Tuesday, July 26, 2005

123 Swing!

We are trying to teach Caroline to be a walking sort of girl. Already she has rebelled against the constriction of stroller life. When we take her for a ride in her charek* (as she calls it), I spend half the walk bent over, holding our 90 cm heavy weight to just the right height for stroller pushing. At least that means we’re going forward.

Mostly I leave the stroller at home, and concentrate on forward ho walking strategies. Playing the swing game is a good one, and will work almost all of the time unless C’s tired, or there is a wind blowing, or a dog on the street, or...well, it works most of the time. Swing is in my current top ten parenting techniques for toddlers because it is fun, gets us from place to place and is educational to boot. What more could a working maminka ask for? Educational you may scoff, but yes - via Swing, C practices counting and learns something about time, or at least about anticipation. At her count of three we swing her between us, stomp ten or twenty steps and then she counts to three again. Swing!

If it’s just me and C, walking is a tougher proposal. We'll be motivating ahead, and suddenly she'll wheel round and grab my leg, then lift her arms and beg me to "carry you" (pronouns, a tricky endeavor). When I lean down to explain that if we can just get to the end of that block, I’ll pick her up and carry her, she grabs my neck and buries her face in my shoulder. Hard to resist. But distractions sometimes work, and as we keep walking, I get her to point out children, pigeons and dogs (all on their own feet).

We head out on a hike every day after I stop work, meeting Will halfway home so we can enjoy the gorgeous summer weather. It’s the only time I leave the flat most days, and I get a little dressed up (ie, change out of pyjamas), pull back my hair and try to look ready to meet the world. But after five blocks of Caroline, Will mostly comes upon us with my hair flying, shirt untucked and a wild look in my eye - C drumming her feet happily in my chest, yelling dada dada! Then it’s time for a refreshing game of Swing, and we all walk home, counting and swinging and feeling the summer air blow by.*charek is short for kočarek or stroller. Apparently the Czech word comes from the same root as the English word coach.

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