Quiet family outings are a thing of the past. Every time we venture outside, C thinks it’s her wild card to run – literally, running wild wherever her tiny feet deem fit to take her. Stopping her from escaping away requires quick thinking and strategies – run along with her from the outside to prevent her from going out on the road, sneak up to her quietly because if she sees you coming she will just go crazier – we’ve learnt our own little techniques which (sometimes) help us catch up with Little Miss Mischief. When nothing of the sort works, we just have to brace ourselves for the shrieking spells which follow when we pick her up and (try to) put her back in her pushchair.
This weekend we visited our favourite tea-house, a small place in a quaint little village not too far from Canterbury. As luck would have it, C had her daily nap on the car-ride to the tea-house and the moment we switched off the car, her eyes flew wide open. We knew there would be no further sleep from her part.
Upon entering we ordered and while waiting, C started trying to get off her pushchair. Knowing that food sometimes distracts her for a couple of minutes, at least until we drank our coffee and ate our cake, I went prepared with milk, grapes, cheese strings and biscuits, thinking that we were guaranteed at least 20 minutes of silence max. But C was uncooperative, refusing her milk and wanting to get up and run away. She started screaming, some fellow patrons were giving me sympathetic looks, one annoying sour old man even put his hands over his ears, so we quickly finished, paid and left.
Outside the screaming stopped and she ran. And ran and ran. She was set on running a downhill road, without any help of course because C does not do the holding-hands thing. Then we saw a small dog tied up to a lamp-post and an idea struck us. Both A and myself have resisted this particular purchase only because we see it a bit cruel and mocking, but I guess the joke is now on us because as things are it seems are only option.
We bought C walking reins.
I have just returned from a walk with her and the reins, without the push-chair. I don’t know what I expected. Scenes of C trying to rip off the reins came to mind, more screaming fits and tantrums perhaps. However I was in for a pleasant surprise. She did not mind them. In her little mind she was free to run without me annoying her and trying to look for her hand. And the gentle tugs she felt once in a while were insignificant in her feat to doing this one thing alone. Yes, she did get frustrated at times and I did feel a bit uncomfortable at first, feeling as if I was walking my daughter instead of a dog, but it meant having a nearly-normal and safe walk, and for that alone I’m willing to go along with it.
Like many things in life, it’s all about giving people the idea that they’re doing something unattended and without help. It’s amazing how cooperative they then are 😉