Monday, March 12, 2007

Slowing down

The temperature hit about 70 degrees here today. It was incredible.

Although it took us literally all day to get ready, at 3:00 I put Hannah and Audrey in the stroller, and took them to the park. To do this, I first have to push them up the biggest hill around here. This hill has deterred me several times when I have considered heading to the park. But today, with the sunshine and the warm breeze, it didn't seem bad at all. Once we got there, Hannah wanted to swing and I put Audrey in one of the baby swings as well. There were my two little girls, just smiling and giggling and enjoying the sunshine, swinging side-by-side.

We must have been quite a scene, because Hannah still has a little trouble walking on the playground sand, and I had Audrey on my hip. While holding Audrey, I helped Hannah climb up the steps and go down the slide. Multiple times, of course.

Nick has always been impressed at what I can pull off without help. My reply to him has always been, "A determined woman can do many things." I don't remember where I got that, but I doubt it's original. Determination has allowed me to move furniture and work long hours and stay home with two children under 2.

I'm beginning to discover something else that raising children requires, in addition to determination - TIME. Gone are the days when running errands is a quick process. Grocery shopping is most definitely a scene for us. I get out, put on the Baby Bjorn, put Audrey in it, then get Hannah out (which usually involves putting her shoes and socks back on while avoiding hitting Audrey's head on anything), hold Hannah's hand while we walk in or carry her on my hip WITH Audrey in the carrier. Once inside, Hannah goes in the cart. Lots of people have encouraged me to leave errand running to daddy - or to go when he can watch the kids. Some people I know even leave their kids with a babysitter while running errands. I don't fault them.

When I was a kid, we did everything with my mom. I can't imagine what it looked like for her to bring 5 children under 11 into the grocery store, but we did it every week. Everywhere we went - stores, restaurants, church - people constantly remarked how well-behaved we all were. We weren't the ones running the aisles with mom yelling and trying to keep us corralled. We sat in or walked next to the cart, sometimes begging for things, but we knew what was expected of us. This is what I want for my kids.

I think my point is this - it takes forever to do stuff, ANYTHING, with kids. But I want to involve them in normal life. It's becoming less about how many tasks I can accomplish in a day, and more about how I connected and trained my kids. This is tough for someone who has always prided herself on her efficiency. Kids don't care at all how efficient you are. I could finish all my errands in an hour before I had kids, now it takes me all week, but when Hannah looks up at me from her carseat and says, "Walk?" I love that I can slow down, realize the toddling speed at which she is able to walk will be fine, and say "Okay, you can walk." That grin is worth it.

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