(Me) “We’re going for a hike! Let’s get your shoes on!”
(Sam) “No!” (Struggle begins, as I try to fit those chubby tiny wiggly feet into some shoes that may or may not fit my 22 month old.)
(Me) “Let’s get your coat on!”
(Sam) “Nooooo!” (Struggle continues as I practice my WWF skills on a 23 pound human with more moves than a ninja.”
(Me) “Let’s get your hat on!”
(Sam) “NOOOOOO NOOOOOO NOOOOOO!!!!” (Struggle escalates into battle-mode as the tiny human’s head bobs and weaves left and right and back again.)
(Me) “What snacks should we take on our hike today?”
(Sam)“Snack! Snack! Snack! Cracker! Cookie! Snack!” (I’m gaining back some control.)
(Me) “Ok, let’s get your shoes on.”
(Sam) “Sammy poop.” (My head slowly bangs against the kitchen table.)
Hiking with a toddler is no small feat, that’s for sure. I am by no means an expert on the issue, what with having only one of these tiny humans to wrangle. However, this single little being has taught me countless lessons in many areas of life, and the ones I’m going to share with you are the lessons Sam has taught me on the trail. Valuable lessons I would never have learned by staying indoors. And on those days that I give myself the freedom (and patience) to let him out of the carrier, I get to experience being a child again, through his point of view.
Rules of the Trail: Toddler-Style
Rule #1 Walk, run or wobble at your own pace, no matter how fast (or slow) everyone else is going.
Rule #2 Stop at every opportu…..Look, a rock!…nity.
Rule #3 Sit down frequently. Hiking is hard!
Rule #4 Refer to Rule #3 and sit, roll or lie down in mud puddles at every opportu….Look, a stick!…nity. If thirst calls, feel free to drink from said puddle.
Rule #5 Find a bug or some dog poop. Put it in your mouth (or your friend’s mouth) before one of those big adult hands takes it away.
Rule #6 Make like a cat and run in the opposite direction of the rest of the group. Do this frequently and without warning.
Rule #7 Scream loudly and excitedly at anything that appears to be interesting. Excited screams can be disguised as cries as a tactic to get picked up in order to get a better view and to rest your legs. Hiking is hard!
Rule #8 Demand to be picked up. Once up in mommy’s/daddy’s arms or carrier demand to be put down immediately. Repeat this a minimum of 5-100 times during the hike. Crying helps.
Rule #9 Snack-time. Steal or beg to have some of every snack offered to the other children, and refuse to eat the snacks that were brought for you. Because that other little boy’s cheddar bunnies are certainly better than MY cheddar bunnies.
Rule #10 Lie down and begin your nap during the last 5 minutes of the hike. Hiking is hard!
Janet Vaudt is a stay-at-home mom of 22 month old Sam and baby #2 due in April. When she’s not outside exploring the Rocky Mountain trails, she volunteers as a Branch Lead of Hike it Baby Golden and with the Hike it Baby 30 Challenges.
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