A Random Walk

Following a great week of Ms. Bits N’ Bobs shows, I was sitting in the office of the Director of one of my favorite pre-schools. It’s a tiny closet of an office and quite a magical place, where many of us have laughed, cried and been inspired. One wall, behind her chair is covered in sayings, one of my favorite quotes being

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

Albert Einstein

The Director was finishing up a phone call. I was trying really hard not to eavesdrop on, so I randomly picked out a book on her bookshelf entitled The Parent’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents. I randomly plopped open a page to a quote which said something along the lines of…

Take a walk with your child

a random walk

with no particular purpose

On this walk just look

Look around you at everything that you see

The phone call was done and I thought no more about it. Until a few days later, when I was feeling really guilty that my kindergartener, Tallulah was watching too much TV and I decided that we should take a random walk.

How hard could that be? Right? Just try it. Try to go walking with NO PURPOSE.

The first thing I did was take along a coffee mug that I just had to return to a friend who lived at the top of the hill. Well, I thought, a little purpose to get us started, but then ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE!!

Tallulah looked at me in confusion, this was not the mother she knew. We always went somewhere with a purpose. Go for a run to get some exercise. Run to the store to purchase dinner. Read to get educated.

“Just a walk mom, for no reason?”

“Yup, just a walk, Tallulah”

“No reason?”

“Just a random walk.”

She got it. It was a little more difficult for goal-oriented moi. A couple minutes of walking passed.

La la la! It’s so lovely to walk randomly with no purpose. What a lovely way for me to bond with my daughter. It’s an education unto itself. Education is a wonderful thing. Education! Tallulah! Must educate Tallulah! Then I heard distinctly, these words float out of my mouth. I didn’t mean for it to happen, they just popped right out.

“Do you see any words, Tallulah? Any numbers?”

So the first thing she sees is a sign that says “Please do not let your dog POOP here.”

Tallulah who is extremely concerned about bathroom language being used anywhere but the bathroom is horrified that someone has had the gall to write this word in public for all to see.

I repeat to myself… I Ching, I Ching I Ching a ling a ling…walk with no particular purpose, just notice what is around you.

Then the joy began. Tallulah is afraid of flowers, who knew! Apparently, bees can fly right out of flowers and sting you. This led to a discussion on whether we need flowers to live and thus do we need bees? So bees actually are important. Then we saw a house being demolished. We saw the rusty old pipes thrown on the ground. We passed a tiny Japanese Sushi house and stopped in to look at the Good Luck Cats. Tallulah really wanted one of those. We passed the Cupcake store. Yes, there are stores that still exist in this economy that just sell cupcakes. I love them. I just can’t believe that they are surviving.   Then again, this was a store with no real purpose, just the joy of the cupcake.  These cupcakes looked exceptionally delicious. There was that one special cupcake with whispery, white icing and ringed in delicate pink and purple colored sugar.

Tallulah passed on the cupcake. Yes, I said it…my child passed on a cupcake.  My sweet, adorable, wise I Ching child decided that it would be far better to get a Good Luck Cat from the Sushi Bar, where, naturally, they were not for sale.

Holy Siamese Simbas! Had she noticed the details on these cats! On the big cat, there were attached all of her little kittens and a red fish. Tallulah had noticed every detail. Her moment had so much more depth than mine.  She had looked at everything there was to see. The random walk had come full circle, the good luck was with us for all of that day.


A Hike in the woods!

There was no camp today.  It was time to get my kids out of the house.  This is easier said than done, because the pull of “the screen” in my household is addictive, and my kids are happy addicts.  The screen can be TV, Video games, Nintendo DS and computer games.   This is probably, subconsciously, why I came up with Ms. Bits N’ Bobs.  It is a way to keep TV in check.  They can watch a little and then hopefully, on their own initiative, they will head off and make up some stories on their own.  In my dreams…okay it does happen sometimes.

“Why are we doing this?” my 11 year old moans.  “What is the point of all of this?”  He continues.  These are not rhetorical questions.  He wants answers.  I have got to believe the answer lies in the doing of it.  We head into beautiful Palos Verdes, an area just south of Los Angeles, with the most beautiful horse trails around. 

We borrow Rosie, an exceptionally exuberant half pit-bull, half lab mix and after remembering to bring water for the dog (not ourselves of course) we set off on our hike. 

For about five minutes, all goes well.  The kids are entertained.  The dog is running free.  Then…”how much further?”  “Can we stop for the dog to do tricks for us now?”  “I’m tired.  Can I drink some of the dog water?”  We get stopped by another dog and walker.  This lady warns us that the laws of dogs running free are very strict in this area.  They must be on a leash or we will get ticketed.  Okay, now I have visions of police hiding in the bushes waiting to pounce on my five year old.  My sweet angel is now asking to be carried.  “But I have somefin’ in my shoe, mum”.

I’m determined for a full mile hike.  So I just set off running with the dog, who is walloping me off my feet at about 50 miles per hour.  Happily the kids  follow and as I can’t hear their complaints, I’m in a world of joy. 

On the way back we discover a swing.  Not a fancy swing, but one of those home made swings, a wooden circle attached to the longest blue rope ever, the kind you find in those old movies where they swing across a gully in the middle of nowhere.

They swing, they push each other higher and higher.  Dash and Olivia push Tallulah.  She’s your sister, you take her…he pushes.  No she’s your little sister, you take her.”  They laugh and laugh.  I am the tree protector along with Rosie the dog, in case they are pushed for a header into the tree trunk (by mistake of course, by an older sibling). 

Of course, I was so busy having fun, that I totally forgot to take photos.  So you will have to imagine it all.

Even my 11 year old said he had fun.

The moral of the story… when all the bits and bobs have failed, just go out for a walk.  Adventure lies everywhere.