Emery is my little traveling buddy these days. Lucky for me, this kid likes to be on the go–prefers it, even. Good thing too because he spends most of his time running up and down the Valley with me. I apologize to him every time I snap him into his car seat, promising we’ll go home to play just as soon as we can. He smile his assent, content to be along for the ride, but I beat myself up about it because the boy ought to be outside digging in the dirt and kicking a ball instead of strapped into another shopping cart or stealing a nap in the car. It’s hard.
The early days of parenthood were easy, in hindsight, because once we figured out the pattern of our day, each one after the next fell easily into place without much disruption. At the time this was a bit boring, admittedly, and we grew weary of the repetition that rendered us home-bound. The apartment was small, our circle of friends smaller, and the outside commitments so few that we looked longingly to the days when more children would fill a larger home, and our bigger life would demand more interaction outside the walls of our little apartment.
Now, of course, I look back at those days with the sort of wistfulness that can only come from experience. More children, a bigger home, and a larger life are exhausting in a different sort of way, and sometimes I wish I could trade the busy-ness of this season with the boring-ness of the past seasons just so I could catch my breath. These days are accomplishing what we hoped they would, meaning they forced us out of that new-parent isolation and plunged us deep into the swirling chaos of real family life. And it’s good, for the most part. But the babymoon ended before we welcomed our third and final child into our home. When he joined us, he hit the ground running right along with us.
Whereas his sisters’ baby days were spent largely at home unless a beautiful day beckoned us outside for a walk or an empty cupboard made a shopping trip necessary, Emery lives the majority of his days restrained by his sisters’ schedules. He spends more time watching the world from a car seat, stroller, or grocery cart than his sisters did combined, I bet. I am wracked by guilt over this, of course, but it’s the only sort of life he knows and for the most part he doesn’t seem to mind.
Instead he squeals with delight when I say it’s time to go, running to the door and stamping his feet like an impatient soldier ready to march into battle while he waits for me to join him. Old enough to walk alongside me now, he likes to take my hand to lead me down the hallways and aisles and sidewalks he’s come to know so well, pointing at things and cooing his garbled words for truck and ball as we go. My favorite is when I scoop him up to carry him across a busy street or crowded parking lot: he grasps my thumb, just like he’s always done, turns his head toward our destination and holds on as we go.
The trade off with a life lived on the go is Emery is used to living life this way, and what’s more, it suits him. For as patient as he is (and boy, is he patient), he is full of that distinctly rambunctious boy energy that only lets him stay put for so long. Like a puppy, he must be let outside to run and explore and tire himself out. But he always comes back running when I call him, knocking me down as he lavishes my face with wet, sticky kisses.
There are a few things that seem to make this always-on-the-go life more bearable for us both, things I am so thankful for that I must share them.
First, the red Radio Flyer Stroll ‘N Trike that Emery begs to ride in daily, which works for me because it dupes him into thinking he’s on an adventure, when really he is just along for the ride. I use it instead of a stroller these days because he’s so much happier in it. After school pick-up, ballet lessons, the post office, the doctor’s office– you name it. If I am going there (and there isn’t a shopping cart), he is riding in it. It folds up like a dream and fits easily in the back of the Durango. I can’t imagine doing life with this kid in tow without it these days.
Also, my arsenal of gluten free, dairy free and peanut free snacks that happen to be all three at the same time. It gets pretty complicated keeping track of who can eat what around here, so it makes me happy to find snacks that are safe for everyone in our house to eat. It takes the guesswork out of snacks-on-the-go. Lately my favorites are Go Go Squeeze Fruit & Veggiez blends, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars, and Annie’s Homegrown granola bars. And by the way, while I’m on the subject of granola bars, can I just say how much I love the Grocery Outlet? I know it might make me sound cheap, but really: they often have snacks like these there for a fraction of the cost. Last month, boxes of Annie’s gluten free granola bars were 99 cents each. 99 cents! (And no, they weren’t expired or damaged or otherwise unfit for consumption. I stocked up.)
And finally, our collection of Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpacks. I traded in Emery’s diaper bag for the Darby Dog one on his first birthday because I was just plain tired of toting that beast of a bag around with me. Instead, I turned this backpack into his go bag loaded with all the essentials: diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, emergency medicine (Epi Pen and Benadryl), and a snack. All I do is add a water bottle and we are out the door. Plus, he recognizes the bag as his own and can already help load it and tote it back and forth. This is the third of its kind in our house: all the Goobies have their own, and I love how they take ownership of them (and are pretty good about being responsible for them). Plus, they are so adorable I just can’t even handle it.
Today I’m sharing the love and giving one away. Not to you of course–goodness knows we don’t need another one floating around our house. But I bet there is someone else out there with their own traveling buddy who gets weary of being at the mercy of this new on-the-go schedule (and would be happy to nix their diaper bag too). And while I can’t make their life any slower or easier, I can do this at least. It’s the little things, right?
Love the backpack? Want one for your own little traveling buddy? I thought maybe so. Click the link below (“Skip Hop Zoo Little Kid Backpack Giveaway”) and follow the directions on the Rafflecopter website to enter the contest. (1 entry for leaving a comment letting me know which one you would choose if you’re the lucky winner and two bonus entries for liking Love, Scratch on Facebook.) The winner will be chosen at random on Friday 9/16 at 9:00 am (PST) and I will announce the winner on Love, Scratch later that day.
NOTE: All opinions expressed herein are 100% my own; this is not a sponsored post or giveaway. These are products I really, really love and I have not received compensation from any outside entity.