Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Running with Naomi

I have taken Naomi out a couple times in the jogging stroller, both times for a 1 or 1 ½ mile run. She did great, so I thought I would up the mileage and take her out during a longer run. It was about a 4 mile run. Here’s how it went:

I strap Naomi securely in her stroller, make sure her hat is on, she’s comfortable, she has toys, I have the car keys, etc. I am feeling great. It’s an incredibly beautiful day, and I’m out for a run with Naomi! We head out from the park and follow a paved trail.

Naomi is already bored with her toys, but that’s okay because she generally likes to just hang out in the stroller when we walk and look at the scenery. I figure it’s more interesting when you are going at a faster pace, so that will keep her entertained.

I learn I am wrong. Naomi is apparently not entertained by the fast-moving scenery (or perhaps I'm slower than I realize). I’m not giving up this easily, though. I start singing nursery rhymes.

I pride myself on being able to push the jogging stroller uphill while singing nursery rhymes. Naomi has a cool mom. I feel I am keeping my pace up. This is good!

We are on flat ground now. Naomi gets a little fussy, but she likes to watch the cars. I tire of singing.  I talk nonsense to her now and then but mostly just enjoy being outdoors with a slight breeze.

The turnaround point is in sight. Naomi decides she is ready to get out of the stroller and makes sure Mommy knows about her decision. I keep up a stream of chatter, hoping that will entertain her.

We are at the turnaround point. Naomi is crying off and on now. Should I take her out? No, she’ll just get more frustrated when I put her back in. Besides, by continuing to run, we’ll get back to the car as fast as possible. Talking and singing doesn’t seem to make a difference. It's a moot point; I’m running a bit short on air. I realize it was silly of me to give her all three toys at once. Next time I will hold a couple in reserve for later in the run.

We pass a bench. I hold to my resolve to not take Naomi out of the stroller. Her crying is building up, and I worry that passers-by will think I am torturing my child. I no longer think I am a cool mommy.  I try to put Naomi's toys in her hands while jogging; she won’t take them, although she does seem to think I look funny enough bending over while still jogging that she stops crying for a minute.

I notice Naomi quiets down when cars pass. It is not a busy road, though, or perhaps it’s a slow time of day. I contemplate which is the correct answer; it keeps my mind off Naomi crying. I hope for more cars.

Naomi’s a-howlin’ now. I stop wondering if it is sacrilegious and begin praying for more cars.

There’s another bench coming up. Naomi starts to quiet down as we get closer to it, but I know as soon as we pass it she’ll start howling again. We stop. So much for my continuous run, but mothers have to make sacrifices, right? Naomi LOVES the bench; it is a mosaic-type bench with many different colors of stones embedded in the seat. She enjoys watching cars. We play for a few minutes. I put her back in the stroller while she is watching cars, hoping she will be so intent on the cars that she doesn’t notice what is happening. It does not work.

With Naomi howling louder than ever, I set back out. We go over an occasional bump, and that really ticks her off. The cars still grab her attention, but they don't come by often enough for me. I contemplate calling my friends and asking them to drive past us multiple times to entertain her.

We are heading down a circular ramp and back underneath the bridge (the path goes underneath the road). Naomi stops crying. I am encouraged. We are near the end, my run was better than nothing, and I’ll finish with a not-screaming baby.

We head up the other side of the ramp with only about ½ mile left to get back to the car. Naomi is gurgling, not her happy cooing gurgles, but the ones that mean she’s building up to scream bloody murder. I run faster. Will silly songs help? I try some and ignore the fact that they aren’t working. I start planning this blog in my head; it distracts me.

We arrive back at the park. I feel bad Naomi has been crying. She deserves a treat. I look for some grass by a tree so we can play in the shade. Naomi does not realize we are done with the run and continues crying. It takes awhile, but we eventually find some shady grass. She tries to eat the grass while I stretch. I wonder if we should try this again. It’s a beautiful day to be outside. I think we will try this again with a few modifications…I haven’t figured out what, yet, but I’ll keep my thinking cap on. 

As with most things, this whole experience was much funnier after the fact!


Edward Jones said...

It seems like your run would be a lot more effective without the baby and the stroller. Is there some kind of "child shelter" you can give Naomi to? Maybe you could pick her back up when she's old enough to take care of herself.

This reminds me of a magnet I saw the other day: "The first 40 years of parenthood are the hardest."

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I laughed until tears came at your descriptive account of the run. Maybe you are wasting your talents on running and should take up writing, Valerie!~ Thanks for all the fun and keeping us up to date.

terrah said...

So ambitious of you! I hope she gets used to it... I would love to be out running with Cora, but I'm not sure it's worth attempting until spring and warmer weather here!