So – by now we all know that independence is one of the double-edge swords that comes with toddlerhood. I’ve read enough to know that I’m supposed to keep hold of my patience and just let my daughter put her own shoes on, or get undressed herself, to encourage that independence. We’re not quite there yet – she can take off her shirt but not the whole outfit, for example.
But on this rocky road to independence, we’ve made some progress and I’m learning a few things too. For the past 5 months or so, darling daughter has resisted, quite aggressively, any attempts on my part to hold her hand when walking around. What is problematic about this is that we live in a old neighborhood without sidewalks. The homes were built in the 30s and there was no reason for sidewalks then.
Well now, I can think of many reasons WHY we need sidewalks but the main one is obviously for the safety of the kids. You can see why DD not holding my hand is a problem because she definitely does not understand the danger of cars.
So – I bravely fought this battle with her and it seems I’ve won this one, after five months of perseverance. She now, very sweetly, will hold my hand when we go walk to see a fake bunny at the end of one neighbor’s driveway every night, without fail.
And something really sweet has happened along the way. Everyone talks about how you need to slow down your life when you have a baby and move at the baby’s pace and respond to the baby. But what about the toddler? I’ve found that by slowing down to her pace and walking, hand-in-hand with her, every night, to see this fake bunny that gives her endless amounts of pleasure, we end up on a 20 minute adventure to walk the distance of two houses.
She stops and notices everything along the way. She wants to inspect the leaves, the puddles, a doggie walking by, so we stop and we admire and gaze and soak it all in. The best part is when she needs a break by the time she’s reached the mid-way point of our neighbor’s house. So, we sit on the curb, and we just sort of watch things go by.
We talk about the cars going by, we talk about her day, we talk about the “hop hop” that is going to go “nigh nigh” after we see it and say “bye bye.”
And this toddler time is like my version of yoga. It never ceases to amaze me how much time we can spend just slowly soaking in the little things that I would normally blow past. So for now, I don’t mind moving at her pace each evening and just seeing what’s in store for us en route to the “hop hop.” It’s cathartic and it’s precious and it’s always an adventure.