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November 10, 2010

The Evolution of Walking

I remember the very first time I took the girls for a walk. I had been watching the weather forecast like a hawk, so eagerly anticipating temperatures reaching the 70-degree mark. We were under strict orders from the pediatrician not to get the girls out in public until they were three months old. The only exception he cited was a walk around the neighborhood, given that the conditions were "just right."

The girls’ first walk came in mid-March, when they were about 2 ½ months old. Between the warming spring temperatures and the girls reaching the magical three-month mark, we quickly began to incorporate walks into our daily routine.

Early on, the girls slept the majority of the time we walked. I loved gazing at their cherubic faces in the natural light, but I was largely alone with my thoughts.

After several months, they were staying awake more, and I began to narrate.

There were times I’d come home from our three-mile trek, not only "glistening" from the work-out, but near-hoarse from extolling the virtues of mailboxes and mulch.

And sometimes, if the girls were getting a little antsy the last few blocks, I might find myself jiggling the handle of the stroller to the tune of “The Farmer and the Dell”. Better our neighbors enjoy my "lovely" singing voice than the sound of babies crying in stereo.

And then one day, our routine began to evolve to an entirely new level. I pointed out a barking dog, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but the girls patting their thighs, signing, “Dog!

As the girls’ signing vocabulary grew, so did the interactivity of our walks. And before I knew it, they were beginning to call out words they knew…”Dog!”…”Flower!”…”Bicycle!”…”Airplane!”…

My one-mom narration had turned into a three-way game of I Spy.

Their observations have gradually become more descriptive. “Puppy doggy…napping!” “Bird…flying…sky!” “Squirrel…running fast!

And more recently, we’ve begun to layer in colors to our conversations. “What color is that bucket (recycling bin)?” “What color is that car / truck / van?” “I see purple flowers on that porch, do you?

Next up on my list…pointing out numbers on mailboxes.

And then will come types of cars, and flowers, and trees...and one day I can envision us working on basic math skills. “If this mailbox is 741, and that is 745, what is the next one?

The possibilities are definitely endless if we keep on putting one foot in front of the other.


reanbean said...

I can't remember exactly when it was (I think maybe right around 2), but there was a point where my kids' vocabularies just took off and I was no longer certain whether I had specifically taught them a word or phrase or if they had just picked it up from conversations. I'm sure it's cliche to say "they're like little sponges", but they so are. Tiny and Buba say new things and learn new concepts almost every day. I find it very impressive.

Cuz I'm the mama! said...

WOW!! It is amazing how fast they pick up on stuff. We have the daily walking routine, too. But now with cold temps (and even colder ones on the way) we are missing our walks big time!! I know it's way off...but I LONG for spring when we can get out daily again. By then our girls will be around 19 months and hopefully we can get more convo's going!! You and your girls give me hope!! :)

Tracy said...

What an amazing post. I love it because I've never thought about the evolution of our walks and you are soooo right!!!! You are a beautiful writer. Hope y'all are well!!!

Rebecca said...

So true! Everything we do...even the stuff that seemed stupid when they were 3 months old...has an impact! I remember "glistening" from our walks too. They were exhausting!

Anonymous said...

exactly!! you're such a good mommy. i read somewhere that it is ideal to talk to your infants at least 20 minutes per hour on average. sounds like you got that covered!! :)