Clearly, in the company of a small child, nothing is going to be done at break-neck speed, but this seemed to be taking things too far. Forget off-road quad biking and 80 storey-high bungee jumps – my 2-year-old has invented a new sport – extreme dawdling…
The trip there wasn’t much quicker. Despite a cunning detour (via the post box), to avoid the play park, we still encountered enough distractions to turn what should have been a 5 min stroll into an epic journey.
It doesn’t take a great deal to distract a small person. Every little thing is a fresh cause of amazement. And this can’t just be brushed off as the wonder of discovering new things every day. The 4th, 5th, 12th and 20th sighting of a dog are all just as thrilling as the first (and each canine has to be hailed and met and patted – usually at the owner’s insistence). The very same doorsteps that were yesterday clambered on and jumped off are once again today greeted with enthusiasm. Every pile of leaves encountered has to be redistributed across the vicinity (ok, I tend to join in so mustn’t grumble).
Posts, puddles and pensioners. Each a source of enormous entertainment and interest to a toddler. We can add to the list low walls and kerbstones, because, from where better to practise death-defying acrobatic balancing stunts?
Although more a source of annoyance (in a typical toddlers’ opinion) than delight, road edge discussions can be a cause of some delay too. ‘We are not…going… to…cross… the .. road…until-you-HOLD MUMMY’s HAND.
Other excellent ideas for dawdling include talking to bushes, attempting shortcuts through complete strangers’ gardens and watching tractors, lorries, buses and just about any other vehicle you can lay your eyes on. The last of these pursuits, under the rules of extreme dawdling, must be done standing stock still, mouth agape, from the second the wheeled object of desire comes into sight to a short while after it’s clear they are gone and not coming back.
To finish – a truism – the less appropriate the footwear, the more attractive the puddle.