Is it unreasonable to ask my 3-year-old to walk? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My dd will be three in June. She loves running, jumping, and walking.
However, I sometimes feel like AP is coming back to bite me in the rear end. She LOVES to be carried. She also LOVES her jogging stroller.

We walk a lot for transportation because we have no car during the week. Sometimes we take the bus, but the bus doesn't always go where we are going. She wants to be carried or she wants to ride in the stroller. I find the stroller to be really unmanageable in stores, and I can't carry her on my back for more than 45 minutes because she is 35 lb+.

I know that she can walk for some time. Besides (this is the bad mommy bit)...I don't want her to get used to SITTING all the time. She says she is tired after 1/2 a block. She wants to sit or to be carried. The result: we both get frustrated and have tantrums.

Should I just strap her into the stroller in the morning and let her stay there until we get home? Or are there ways to help her become happier with walking, at least for short distances?

Thanks!

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#2 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 08:05 PM
 
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Hi Tricia,
Emma can be the same sometimes and she turned 3 in Feb.

I impose rules though so I'm probably more strict than you. I stopped carrying her in a carrier when she was nearly 2 because of my bad back and because I was preggy at the time, and so she's used to walking some distances and using a stroller.

My stroller rules are that once you're in, you're in. You don't come in and out because its a strain on my back to bend over so many times for EVERY LITTLE THING. The exceptions are if there really is a genuine need to come out.

I also make a point of showing her all the interesting things there are to see and touch on our walks that you aren't able to do because the stroller can't get close enough. I say whistfully that "if only you weren't in a stroller, you could touch/see". Sneaky... At the begining I would have to do A LOT of distraction to waylay the tantrums before they start.

Over time Emma's gotten used to going out and walking while her younger sister rides, or they take turns and Sarah will go on my back. Emma's realized though that life's much more fun when you can skip, twirl and run instead of being trapped in a stroller the entire time.

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#3 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 08:18 PM
 
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Yes, I think it is unreasonable.

She is still really young. I would use the stroller. I wouldn't expect my 5 yo to walk really long distances consistently. It sounds like you are walking a long distance from your post...esp for a 2 year old. Let her decide whether to walk or ride.
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#4 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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what works for us is to make it a fun. I give lots of praise when he walks to places. We also do "I spy" on the way do he doesn't notice that we are walking.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#5 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ellp View Post

My stroller rules are that once you're in, you're in. You don't come in and out because its a strain on my back to bend over so many times for EVERY LITTLE THING. The exceptions are if there really is a genuine need to come out.

I also make a point of showing her all the interesting things there are to see and touch on our walks that you aren't able to do because the stroller can't get close enough. I say whistfully that "if only you weren't in a stroller, you could touch/see". Sneaky... At the begining I would have to do A LOT of distraction to waylay the tantrums before they start.
This doesn't really sound like GD to me....I can see where there is a prob with constant in and out, but is it that unreasonable for little legs to need a break from walking for a couple minutes?

You could get the kind of stroller that she can get in and out of independently which would help with your back issue. Then she could at least get out and look at things. Why would you even point things out to her if you aren't going to let her get out and see them? That seems a little bit mean IMHO...like you are teasing her almost...

I really can't understand how it is worth it to make an issue out of this. Soon enough they will be happy to walk the whole way without force or coercion. Let them be little!!
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#6 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 08:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LeighB View Post
what works for us is to make it a fun. I give lots of praise when he walks to places. We also do "I spy" on the way do he doesn't notice that we are walking.
Good idea!!!!
Distraction works wonders at this age.

Also, when you go the store will they let you leave the stroller up by the front? I know the stores here let people do that, and unless you have a Bugaboo or something then you shouldn't have to worry about it getting stolen...

I really do understand not wanting to pack a stroller around...esp through a store.

Is there any chance of getting a more lightweight stroller than what you have? Maybe then it wouldn't be as big of a deal.

We are car-less during the weekdays as well and I know how annoying it is to cart a bunch of stuff around...luckily we don't walk really long distances (awesome public transit) so ds (5) no longer needs a stroller an ds 2 (4.5 months) can still be worn...I am not looking forward to having to bring a stroller again in a year
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#7 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 09:55 PM
 
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We recently got one of those really cheap umbrella strollers. Its heavenly! Its so light and great for transit and fitting into stores. It doesn't have much room for groceries but I can fit one big cloth bag on the handles.
Ds does combinations of walking, running, pushing the stroller and sitting in it. I don't (usually) make him sit in it and I don't make him walk. I just ask which one he wants to do and leave lots of time to get where we are going. If we need to get somewhere in a hurry, I make a game of running or sometimes he gets forced into the stroller and there are tears, but they only usually last a couple seconds and I promise him that he can walk on the way home (if he was wanting to walk etc.)

