It takes me forever to get anywhere with Toddler Boy I, my 21-month-old third child, these days.
We have entered the realms of toddler pace – a world I remember well from his big brother and sister, but with which I am slowly becoming reacquainted now that my youngest child wants to walk everywhere by himself. And as all parents of toddlers will know, that’s not something you can do in a hurry.
Every step sees a new wonder for him to investigate. A car wheel! Wow! Let’s crouch down and examine it. A stone on the floor! Let’s pick it up and look at it from every angle before giving it to mummy. A tiny puddle! Squeals of contentment as he splashes his little feet. Someone’s front door! A discarded crisp packet! A dog walking by! So much to see!
All of it met with such amazement as he explores everything he sees with the wonder and innocence only a young child can have.
I hate the days when I have to rush him. If we’re on our way to school and running late, for example. With two other young children for me to contend with, and bags, scooters and the like to carry, he goes in the buggy and the car far more often than I would like, as otherwise we’d never get anywhere on time. Life is generally fast-paced for us, with three school and pre-school runs a day, classes, clubs and activities, play dates and parties.
On quiet days, it’s often his big brother and sister determining what we do. He never complains, he’s such a happy and contented child.
But when it’s just me and him… I let him set his own pace.
We went to Roath Park early this morning, just the two of us, and it took us 40 minutes to walk what would usually take me four.
He was so excited to splash in the tiniest of puddles. He squeezed himself behind a bench and played peepo through the slats. He waved a stick around with sheer delight on his little face, tapping it on the wall, dancing around to his own beat.
He walked round in circles on this mosaic, laughing to himself and loving the tap, tap, tap sound of his shoes on the surface.
We didn’t even make it to the playground or to see the ducks at the lake, which is what I’d thought we’d do. We spent all our time on one little path.
Toddler pace might not always be convenient – but I love how he (like his big brother and sister before him) makes me slow right down. I love that he reminds me to experience the journey and not just focus on the intended destination.
I love that he makes me stop and notice and pay attention to wonderful sights such as this. Which wasn’t on my itinerary this morning, but which was a way more memorable sight instead.
There might be days when we both get frustrated that we don’t have time to stop and stare at all that we pass on the way. But on the days where we can, I love to see the world from his view point and to absorb the wonder with which he experiences things we often take for granted.
Can you relate to toddler pace? Do let me know in the comments section below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or by tweeting me on @cardiffmummy
For more of my experiences on life as a mum of three, visit the Family Life section of my blog.