I’m not used to taking things easy.
When I first had Big E my whole world changed, including what was possible in the outdoors. All day hikes to the top of mountains were fun with just adults in tow, but once a baby was involved diaper changes and feedings changed what I did in the outdoors. Maybe an all day hike up a mountain was out, but I could still put the baby in the pack and get out for a hike.
Then Big E grew. Suddenly he wanted to toddle everywhere without being strapped into a pack. So we adapted, changed our expectations and went on short adventures or stroller accessible activities.
Then little g was born. We had to adapt again. Learn how to have two kids and balance their needs and mine was another learning curve that affected what we did in the outdoors. But Big E was bigger and could actually walk on his own now. We could still get outdoors, just at a toddler’s level.
Now there’s another one. Baby L is still in the floppy stage, unable to even sit up on her own. While adorable and lovable in every way, her lack of motor skills requires another redefinition of acceptable outdoor activity. And it’s tough.
With this hot weather I long to go kayaking with my family. We live near a great tubing river, but having a completely dependent child makes that activity too dangerous to contemplate.
Biking would be another fun alternative, but my bike trailer requires an infant insert and says it’s only suitable for children over six months. Summer will be over by the time Baby L is six months.
Another family favorite is off-roading. Mountain Dad loves driving the RZR but laws (and common sense) require all children to wear helmets and Baby L has just barely figured out how to hold up her head. I can’t imagine what it would be like wearing a heavy helmet, not to mention I don’t think her car seat would work in an off road vehicle.
I thought I had figured out that having kids requires adaptation to my life. I have learned to walk at a slower pace, to plan ahead, to change the activities from white water rafting to short hikes near to home. We’ve bought special gear, taken more time, given up when appropriate. But I still have to lower my expectations.
I’m not asking for much. It’s not like I’m an extreme athlete running Iron man triathlons every weekend. And I know all too well that babies grow and this will be temporary. That doesn’t change the chasm between what I WANT to do outdoors and what I’m ABLE to do outdoors.
Getting outdoors with young kids is tough, but I know I will keep trying, changing and adapting, because it is also important.