Hiking Evolution When Baby Turns ToddlerTwo is an interesting age. Suddenly that little agreeable fella who was so easy to haul here, there and everywhere now has a personality.

You say, “Hey, it’s time to go hiking.” He says, “No. Monkey.” That’s when the bribes start.
Me: “If we watch Monkey (Curious George) all the way to the hike, can we go hiking?”
Mason: “No, monkey.”
Me: Sigh. “How about if I give you a lollipop?”
Mason: Eyebrows up. Looks at me. “You, monkey.”

Two is a hard time for many parents. You lose the fast-paced hiking buddies whose children aren’t yet two. Your movement slows. Sometimes my little guy will ride in stroller, other times he’ll hop into the carrier, but sometimes it’s toddler-walk time. And it is in those moments that I have to remind myself that it really is about the journey, not the destination. For the next six months and maybe a year, the journey may be three block walks to the park and back.

What does this mean for Hike it Baby? For being part of a community? For getting your hike on?

Nothing. As long as you just roll with it and stay present in looking around. I’m mostly reminding myself and others that I am outside and that is good. Luckily I also have Hike it Baby and we are an all-inclusive group.

Are you in my boat? Seeing your long hikes getting shorter and shorter? Look around and see if you can find others who are in the same stage as you. Partner up with them for support! Put your new friends in your “favorites” on your phone and reach out when you are feeling those ho-hum holiday blahs.

As we enter into this winter and the new year, take time to reflect on your child and how every step from infancy to now has taught you so much about yourself. Be grateful for the tiny baby stage and the toddler tantrum. It’s all part of the wonderful path you are on and there are 18 years to go.

Venturing along on this journey and your ongoing commitment to outside time month after month — 30 miles or 30 minutes a few times a week — is having an impact on your baby. But it will also have an impact on you.

Brave the rain, the cold, the shift from light-days to dark-days. Remember after fall and winter comes spring. Once spring hits, we will be treading light and fast once again. Even if that means at a toddler pace.

Shanti Hodges is the founder of Hike it Baby and mom a two and a half year old named Mason River, who is really perfecting the art of the toddler tantrum these days. Any suggestions for taming a toddler are greatly appreciated. Send all suggestions, comments and thoughts to shanti@hikeitbaby.com 

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