A couple of people have asked me what on earth I think I'm doing (I'm paraphrasing a bit, but just a bit). Why would I want to go out every day, toddler in tow? And, slightly differently, how is this a challenge?
The basic answers - the weather's getting better and we should enjoy it while we can, fun for all the family, fun for the not-working family members during the week - aren't the whole story. I'm a fast-paced sort of person and I keep a to-do list at home that currently, on a slow day, has 24 items on it. When I play with the toddler at home, in the back of mind there's always the nagging thought of the things I've not done yet. Have I emptied the washing machine? Wiped down the surfaces in the kitchen? Done the banking? Changed the bedlinen? And I often find myself settling her with her toys and rushing off to do one of the tasks, leaving playtime interrupted. When I come back to her, she's often moved on to something else and it takes me a while to catch up to her new game.
So what I'm trying to do is to match my pace to hers, so that I can enjoy the world as she does and enjoy her enjoying it too (it's like multi-tasking and doesn't that appeal to me!). I'm not sure I can slow down enough at home, surrounded by all the familiar tasks that need to get done and the guilt associated with either not doing them or doing them at the expense of time with the toddler.
Right now she's playing with bracelets and I'm writing this and making a list of Things For Our Outing Bag.
So far we have:
- water for Mama and Toddler with appropriate receptacles (the toddler always gets a separate cup: I love and accept my daughter absolutely, but that doesn't mean I have to get intimate with her backwash)
- bonus layer of clothing for both, just in case
- sunhat (we wish!)
- snacks for the toddler to stave off meltdowns
- camera to record our experiences
- changing pack in case the small one's caught short
- toy for prolonged public transport periods
It's starting to feel like an expedition.