Thou Shalt Go for a Walk Today

May 5, 2012

When I was a child, I reasoned like a child. A very self-centered child that is. On Sabbaths, my parents would do their best to make it entertaining yet kosher. We would go to the San Bernardino Museum, take hikes to Forest Falls, or peruse the shops of Oak Glen. I look back at those times with fondness, but also with a hearty portion of remorse. That’s because many of these outings followed an unfortunate pattern. First, my folks would announce that we were going somewhere. Next, my brother and I would grumble. This whinging would often continue through the car trip and often into the activity itself. My parents must have been very strong people. Hopefully, they at least got some mild amusement out of our absurdity. The most ludicrous thing about our pattern was that the activity usually went well and we ended up having fun. I guess negativity trumped prior experience in our reptilian minds, and patterns are hard to break.

Today, I decided that Alice and I should go on a Sabbath stroller ride. We had enjoyed the previous week’s outing, which included horses, cows, and squirrels. I thought it would be an easy sell. Unfortunately, Alice can detect parental enthusiasm like a shark can detect blood in the water. Even a trace and her ultra-contrarian powers activate. The stroller ride was a no go; she wanted the sandbox and the bubble gun instead. Now a normal parent might have chilled out and reasoned that outdoor play and a stroller ride were roughly equivalent. Unfortunately for Alice and her bubble-blowing fish, her daddy had some issues. If my parents had been held hostage by my negativity, I reasoned, we would have never gone on our family outings that I ultimately enjoyed. The sandbox wouldn’t cut it. Plus this time, I had an ace in the hole.

Normally when Alice doesn’t take her afternoon naps, it’s a bad thing. She often morphs from a sweet toddler to someone suffering from bipolar disorder, or Chris Christie when he hasn’t had food in awhile. But this time, it was my bargaining chip. “Alice, we don’t have to go on a stroller ride. If you want you can take a nap instead. Would you like to go on a stroller ride or go in your crib?” I said in the rational voice that both my students and wife love.

“Stroller ride,” came the soft reply.

I won’t exhaust you with the details, but Alice had a great time. About halfway through the ride I let her get out of the stroller after making her promise that she would go back in without complaint. She walked for about half a mile, asked to go back in the stroller, and repeated the process once more. When all was said and done, we ventured for over 90 minutes and strolled for about four miles (with Alice walk/running about a mile of it). She was pleased as punch the whole way, and also turned into quite the quote machine. Some of my personal favorites:

Looking for horses: “We are on a hunt for horses!”

When the wind picked up a bit: “The soft breeze! The soft breeze!”

After randomly jumping into and falling down into the grass beside the trail: “Why did I do that?”

As she began to run: “I have great eels. Do you have great eels, Daddy?” (I later learned she meant “skills”)

While being pushed in the stroller: “Daddy, you are the Big Bad Wolf, and the Big Bad Wolf takes care of me.”

When we got home and had dinner, she had these gems:

After being encouraged to be polite: “May I please have…what do I want again?” (pause…grin) “Turkey!”

On observing her stomach post meal: “I have a big fat round tummy like a steering wheel! Like a water fountain!”

Today was great, one of our best daddy-daughter outings ever, but any feelings of bravado are tempered by fears of what she might become one day—when the quotes become less adorable.

Like my parents before me, I’ll press on. Hoping that someday, she’ll look back on our outings with fondness…and maybe a little bit of guilt. Okay, so maybe I haven’t entirely put childish ways behind me.

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2 Responses to “Thou Shalt Go for a Walk Today”


  1. the ever quotable alice! love it!

  2. teachiro Says:

    Hoping for more quotes tomorrow. Sounds like Emma has been quite the quotable kid herself.


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