Monday, March 26, 2007

The Long Walk Home

I absolutely crashed yesterday afternoon. Had one of those naps where you wake up and don't even know you're a person. (That's a direct translation of one of my favorite Taiwanese phrases, and it doesn't sound nearly as interesting in English.) Groggily, I checked the clock, stumbled downstairs, and told Amy I was taking Jada to the park.

We saw a friend from church as well as two of her "rat pack" friends, with whom Jada tried out a couple of toys that weren't hers, traded jewelry, and otherwise did what little girls do together. After a short stay, we headed home.

Jada insisted on pushing the stroller, so I let her do that, all the way to the intersection. Since she had to check the front wheels every thirty seconds, this 500-foot stroll took roughly three minutes. Then I whisked her across the street and plopped her down for another block's worth of stroller-pushing. Again, another three minutes.

After carrying her across yet another intersection, Jada had tired of pushing the stroller but refused to sit in it. Instead, she found herself a small tree branch and used it as a walking stick. Every ten feet or so, she found a clump of dirt or a tree to poke at.

By now, our pace had slowed to about five minutes per block. Given that we live eight blocks from the park, I calculated that we might get home in time for me to go to work the next morning. But I was too drowsy to coerce Jada into the stroller. Plus I figured this kind of "at her pace" exploring is the very thing kids don't have enough of.

So I gritted my teeth and waited. She climbed up stoops and back down them. She threaded her tree branch through what seemed like every hole in every city sewer vent from here to home. She stopped to read every letter and every number off of a license plate.

Some forty minutes after we had bid adieu to her park buddies, we finally arrived at home, to three freshly made pizzas and a quizzical look on Amy's face. I explained the whole long walk home and concluded by saying, "Both of us are going to sleep well tonight." And indeed we did.



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