Child’s Pace

We live in a culture that almost requires haste and impatience. Whether we have children or not, it’s easy to be swept along with the rushing crowd, always on our way somewhere, always late, always trying to do four things at once. In fact, with children in our lives it’s even harder to resist that flow than without them.

Children themselves are often the cause of chaos, my living room resembled the site of a tornado touch down the other night and boy, can a two year old shift it when they want to run! But sometimes young children are the very thing that make us slow down. Sometimes, if we let them, if we walk at their pace, they can remind us of serenity and calm.

Today the Munchkin and I went for a walk in the park. Walking with him at his pace is an interesting experience. There are bursts of quite alarming speed, followed by a complete halt, for no apparent reason. There are puddles to jump in and stand staring at his feet for several long seconds. There are leaves to kick and passers by to stop and stare at. Overall, despite bursts of speed, it’s a slow process getting anywhere.

I try not to let him walk if we’re actually trying to get somewhere, because that would require allowing at least twice as long as necessary for our journey. When he was younger I would wear him in a sling for most journeys but once I became pregnant it got very hard to wear him and he quickly lost patience with it and wanted to go on foot everywhere. For a few months our outings became limited to times when we could hitch a lift with someone but I passed my driving test two months ago and a whole new world opened up to us.

Being now six months pregnant, I need to go considerably slower than I used to and even a leisurely walk around the park is a huge physical strain for me, as my aching muscles can now attest. These days I’m ready to call it a day long before the Munchkin is ready to head home, which results in a battle of wills and some minor acts of bribery. But until that point comes, I value the chance to take my time, not be in a rush to get somewhere and to enjoy exploring the world in the way my son does. I highly recommend that everyone take some time out of the rat race to slow down every once in a while.