Somewhere between parenting magazines, television, mommy blogs and my cousin, I managed to romanticize the great outdoors. On my recent vacation, I vowed that my daughter and I would walk to the park every morning. In my vision, we held hands as we strolled down the street. The birds sang. The sun beamed. Neighbors with cute puppies greeted us along the way.
There were birds but I couldn’t exactly describe what they were doing as singing. The sun beamed, steamed and boiled us half to death. We came across a couple of neighbors and even some cute puppies. There was also a pair of big butt dogs that viciously barked at us.
Truth be told, our outdoor adventure was interesting but it certainly wasn’t fun or magical. My daughter brought me a dead bug. I spent most of my time trying to keep her out of the street, out of the neighbor’s yards, and out of the recycling bins that sit in front of everyone’s house except ours.
When we finally arrived at the park, she didn’t care for most of the equipment. The swings made her cry. She wouldn’t walk across the bridge and actually looked at me with an expression of, “Mommy, have you lost your mind?”
We tried the slide a few times. She kept planting her feet down which stopped her momentum. She still yelled “weee” as if she was headed down the slide at 100 miles per hour. I had to laugh at that.
On the way back home, my daughter wouldn’t let me carry her. She also couldn’t be troubled to walk in the right direction. I pinched myself for not bringing the stroller. At some point I picked my daughter up and jogged home while she of course yelled and flailed her arms. I kept waiting for the cops to show up regarding the child I abducted. If the police had come, they would have found us smelling like puppies, guzzling water and paying tribute to the air conditioner.
I’m sure we will venture outside again, but it’s definitely not something I am putting on my calendar. Maybe it will be more fun when she’s a little older, say 17 years old.
So tell me the truth, do you enjoy going outdoors with your kids? What are your tips for making it safer, less stressful, and more enjoyable?
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