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#8 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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I second the cheap umbrella stroller, or I would buy a bike chain for the big unmanageable stroller, that way you would not have to use it inside the stores but you could still feel secure that it will still be there when you get out.

I don't think it's unreasonable of you not to carry her all of the time, if it hurts your back you shouldn't strain to do it, it can lead to more serious back conditions.

I also don't think that two blocks is too far for a three year old to walk if they are well rested at the the time, but I'd always have a stroller as a backup.

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#9 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:08 PM
 
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I think it is reasonable that 3 year olds walk for a short period of time, 10-30 min. Seems like your walks are much longer. I would take the stroller and leave it outside the stores so you don't have to be bothered with it inside. Use a chain lock to tie it to a post, so people don't steal it. The other thing you can do is to carry her on your back for some time and when you get tired tell her nicely that your back is sore and you can't carry her right now for a short time or distance. After that you will carry her again. In other words, break up the carrying with walking and that will give both of you a break.
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#10 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by dubfam View Post
unless you have a Bugaboo or something then you shouldn't have to worry about it getting stolen...
This struck me as not very sympathetic. Some people don't have the money to replace a stroller, no matter it's cost.

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#11 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:25 PM
 
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I was going to suggest getting a light weight umbrella stroller too.

They're small enough to make it easy to move around in stores, easy to get in and out of, good place to rest tired legs, makes a nice cart for stuff when not in use by tired little legs (which seems to be the primary function of my stroller), plus during the times that you feel she could use a bit of a walk, it folds up and becomes a less attractive distraction from a walk with mom.

And I totally agree that finding fun games like i-spy, treasure hunt and bug watching make the walking more fun.

IMNSHO, if she's that passionate about not walking then give her more space and time to discover the joy of walking with mom. Your Dd does have little legs and they do tire easily, a block can be very big to an almost 3 year old, so give her the space to babied a bit. Heck, my almost 6 year old will climb into the stroller some time. I wish I could climb in the stroller sometimes! It's a fun, comfy, cozy place to catch a rest and watch the world go by. So yeah, you may be expecting a bit much in getting your Dd to walk more.
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#12 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:34 PM
 
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We have the opposite problem. I can't get dd to go in the stroller and she takes off. Anyway, she can walk about 3/4 mile before she gets tired, but can make it 1 mile before she starts laying on the ground, etc. But she still wont get in the stroller or be worn without protest. She is 30 months old. I really think it depends how much you expect her to walk. A lightweight umbrella stroller isnt a bad idea. They are light.
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#13 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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we use a maclaren umbrella and i find it really easy + useful, even all over the place in the country and in big cities. i can always fold it up + carry it. my first was like you've said, too...it isn't so easy to carry them sometimes. i try to pick my moments to encourage walking further, but i found that that really came at 3-4 even 5. my 7 year old can walk forever after we warm up to it. maybe try increasing her distances a bit each time? i also play different games to make the distance pass. our current favourite is to pretend to be a dog and run after a pretend ball and bring it back..my two year old goes a long way that way! we find stones to kick ahead, bring real balls to throw, or have snacks. cashews got us about 3 very long blocks one day, handed out one at a time (because she liked it that way). so i would say, don't worry about her sitting, she'll grow out of it, and provide fun opportunities to walk. the other thing is that with another child around, mine will run 5 times further, faster, and more joyfully...so you could plan to go longer distances with a friend. i don't know what yours is like, but mine will do amazing things if there is a good imaginary storyline to it! have fun with it and use the stroller. i will check to see if i can park mine somewhere in a store if necessary - but then i try not to shop with my kids!!
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#14 of 47 Old 04-21-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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I think she meant that the Bugaboo might be more likely to get stolen because its a 'Bugaboo', at least thats how I read it.

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#15 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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Widemouthedfrog, I despaired that ds would ever start walking. I carried him every day of my PG until dd was born when he was 2.5 yo. It was partly a health issue because his iron was low - it really seemed to affect walking in particular. Even after recovering from low iron, ds still never wanted to walk, but we never did the stroller thing. After dd was born, ds rode on the granny cart all the time - which was super easy to do transit with, and also encouraged easy on-off for when he did want to walk briefly. I also felt that riding on the granny cart was more of an active process than sitting in a stroller :. All of a sudden, sometime after ds turned 4 he started walking a *lot*! It was incredible - he was just ready. Now he doesn't complain except during long walks or when he is super tired. IMO, power struggles over walking at that age aren't worth it. I often did gentle nudging like, how about you ride on the granny cart once we get to the corner?
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I think it is reasonable that 3 year olds walk for a short period of time, 10-30 min.
I would not consider that a short period of time for a 3 yo .

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#16 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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My 2 1/2 yo DS walks the 1/2 mile with me to my mom's a few times a week. We stop and rest when he needs to. We have never used a stroller.
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#17 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 12:49 AM
 
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This doesn't really sound like GD to me....I can see where there is a prob with constant in and out, but is it that unreasonable for little legs to need a break from walking for a couple minutes?

