Ada and I walk down to Alison's house three days a week. It's only two blocks away and I don't take a stroller because I'm doing my best to keep Ada independent and make things easier for Alison. And I'm trying to teach Ada how to walk longer distances without being picked up and held since my back just can't take carrying her for long periods of time (she is over 30 pounds) and I abhor dragging a stroller everywhere we go.
On our commute to Alison and Will's place, we only travel down one street so we either take the east or west side, depending on if the streetlight is in our favor or not. Typically, I forget to text Alison that we are on our way and I have to do a bunch of fumbling through my purse and pockets to locate my phone and send a quick "OMW" ('on my way' for you non-texters) so she can come down to meet us at the door. While I'm busy trying to do all of that, Ada is actively running down the street and saying "Hi" to everyone we meet. It's really kind of cute. It's not as cute when she tries running across the street while the light is still red or gets too close to the road while I'm trying to text and box her out of the street with my thighs. But we manage.
On the way home is when things get fun. She's so excited to get outside and run home and, maybe it's because she is a bit more awake, she just wants to go, go, go. We almost always walk home on the east side of the street so she can stop to say "Hi" to all of her friends. One day Rick joined us and was confused when I told him we couldn't cross the street. You see, Ada has a routine...
First we wave at the kitty statue that waves at us from the window of the nail salon. Then we stop to poke at the flowers in front of the florist. Then we pause at the street to hold Mom's hand as we cross, ideally. Then we dance in front of the pizza place and the CD store since they tend to have speakers projecting music onto the street. Then we pause again at the alley. Then on to the flower box in front of the gift shop where she, occasionally, sticks her finger in the dirt or touches the plants. We come upon another waving kitty at another nail salon at that point. Maybe she'll check out the golden man statue at the bread, wine, and cheese store. Then she's on to find the duck in the window of the shoe store. And finally we arrive at the corner with the streetlight where we do a red light dance until mommy gets dizzy or the light turns in our favor.
As we cross the street, I often think Ada is planning how she can escape my grip and zip past our front steps so she can extend our walk. Depending on the weather, and how much stuff I'm carrying back from work, and how loaded up with toys and crafts her bag has become, she might get me to walk around the block. On days when she is just feeling a bit funky, she has been known to throw a tantrum on the threshold of the front vestibule door, but that's rare. Some days she ends our commute with a quick climb to the top of the stairs and others she turns it into a tug-of-war wherein I typically give up and either carry her or dump the stuff in the house and return to bring her in from the vestibule.
Moral of the story: Kids thrive on routine and consistency. Add a little fun into that and the days just keep getting better.