Whenever I take a blogging hiatus (intentional or not) I always find it so difficult to jump back in. Within the past few weeks we have attended a wedding in Ohio/visited my in-laws, celebrated our two year wedding anniversary, celebrated my husband's birthday, taken a day trip to Baltimore, and I spent an entire week watching Gabriel on my own (thankfully with much support from some amazing friends!) while Michael had to travel to Colorado for a week for his job. Honestly that's a lot to get caught up on! But, if there's one thing I've learned about myself and blogging breaks it's that it's always easiest for me to start small.
I'm leaving all the re-caps for another day. Today I'm just going to focus on...today.
This week has been a mess of nap strikes, with Gabriel skipping a morning nap one day, his afternoon nap the next, and that brings us to today. After more than one refusal to sleep when he was exhausted this morning, Gabriel has finally just gone down for a nap at around 11am. Before that, though, he made it pretty clear he wasn't going to relax and simply wanted to play and play and play and play some more. I was quickly running out of ideas to keep our little explorer occupied, so I pulled out the big guns and told Gabriel to get his socks and shoes on (clearly something he doesn't do on his own yet at 14 months old, but he understands it nonetheless) and he began squealing as he ran towards the front door.
What can I say? The child loves to leave the apartment.
|Somewhat-related photo from one of last week's park visits|
Initially I thought we'd walk down to the small playground in our apartment complex, but I felt a few sprinkles of rain so I decided it would be better to stay near our building in case we had to run back inside. After all, the landscaping in front of our building includes a bunch of rocks, so what more do you need to captivate a child, really?
Something I've noticed about Gabriel in recent weeks that I find to be quite endearing, is that he likes to follow sidewalks. Instead of wanting to run into the middle of the parking lot and check out cars or go roll around in the grass (although he does that sometimes, too), he will almost certainly choose to follow a sidewalk when given the chance. He loves to see where the path leads us and explore the change in scenery as he makes his way further down the cement, so that's precisely what we did.
It wasn't fancy and we didn't make a lot of pit stops to check out the trees or flowers like we normally do. Instead, we just walked. And as we took our little morning stroll, Gabriel happily reached out his hand towards mine. So there we went, hand in hand, as my boy joyfully explored our neighborhood via the sidewalk.
This all sounds simple, but if you recall much about the sidewalks in our neighborhood, you'll know it wasn't without a few tricks of the mom trade that I managed to keep our adventurer excited and curious while walking over a few of the same sidewalks again and again (children really can be so easy to please!).
As we made our rounds I couldn't help but think about how grateful I am for this time in our lives. Gabriel is at an age when he often runs off to explore and play independently, but he is still often eager to hold my hand and experience the world with me right by his side. It's a heartwarming, fun age and I know that as he grows we'll have plenty of fun in other ways, but for now, I just want to relish these memories of a simple walk, hand in hand with my smiling son.
Plus, as soon as we got back inside Gabriel FINALLY calmed down enough to rest. I guess our journey provided him sufficient exercise and new scenery to wear him out enough to (at last) take a nap without a fight. Sweet memories, excitement for my boy, all ending in a blessed, much-needed nap. Win, win, win.
"For the 99 percent of the time we've been on Earth, we were hunter and gatherers, our lives dependent on knowing the fine, small details of our world. Deep inside, we still have a longing to be reconnected with the nature that shaped our imagination, our language, our song and dance, our sense of the divine."
-Janine M. Benyus