Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Andante- The Walking Tempo

I've always loved the rhythm of a walk. The steady footbeats on the pavement create a meter for my thoughts to fall into and be tamed. Gone are the firings of random disoganized thought. It's like coming out from inside of myself and having my senses turned on again.
Maybe it's the oxygen leaving my brain to service my muscles.
But running is not quite as therapeutic. It's true that my thoughts become more focused when I run, but mainly because they are focusing on: "when will be over, this HURTS."
Actually, I love to run. I miss working up a sweat the way I used to, pre-kids. I hope to start doing it again someday soon.
But walking is much more fun. It's slow enough to watch the world go by, and painless enough to let your mind wander.

The Dude has blessedly reached the age of walks. The particular stroller he has chosen happens to be a pink one that JT found by the side of the road. One sign that you have two strong-willed and active boys is that you don't care that your son is in a pink stroller. He is quiet in that pink stroller.
We've been taking a lot of walks together lately.

I'd forgotten about 15 months, though it's all come rushing back. Night waking that's even worse than the newborn period; head-banging, face-smashing temper tantrums when I don't let him pull my hair or bite me. He spends all day just hanging out by the front door screaming at someone to open it. I am afraid to do laundry when he is awake because the laundry is in our detached garage. I have to go through the courtyard to do it, and he is now capable of opening the gate by himself. Refer to the night-waking: I am too tired to chase him down the street and then wrestle his squirmy howling little body back into the house. And so I remain hostage in a house full of dirty laundry.

But with this recently discovered independence and attitude comes the charm of meeting a unique and developing person. He has new words every day, and hilarious mannerisms. He likes to squeeze his fists together until his neck veins pop out and yell "yay, yay, YAY!" whenever something exciting (like lunch) happens.
And, like his mom, he likes to take walks.

Early in the morning, in the heat of the day, even lately in the dead of the night. He's been waking up for hours in the middle of the night, and spends those hours trying to pull the blankets off of his brother so that Aquaman will play with him.
I am so thankful for our safe little neighborhood. 2 am walks, flip-flops sloshing rhymically through the puddles. Circling the sprinklers, watching the stars. Somehow, taking a walk in the middle of the night seems less like a duty and more like a gift. The night air is humid but with a cool aftertaste. The pace is slow.
The police cars circle around to see if we look suspicious, then smile and wave and drive on.

"Cold!" The Dude remarks approvingly, after taking a sip of milk. "Truck!" He points to the 7-11 parking lot. He looks up at me with his big brown eyes.
This little boy has given me a great gift. I always thought my brown eyes boring until I looked into his and was lost in the depth of them.

Life with children rapidly changes. As soon as you fall into one pattern, the next week, it's different. I'm starting to feel like things are even-ing out, which probably means something new is coming.
At this point, we're thinking that even if we do have another baby it won't be until The Dude is at least 4, God willing. Which means life doesn't have to revolve around the exhaustion of pregnancy and infant care for the next few years. It means, if The Dude continues to follow Aquaman's sleeping pattern; I have a couple years of decent nights' sleep coming up. That if he warms up to the nursery around when Aquaman did, I'll be able to go to church, a bible study, maybe even the gym.
It also means that I might have the time to really get to know these two great kids that God has already given me.

Aquaman is entering a really fun age. He is turning into a better big brother than I could ever have imagined, based on his 2.5 year old attempts to destroy his newborn sibling. (I once caught him with a lemon squeezer trying to put it around the Dude's head...) I thought he would be the one I would have to watch in the bike trailer, but it turns out he loves to be snuggled up to his little brother in there. But yesterday morning when they got out, he had bite marks all over his arms. He still had a good time.



At least once a day they sneak upstairs to their bedroom and I hear them giggling and playing together, and those blissful couple of minutes before someone gets hurt are almost always worth it.

2 weeks before Aquaman was born, JT started working for ocean rescue. 4 months later he went through EMT school. A year after that I joyfully took a positive pregnancy test just hours before finding out full-time ocean lifeguards might be cut for good. Then there was the The Dude's birth, and fire academy.

We've done a lot of sprinting these past few years. But right now, at least for now, our family seems to be settling in to a nice walking tempo. It's still a pretty good clip, to be sure. But it does feel nice to take a walk.

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