Chris and I have always enjoyed going for walks through our neighborhood. We would take our dog and stroll up to the end of the street and back. When Ally joined the family, she would come along in her big orange jogging stroller. As she got older we got her all kinds of additional wheeled items to ride in on walks. She has a pink car, a purple bike and a blue wagon. The problem is that she is terrible at sitting still and would rather walk than ride. So, usually halfway through our walk, she’ll insist on giving up the wheels and walking. Which means that we now have a car/wagon/bike to drag along while trying to keep track of an aging dog with questionable back legs and a wildly roaming toddler with occasionally questionable balance. It turns a relaxing stroll into a daredevil hike.
To add to the fun, Ally discovered that she enjoys a nice sit-down on the water meter covers. Yup, the little square lids in people’s front yards that cover up the water meter. Apparently they are comfy to sit on. So she takes a seat in any random yard. And refuses to get up. I always try to get her up and move along as quickly as possible because I don’t want our neighbors looking out their front windows and wondering why a bunch of people are hanging out in their yard. But it never works and we always end up there for an awkwardly long amount of time. On a few occasions we have even had to carry Ally home kicking and screaming.
So the other day, Chris was at work and it was really nice out so I decided to try to take Ally and Dodger for a walk and just let Ally walk without bringing any of her vehicles. Clearly I was feeling brave (or overconfident…or stupid). Before we left the house, Ally found a ball and wanted to bring it. That seemed like it might keep her occupied so I went with it. And it worked well. She’d throw the ball, then run ahead to get it, then wait and throw it again. She did drop it at one point and it rolled into an intersection just as a car approached. But she didn’t run into traffic and the driver noticed and motioned for me to go ahead and get the ball. It seemed like a successful walk until we were about half a block away from home. Then she spotted a water meter cover. I tried to distract her before she got to it by pointing out mailboxes and airplanes and cars and asking if she thought a dog was coming or if she heard the neighbor’s motorcycle. But it was no use. She plunked down on that cover and made herself comfortable.
I quickly tried a couple of “techniques” to get her to keep walking – asking her to help me find “Ally’s house,” telling her we needed to get Dodger home, asking her if she wanted to race, etc. When those failed I thought to myself: this would be a good story for my blog. And I tried to think of what my mom would tell me to do. I remembered her telling me something about basically ignoring the situation. Not making a big deal out of trying to get her up. Not making a huge production out of pretending to walk away and leave her there. Just standing there with her and acting like this is perfectly normal and fine. So I did that. I just stood there and waited patiently. Which wasn’t easy because I’m not well endowed in the patience department. But it just took a minute and she got bored and got up. No screaming or tears or fits. From either of us.
Hooray for those little bits of brilliant advice my mom stuck in my head along the way! Thanks, mom!!