The Morning Walk

Tuesday, April 03, 2012
We walked to school this morning. We usually drive I am ashamed to admit. Most mornings we are frantically trying to make it out the door to school on time and jump into the car instead of taking the 15 minute walk to school (it would take less, but we have a toddler in tow).
Yesterday was a seriously manic Monday. There were temper tantrums and lots of yelling. Not a great morning. After I found Chloe holed up in her room with the iPad watching the chipmunks movie instead of putting on her socks and shoes, TV got banned for the day and the iPad put under lock and key. During Oliver's nap time I read this article. More parental guilt set in.
Chloe helping to put Oliver's shoes on so they could go out and play after school on Monday. You can see the disparity in the outfits. Oliver was dressed appropriately, Chloe was not. It seems if the temps rise above 55 degrees then it warrants shorts.

Oliver's new shoes. He wore a hole in his other shoes & needed a bigger size, so we got new ones. He's not happy about it. He keeps asking and looking for his old shoes (which I had to throw away so he wouldn't find them).

As luck would have it, today was a beautiful, sunny morning, brisk but not cold. Also, Matt took the Navigator to the dealer for an oil change and to have the starter motor inspected (this car can sense when it is going on a long trip and starts to act up in protest). I announced early in the morning that we would be walking to school and set the rules out before the demands could be made--we were walking and leaving at 8:10 a.m. Of course, the demands still came...could Chloe ride her bike and Oliver chimed in that he wanted to take his tricycle. Reasonable requests for kids at any other elementary school that is not cramped for space. Unfortunately, living in one of the most popular suburbs of NYC means bike rack space is at a premium at Chloe's school. There is one small rack and that's all they have room for.  There is a strictly enforced rule that only 4th and 5th graders can ride their bikes to school and leave them at the bike rack. In other words, if Chloe rides her bike to school then I am pushing it back home and trying to assist a toddler on a tricycle at the same time.  It doesn't work out very well. Of course, Oliver and I could walk and Chloe could ride, but that opens us to a series of tantrums in protest on Oliver's part.  So walking is the only option.

We made it to school without too much incident --Oliver points out every dog poo that a dog owner left behind with a "Ewwww, yucky poopy!" and then proceeds to chuck every newspaper still sitting in some one's yard into the road, which I retrieve. There is also the stomping on plants and pulling up the little flags that the lawn service leaves  after they have sprayed pesticides. Needless to say it keeps me busy. We got to school early, which meant that there was begging to go into the deli which is strategically placed directly across from the school.

We were met inside the deli by "mother of the year", school-volunteer extraordinaire, mom to two sets of twins (yes, you read that correctly) who was buying her 4 kids ding dongs, donuts, cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk for breakfast and snack time at school. **Smirk** Insert my smug feeling that lasted a fraction of a second until Oliver ran up to the lollipops (placed at a perfect toddler eye level) and ripped off the wrapper and shoved it in his mouth at 8:25 a.m. reminding me that I had no right to judge, only understanding.

After kissing Chloe goodbye and Oliver sending her off with a, "Bye! See you later Chlo!" we set out for the return trip home. It was only a few short steps from the school when Ollie declared that he liked walking to school. "Of course you would," I thought, "You get to stop at the deli for a lollipop."
But, he truly loved it and even asked to walk to pre-school later this afternoon, of which I will happily oblige.

As we walked, Oliver notices everything with a "Whats that?" and I notice the obvious difference between boys and girls, remembering Chloe at this age and our neighborhood walks. In the 1/2 mile walk to school, Oliver must have fell 20 times. Its not because he's uncoordinated, its because he chooses paths that would make anyone fall. Oooh, the slanted yard with a huge incline, lets try that! Fall & rolling down the hill.  A giant tree root across the sidewalk, let me go across that! Fall. A big chunk of sidewalk missing, I'll walk  there. Fall. Some one's hostas popping up all lined in a row, lets walk across those! Fall and eat dirt. I had to change jeans when we got home because he had dirt stains all on his knees.
Oliver with his 8 a.m. lollipop, now covered in dirt from his recent tumble into the newly reseeded patch in some one's yard.

Oliver attempting to walk another sloping yard. Seriously, what does this kid have against sidewalks?

Finally, using the sidewalk!!

But there were the funny moments too. Every time we would cross the street, Oliver would wait for me to tell him it was ok to cross, grab my hand, pulling me and declaring, "Hurry up Mom! Come on! Let's leave this place!" which made me happy to know he does listen that we have to cross a street quickly because of cars. He also loved pointing out all the buses heading into the city and saying "Hello! I got new shoes! I Oliver. I have friends at school!" to every person we passed along the way.

It was a nice morning walk,  a pleasant start to our day, and now I pledge to make it a habit.  Now, I just have to figure out how to by-pass the deli and lollipop stop.

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