• Often, I need to walk my children around outside as we don’t have a backyard. I have been doing this for years. I used to joke that it felt like I was walking the dog around the block. They need the fresh air and the sounds and smells of the outdoors just as much as a dog needs to go outside to perform basic bodily functions. If you think walking a child around outside among the trees sounds like a relaxing endeavor, then you haven’t done it. Ever! Because it is not in the least bit relaxing. The little ones dart here and there and it requires chasing them out of driveways and monitoring items they can put in their mouths. (Gross side note: My friends’ daughter was playing in the grass and was finger painting with dog poo.) See what I mean, not so relaxing when danger lurks everywhere.

    Now that my children are older, I can walk outside without these life-threatening worries. But truth be told, it is boring. I really don’t care if they can ride their scooter using one hand. I’ve seen it done enough times – the awe no longer triggers the parental praise of oohs and ahhs. The novelty has worn off. Instead, I find myself twiddling my thumbs, thinking how bored I am. Or how I would like to pick up the pace. But I can’t. I imagine that telling a child to hurry up, while they are learning to ride their bikes and perfecting scootering skills, isn’t encouraging. These child walks, really are like walking a dog. It’s turned into a chore that has to be done.

    Instead of feeling bored, I have started making them more enjoyable by educating myself on the local flora at the same time. I checked out my local fauna book from the library and guess what? My 4 year old has been helping me identify Fiddlehead Ferns and other plant varieties on our block. My little arborist! Soon I might call myself an expert on the plant life in our neighborhood. All because of the walks my children mandate we take in our neighborhood. Thanks kids!