A Leisurely Walk (with a Toddler)

The following is written in a real mom’s own words. This is an outlet for parents who would like to share their stories, in the hope that others will connect and find support. If you have a story you’d like to share, please message us on Facebook or email us at content@momof11kids.com.

My coworker and I connect on a personal level. We get together outside of work now and then, because office life can be madness and it’s surprisingly hard to catch up (even spending 45 hours a week sitting 10-feet apart).

So, we planned a relaxed, mid-week walk in a beautiful local park.

“Should I take Henry along?,” I wondered. The other option was to have my husband scoop up the two-year-old-toddler-in-question at daycare, since he was off that day.

Either way was fine with Bianca — she gets a kick out of the little guy. I figured, hell, why not? He always has extra energy to expend, and it’s a car-free zone, so he could really go bananas.

And oh…did he ever.

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We rolled up to our heavily-wooded destination as storm clouds started rolling in. It was sort of dark; suddenly creepy, even. “Where da sun go?”, Henry inquired from the backseat. My thoughts exactly. But we were here, so we were going for it anyway.

I unloaded my sidekick while Bianca took inventory of the surrounding area. “So pretty here!” she said. “But I thought you said no cars?” Her head whipped from left to right as yet another vehicle barreled down the would-be bike path.

“Uhh — I could have sworn…”, I fumbled.

Finally out of the car, Henry set off, a man on a mission. The treasure at the end of his rainbow was the biggest puddle you’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what the qualifications for “small pond” status is, but surely this puddle would meet them — no question.

He bounded off so quickly that I barely had time to lock up the car, or give thought to the fact that I didn’t bring the stroller along.

Hell, the cars kept coming. Fast.

So I waddled after him as fast as my 8-month pregnant body would carry me.

It took all of 2.5 seconds for him to go from “somewhat presentable looking but in need of a face washing” to “soaked from the bellybutton down and smelling like small pond water.”

Okay…no problem…he was headed for a bath later anyway. But was that stuff even safe to be playing in? No time left to ponder. We were off again.

As we moseyed on our way (and by moseyed I mean sprinted in between dodging traffic), I quickly realized how tame that puddle had been. Panting like a dog in heat and sweating from head to toe, we arrived at the shoreline of the picturesque lake we were actually there to visit. (I should speak for myself. I was the only one panting and sweating. Bianca looked remarkably in-tact. Henry looked positively psyched.)

That’s when he discovered the Bog of Eternal Stench over near the reeds, where he wasn’t supposed to be. It was burping and festering. My son was in love with it.

Until he did an abrupt about-face deeper into forbidden territory, and decided to linger right beside a disheveled fellow who had fallen asleep on a large rock at the edge of the woods. We weren’t sticking around to find out why.

“Mommy’s gonna chase you!” I said to Henry. It was a desperate attempt to move him elsewhere. Bianca shot me a look that said, “WHERE on earth are we?,” as I had chosen this spot for our “leisurely walk.”

Off Henry went, expecting me to be close behind in hot pursuit.

At this point, my bulging belly is heavily exposed. My shirt is riding up and my shorts are falling down, and I am oblivious. Now I’m the one with a mission: to wrangle my kid before he lands us in any more uncomfortable situations.

“Is it raining?” I wonder aloud. Oh, no, it’s not. That’s just an optical illusion caused by the sweat beads dripping off my forehead. I’m really chasing Henry now, as he dashes — warp speed and uphill — after a peculiar couple who don’t seem to realize there’s a tiny human on their heels.


He almost tripped the kind sir with the turquoise anklet, who finally turned around to cast a mostly-toothless smile at my boy, and make his entire day. You would have thought Henry won the lottery, having captured this man’s attention for a moment.

I was relieved that they seemed friendly and not irritated with their tag-along. That’s when Henry ate it. His excited feet got ahead of him, and he stumbled, to come up frowning and covered in dirt.

Dripping in pond water and pond scum, that’s when it happened. “More hold you?” he asked me, desperation in his eyes.

He was feeling deflated after his new, curious friends wandered out of sight, and his feet had betrayed him. It was the end of a long day care day — he’d seen the water, ran a solid mile, and was ready to throw in the towel.

Bianca chimed in with a very generous, “I’ll hold you, Henry!” But the boy wouldn’t budge. He wanted his ginormous mommy to hold his 28.6-lb. frame in her very-pregnant arms, and carry him all the way back to the car.

I was a deer in the headlights. I gave him a lift for a short distance, then set him down to hold my hand instead. Nope — he wasn’t having any of it.

It went on this way; me, setting him down periodically and fighting the urge to laugh or cry, and him, playing stiff as a board anytime his feet touched the ground. Bianca stifled nervous laughter and offered Henry free rides at every stop. Bless her heart.

Real raindrops were bound to fall any minute now — either from the sky, or from my eyes. We were almost back to sweet, strapped-in-that-carseat safety when Henry spotted that small pond of his once more.

Only this time, a spray painted Corvette with Tennessee plates was idling curiously on the other side of it. Wouldn’t you know, it was the only time on that entire walk back that Henry felt any urge to use his God-given legs.

He wriggled free and waded in the puddle, shrieking in delight. My body was grateful for the small reprieve.

But Bianca and I were wondering what that suspicious car was up to. When it did decide to back out after a good long while, I scooped Henry up in time for him to accept a wave and toothless grin from the gentleman inside.

He fought like a ninja as I carried him away from his pond-for-one, and toward the car. More accurately, he pinched me. Hard. “Well, this is something new,” I thought, “I’ll have to teach him not to do that. Although he has been learning a lot about crabs lately, since we saw one in the ocean last weekend. Maybe he thinks because crabs pinch, it’s okay for him to…”

My train of thought was interrupted. At long last…the car was in sight.

As I loaded Henry back into his carseat, I felt utterly relieved. And exhausted. Maybe more than anything, I felt lucky to have my teeth, and that nobody was blindsided by a motor vehicle.

My little guy asked for milk between 57 and 63 times on that ride home. We listened to 17 rounds of Hickery Dickery Dock. As the skies opened up and lightning struck around us, a victorious smile spread across my face. We had dodged the rain.

Chalk this up as another pretty smooth and typical day in the life of a toddler mom.

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