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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lots of walking

Maggie was hell on wheels today. None of the usual tricks to keep her behavior in line were working at all, so we spent a lot of time walking outside -- it's usually the only thing that'll work when all else fails to keep her attention. In today's case, we went for two extended walks, mainly to keep her from wrecking the house and the sanity of all its residents (Molly had a major meltdown today as well, but that's a story for another posting).

Since we were out walking on a beautiful sunny day anyway, we passed some of the time by looking for street lights on during the day. We covered probably 2.5 miles all told, which for a 5-year-old unused to much physical activity is rather a lot. I think it helped that we did it in two parts; she never would have been able to do it all at once: she was complaining about wanting to see mama, how her feet were bothering her, how she was sweaty, how her leg itched -- all before we were two thirds done with the first loop.

The second loop was actually quite a bit longer than the first, but I employed the additional strategy of bringing along Nicole (mom), Molly (little sister), and a pair of binoculars. OK, to be fair, Molly's presence is pretty irrelevant to Maggie (or perhaps I should say she functions as an obstacle for Maggie most of the time). Nicole, though, provided a foil -- when she's out with us, Maggie has less reason to complain about wanting to go home. Her feet might still hurt, but any complaints about discomfort are much more likely to be genuine than when mom's waiting at home. Predictably, therefore, Maggie happily walked most of a mile before complaining at all. As to the binoculars, their benefit was twofold. First, the novelty value of being able to look at stuff through them can't be understated, and the longer one is out of the house, the more one can use the binoculars. Second, they allowed me to look down streets for lit streetlights without having actually to go down the streets unnecessarily. There's nothing like a fruitless expedition to lose the interest of a five-year-old, and those binoculars allowed me to determine in advance whether we needed to go down streets or not to get numbers from poles, and I'm satisfied they prevented their fair share of frustration on Maggie's part.

We've gotten to the point that we've covered a significant portion of the neighborhood looking for lights that are dim and out at night, and with today's effort, on during the day. I spent some time after today's walk marking on a Google map the territory we'd covered. I'm sharing the link;
have a look.