to talk with the kids. We play a lot of games (20-questions, Would You Rather), plan fun family events (this is how we work out details about upcoming trips, birthday parties etc).

    While not an idea that would work for lots of situations, our new twist: during COVID-19, when I’m really feeling the need for exercise AND quiet, my husband has been taking the kids one direction of the loop and I go the other. We cross paths for a hug and kiss, and then I continue on in blissful quiet, listening to BOBW on my Bluetooth headphones. I still feel like I’m exercising with the kids, but without the verbal diarrhea…Plus they walk faster and with fewer complaints when they’re with my husband solo.

  3. Glad to see that Snoo works for you (mostly)! I’m due April 25 (in a few days!) with my first baby and we bought a Snoo as well. Hopefully we’ll get some good experience out of it!

  4. We love family walks! Currently we take one every night as a “shut down ritual.” Pre-COVID, we would do one long (4-6 mile) walk every weekend at nearby state parks and lakes. We also routinely walked to local restaurants and playgrounds on the weekends. We have a family rule: “you walk to ice cream.” We have four ice cream or gelato places within walking distance, so if we want a treat, we walk for it.

    While the kids occasionally complain, they largely accept that this is how we operate. They now seem to take some pride in knowing their ways around town on foot and having visited for dozens of local businesses, when many of their classmates have only seen their city from the backseat of a car. It gives me some comfort that they’re developing a sense of geography and common sense traffic safety, too. Most importantly, it’s an awesome way to encourage casual conversation.

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