American Child

I was putting Klara in the car this morning when she saw a woman walking past the house.

“Why is the nice lady walking, Mommy?” she asked.

“Because she likes to walk,” I said. “Walking is fun.”

“But why she doesn’t have a car?”

“I’m sure she does but sometimes it’s nice to walk.”

“But you never walk, Mommy,” Klara said. “You drive a car. You never walk on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are not for going.”

In my defense, I love walking and I’ve literally never had a better time in my life than when Klara was an infant and I could take her out for walks in her stroller. We were out walking 3-4 hours a day every day. But as soon as she learned to say no, she refused to go back in the stroller, and that was that for our walks. We go to parks and playgrounds a lot but as for actual walking, 15 minutes in she demands that I carry her, and that’s untenable.

There is a Chinese grandma in the neighborhood who takes her almost-5-year-old boy for long walks in the stroller every day. I envy her but Klara is not the kind of child who’ll sit in the stroller even for 10 minutes.

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12 thoughts on “American Child”

  1. She’s probably old enough to start building up small walks: leave plenty of time and when she asks to be carried sit down for a rest (and sometimes a snack) instead until she’s ready to carry on. I’ve sat on plenty of curbs locally doing just this 🙂 Sometimes, I say “I can’t pick you up right now, but I can hold your hand – would you like to hold my hand?”. Or you could bring the stroller and give her the choice of walking or stroller. If you’re with N, a fun way to speed things up if she’s tiring at the end of a walk is to each hold a hand and do “one…, two…, three… wheeee” with Klara walking/running/jumping on the numbers and you swinging her forward on the “wheee”. (My parents used this with me when I was young.)

    Distraction with conversation works wonders when they are a bit older too. I took my then-4-year old a bit too far up our local mountain and he was tiring on the way down (and it would not have been safe for me to try to carry him). After a good rest, I started telling him everything I knew about insects and answering all his myriad questions and before we knew it we were at the bottom. He even looked around, surprised, and said “how did we get down here so fast?!”

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  2. It’s very frustrating to see how pedestrians are being treated here. Drivers are absolutely sure they have the right not to stop even on green light and zebras. I have never felt so insecure crossing the road as I am in the US. And the best part which makes me feel puzzled every time is when a pedestrian property crossing the street on a GREEN light waves a kind of thanks gesture to the driver who was so kind to let the pedestrian pass first! It’s such a nonsense to me.

    In Kyiv I loved walking, specially in the downtown. In Philadelphia it’s not nearly as relaxing…Here cars made people their slaves.

    I do drive but only if I have to. Walking to the playground is our tradition, it’s close to our house. And my husband can not understand why I don’t want to drive instead…

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    1. This is very dependent on the region. In the Midwest, drivers are so polite and deferential that it gets too much at times. 🙂 On the East Coast, people do get pissy sometimes.

      But the worst drivers in this country I’ve seen are in Florida. God, they are all maniacs. And it’s weird because Floridians are all wonderful people. Until they get behind the wheel. It’s like somebody flips a switch and turns them into freaks.

      God, I miss Florida.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow! Even reading your posts I can tell you have been living here for a long time! They all sound so American! ( I mean lexical part of your posts). I haven’t traveled around the country. But we do go to JFK airport often and New York drivers infuriate even my husband who is a professional driver. I guess, I need more years to adjust to all the differences I encounter every day…

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        1. Yeah, New York drivers are very entitled. I hate New York, to be honest.

          But I love Philadelphia. I never tried driving there, so I don’t know about that part.

          I speak English since my long-gone Soviet childhood. My father wanted us to learn English and only spoke to us in English at home, so I actually said my first words in English, weird as it is.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I see…he probably thought about further immigration so he tried preparing you even linguistically 😊
            I, on the other hand, started learning English at the age of 7 and simply liked it a lot. It was my favorite subject at school. At around 13 years old I knew I would be an interpreter/translator. At the university I learned French and some Spanish. But I never thought of immigrating anywhere, even though after graduation I took a course of French in Montpellier-a cosy and warm town near Marseille. Anyway, it turned out that God had other plans for my future…and I happened to be on “another planet”( my usual nickname for the USA😀).

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