Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Escape

Shame on me! Last summer I took Tavin for a walk down by the lake nearly every single day. This year? Possibly a handful of times.

This morning I woke up to the sun shining and warm air. I wanted to go for a walk. I love walking down by Lake Michigan. It’s the main reason I love Kenosha so much. We have such a beautiful lakefront and so many amazing bike and walking trails. I really wanted to go for a walk. You may be saying to yourself, "Then go! What's stopping you?"

Follow me on my great escape.

Most of the fun things I do with Tavin turn into one big temper tantrum at the end. We have fun, and then when we need to go home, or call it quits, it turns into a major fiasco! Taking walks was one of those bombs that couldn’t be defused. We’d take a nice stroll along the harbor, down to the lighthouse...

and I’d say, “Okay, let’s turn around and head back,” and Tavin would instantly scream and cry and then violently throw himself on the pavement. I would try to coax him with kind words, but after three minutes of Mrs. Nice Mom, I’d find myself dragging him by his arm, afraid it would snap right out of the socket because he had discovered the uniqueness of making his body dead weight. He refused to get on his feet, so I was literally dragging him along the way back to the car. Not a nice sight. Not a nice feeling. Not fun at all.

Then I tried taking walks with him in the stroller (that was the luxury last year)...

So I stopped taking walks. I stopped taking him out in the backyard to play in the sandbox. I stopped letting him play in the Jump-O-Lene. I stopped everything. I was just tired of the tirades.

But today was gorgeous outside, and I know these days will soon become less and less as the cold weather approaches us quickly here in Wisconsin, so I took the risk of taking Tavin for a walk.

We had a great time looking at the yachts, jumping from curb to curb, sitting in the rocks, watching the geese paddle past us, and eating our snack. We played in the sand, we “stopped and smelled the roses,” played some football and even played with a cute dog. But all of that was part of my master plan. I knew exactly what park I could go to that would create less friction and chaos. So I chose my park wisely with a escape route in tow. I was being creative with our escape from the lake and back to the car. (Picture is from today--so far, so good!)

As we played on the beach in the sand, we had already been gone for over an hour. I still had some writing to do and he could barely walk he was so tired. I will admit I had mapped out this walk perfectly. In order for me to now get back to the car without him realizing that’s what we were doing, I needed to get him away from the sand without a screaming match, so I brightly suggested, “Do you want to go smell some flowers?” (As the flower garden was my turn back to the car.) Tavin got all excited, dropped the sticks, and we walked up the hill, past the lounging geese, and hand-in-hand we entered the garden. We kicked back on the bench swing and then watched bumble bees buzzing around a rainbow of flowers. I could see the car in the distance.

As I tried to escape the flower garden, I noticed a tree with a beautiful bench built around it. “Tavin! Let’s go sit on that cool bench wrapped around the tree.” He was all for it. We sat there for a couple of seconds and then I noticed another flower garden closer to the car, in fact, only about a hundred feet away. I was so close!

“Tavin, look! More flowers to smell. Look at those bright pink ones!” He ran and put his nose into them. I was eyeing the car, but I think he caught me and started to get a little panicked, so I averted his attention to the geese. Finally, there was no hiding it any longer so I tried a different approach. Rather than saying, “Okay, it’s time to go,” which would have surely sent him into a spiral of screams, instead I asked him, “Do you want to go see daddy?” Of course he did…but not if it meant walking to the car, getting in the car and driving home. Because the second he saw we were approaching the car he began to cry, “Sorry, Mommy; Sorry, Mommy,” in hopes that I would forgive him for any possible wrong doing and change my mind about leaving.

Granted, he still had a small fit, but it lasted a minute rather than the entire walk back to the car. One time I made the mistake of walking about a half mile from our car to a park with an enormous ball for him to kick around. When it was time to go, I made the mistake of telling him that and down he went. Now I had the luxury of not only carrying him, but an enormous ball, too, a half mile! On that adventure, every now and then I’d put him down and try to get him to kick the ball further and further. That worked a couple of times, but the second he saw the car, he’d throw himself on the grass and cry. So while I carried him like a sack of potatoes over my shoulder, I had to kick that stupid ball all the way back to the car.

Us mothers look pretty ridiculous sometimes, but it’s the price we pay making the great escape back home.

MOMMY'S MINI ME MISSION: Make it a great escape full of fun adventures to get back to the car. Make it a game. Give them fun things to do so they don't realize they are on their way home. Distract, distract, DISTRACT!

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