Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In Four Miles..

It started out innocent enough. My daughter had softball practice and we were just a bit late, as usual. This time because my daughter couldn't find her long pants for practice (yeah, its cold here right now). So after the bit of drama, we arrived at practice. I parked the car and the first thing Bug always asks, "Mom, can I go down to the river?". First let me just say, that the "river", is by no definition, a river. It's more of a creek, but we will humor him and let him call it a river. Of course, he gets the same answer he always gets, "No, Bug. Not without me. You can't go down there alone." "But Mooooooommmmmmmmmmmm!!" is the reply I receive. His "but mooooommmmm" reply and his puppy dog eyes force me to give in and take his hand to go walk down to the river.

He is skipping along beside me and I ask him what he would think if we brought our bikes with us the next time we came and we could ride the trail. He stops dead in his tracks, looks at me and says, "What if I fall in the river, mom?". I couldn't help but chuckle a little bit as this has never crossed his mind before. Not once, when numerous times before, he got right down by the water, chucking in rocks and twigs and grass, did he think he would fall in. I smiled down at him and I said, "Then I would jump in with you so we would both be wet." That made him laugh and start skipping again.

Once we got to the river, he did his usual. He found a few twigs and dropped them in the water on one side of the bridge, then ran across to the other side to see it come out the pipe on the other side. He gets the biggest kick out of that and never seems to tire of it. When he can't find any more twigs, he resorts to grass. I can only stand there and smile. Such simple pleasures that bring joy to children.

After a bit, I walked up to him and said, "Come on Little Bug, let's go for a walk on the trail." He runs over to me and takes my hand and starts skipping again. He was actually excited about this until we came to the overpass on the trail. He knew that above us would be cars passing by and he didn't seem quite pleased that he had to go under that. I coaxed him on and we continued on our walk. We came to the "hill" (I still hate that hill) and as we were walking up it we talked about the rules of the trail. I tell him it's important to stay on the right hand side, so if there are any other path users, we can see them coming and allow them their space, but also to allow others to pass us if we were too slow for them. He kept asking me when the cars were coming. **giggling here** I keep telling him that any vehicle with a motor is not allowed on the path: so no cars or motorcycles. He seemed to feel better when I showed him the sign that said this. I pointed to it and asked him to read it. He smiled and said, "ok mom".

After we go over the rules of the path, and the rules of crossing the streets to prepare him for actually riding on the trail, we start to get silly. As every boy of 6 does, he starts picking up sticks. I actually think this is a programed response. Boy sees stick. Boy picks up stick. Boy pokes whatever he sees with stick. Boy throws stick away. Boy sees new stick. Repeat. The first stick he chose he decided that it was going to be a galactic taser stick and he would poke me with it and act like it was electrocuting me. I comply and vigorously shake making a complete fool of myself in front of passing cars and homes. But it made him laugh, so who was I to care?

Not far down we saw a chicken. A lawn ornament chicken. At first it scared the willies out of Bug, because he thought it was real. Once he realized it was plastic, we pretended that it was chasing us down the trail, clucking and pecking at us. I told him he needed his Chicken Sword! Do you know what he picked up? Yup. A stick! So we battled the chicken till it gave up and then we did a victory dance.

We were having so much fun. After playing with swords and chickens, we found a few snake holes and poked and prodded at them with no result of a snake. We saw all kinds of birds and called out the names of the ones we knew. That brought on the story of how he saw a Blue Necked Crow (I think this is what he called it) and he wished he could see another one because the black crows were boring. Who knew? Heh.

By now, he was getting thirsty, and so was I. I asked him if he was tired and he said he wasn't. So we trekked on. I could tell he was getting tired but he wanted to get that drink, and I promised him a small treat as well. We made our way to Walgreen's and purchased our just deserved Propel waters and he got a package of Runts for him and a package of Dots for his sister. I was good, and stayed out of the candy aisle! We took in the water and were happy campers again and off we went.

The trip back was a bit slower. At this point we had already walked about two miles and little Bug was getting tired. I felt bad, because for him, it was a long way, so I knelt down and let him climb on my back for a piggy back ride. Wow..that kid is heavy!! I walked with him like that for about two blocks and then he got bored. I personally think, he was disappointed in missing all the passing sticks, because you know that is the first thing he picked up after letting him down.

We got back to the "hill" and began our descent as he taught me the words to Okki-Tokki-Unga. This was the most fun I had on the walk. He thought I was so funny because I kept messing up the words. If you looked at the link and saw the lyrics, you'd know why. All of a sudden, low and behold, the boy has to pee. ACK!! Of course there are no bathrooms or porta-potties on the trail, so what are we to do? Well..I look around, make sure no one is near, we run under the bridge and well...ya know. Boys will be boys. At least it is convenient. =)

We finally make it back to the river just in time for my daughters practice to be over. He takes one last stop at the side of the river, throws his stick in hand down into the water, runs to the other side to watch it come out, and beams me a great big smile as he sees it poke out the other side. He grabs my hand ( love it when he does this) and we walk back to the car until he sees his sister and he goes on and on how we just walked four miles. After his exasperating tale to her, he turns to me and says, "That was really fun, mom. Thanks!" I think I melted right there on the road. four miles!

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