This week as I was recovering from minor surgery, I was unable to do a lot of the things I usually do with and for my kids. While I truly enjoy much of what I do with them, I didn’t realize just how much I loved some of the simple little things, until I couldn’t do them. Babies and toddlers can be a lot of work, and much of what we do is done over and over and over again, so it can start to seem a little bit old. But I’ve found that simply by changing my mindset and adding a little bit of something special to a task, I can turn it from something that just needs to “get done” into something I look forward to as a special time with Elvie.
Nothing is a better example of this than walking our errands on Saturdays. In order to get a little exercise in while getting things done, I save the errands that are within walking distance so I can head out on a big walk on Saturday mornings. In the end, some tasks get taken care of, and I get in a little workout. Still, it could be a little boring, except that I’ve got the world’s best errand running assistant. I put Elvie in the stroller facing me, and we have a sweet little outing, just the two of us, every Saturday. Here are some photos from two of our recent Saturday errand walks, with notes on how I made something so potentially mind-numbing into something fun for both of us.
It only takes a few little tricks to do it.
I start by dressing Elvie in my favorite clothes and accessories.
Getting ready to go is part of the fun, and I love choosing a cute outfit, complete with fabulous headband or hair clip, so she can ride in style.
I observe her, observing her surroundings.
Often the walk starts out quiet, and I like to look around to see what she’s seeing. Our days can get so busy that I don’t have time to notice what she’s noticing, what catches her eye.
Bringing a fun friend she hasn't seen in awhile is a hit.
We have several stroller toys, but I like to swap them out so that she gets excited when she sees what I’m attaching to the stroller. Most of them are little animals, and she’ll start chatting at them as we walk.
Because she is facing me, we can practice making faces.
This is her serious face. It doesn’t last long, because she thinks it’s hilarious when someone else makes the face back at her.
Goofing off is our favorite part.
As well as making faces for each other to imitate, we’ll each make sounds. She’s an amazing mimic.
A special treat is always in order.
Normally we eat at home, but when we walk our errands, I make a point of stopping for a special treat at a coffee shop. Sometimes I try to make it more nutritious, like a muffin with fruit in it.
We share a love of chocolate, so sometimes a brownie is in order.
This is also my top pick for times that I want her to stay awake on the way home so that she can nap in her bed instead of in the stroller. She gets so excited about the special treat that she stays awake both to eat it and to wave it around and smile at me, in awe of her good fortune.
Even when she falls asleep, it is still a good time.
Honestly, there’s nothing more sweetly magical than watching my baby-turned-toddler sleep peacefully while we stroll along. I know that these days are numbered, and I cherish the time I have with her while she is small. Even if we don’t do anything special, she makes life magical. I just have to notice.