You could get the kind of stroller that she can get in and out of independently which would help with your back issue. Then she could at least get out and look at things. Why would you even point things out to her if you aren't going to let her get out and see them? That seems a little bit mean IMHO...like you are teasing her almost...

I really can't understand how it is worth it to make an issue out of this. Soon enough they will be happy to walk the whole way without force or coercion. Let them be little!!
Thats why I said "whistfully". Its not really teasing in as much as its making her realize that there are things to see and experience that you can't really do from being in a stroller. When I point out interesting things to her and say that she can't really experience them from where she is, she usually wants out at which point I do let her out.

We do have a stroller that she can get in and out of. Its a Graco Metrolight, the most lightweight one I could find at the time which still had a decent basket. The problem is is that Dd wants the front bar up each time she gets in and out and because its child proofed it means I have to latch and unlatch each time which is a royal pain.

We're not up to getting another stroller either, even a cheap umbrella one because we don't have the space for it. As I see it the span of time that she would use an umbrella one would make it unpractical.

Just as an aside, I don't think a 3yo walking for 10-30mins is unreasonable. Dd's walks for that much and longer almost every day. More often than not "I" need to stop and so we'll go find a bench and perch for a bit.

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#18 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 01:11 AM
 
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Hugs, widemouthed. There are many things that cause me to have mommy tantrums - mostly when I'm being impatient...does this seem like it could be your mom-duaghter issue too? Is it possible that she could walk it, but she'll dawdle and drive you nutters? Or is it that she just won't and it is driving you nutters because you think she ought to be able to or ought to want to?

Dd1 is 3.5 and she rarely walks - partly because she dawdles and when we're walking, we're going somewhere, not just walking, and partly because she just doesn't seem interested. she's not aphysical child. It's hard for me to engage her in ball-kicking an dtree climbing and grass tumbling etc.

That said, just this week, she walked 4 blocks (UPHILL! In Nelson) all the way home. Now, it took 45 minutes. And we stopped to climb under/over/around hardscapes and playing hide and go seek on the trees along the way (sort of urging her forward, by hiding behind the next tree as we go) whatnot, but she did it. I can't even imgaine this happening one year ago.

Keep in mind, though, that we weren't really going somewhere...just putzing our way home. I find that me having to say, "C'mon, here we go, this way, almost there, just across the street, yes, nice flower, keep coming" etc is very stressful for both of us. Cut from the same cloth are we!

SO I think for some kids at almost 3, a 10-30 minute walk is nothin' (see: Wolfie ) But for others (Lydia)it'd be darn near impossible.

Could you try just moving a & walking around in the park/backyard and timing it to se ehow long she walks before becoming disinterested? That might ease your frustration a bit.

Hugs, though, sometimes they really irk our zen, don't they?

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#19 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 02:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Breeder View Post
This struck me as not very sympathetic. Some people don't have the money to replace a stroller, no matter it's cost.
I meant because people don't usually steal cheap strollers...

not sure how you could have misunderstood that...
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#20 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 03:40 AM
 
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We're not up to getting another stroller either, even a cheap umbrella one because we don't have the space for it. As I see it the span of time that she would use an umbrella one would make it unpractical.
Ellaine, I've seen your place, you do so have room!




Widemouthfrog,
I think it really depends on the kid. Ds loves to walk and will walk for 30 minutes minimum, but I also don't ever refuse if he says he needs to be carried or ride in the stroller.
I always bring the Ergo or stroller with me, on the off chance he gets tired. I can't imagine 'making' him walk further, he would probably start whining then that would turn to crying then it would be a complete meltdown. Its just not worth it imnsho

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#21 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 03:49 AM
 
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Thats why I said "whistfully". Its not really teasing in as much as its making her realize that there are things to see and experience that you can't really do from being in a stroller. When I point out interesting things to her and say that she can't really experience them from where she is, she usually wants out at which point I do let her out.

We do have a stroller that she can get in and out of. Its a Graco Metrolight, the most lightweight one I could find at the time which still had a decent basket. The problem is is that Dd wants the front bar up each time she gets in and out and because its child proofed it means I have to latch and unlatch each time which is a royal pain.

We're not up to getting another stroller either, even a cheap umbrella one because we don't have the space for it. As I see it the span of time that she would use an umbrella one would make it unpractical.

Just as an aside, I don't think a 3yo walking for 10-30mins is unreasonable. Dd's walks for that much and longer almost every day. More often than not "I" need to stop and so we'll go find a bench and perch for a bit.
That sound more reasonable. It came across differently in your previous post when you said that you don't allow her to get out of the stroller once she is in....
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#22 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 03:56 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ellp View Post
Hi Tricia,


My stroller rules are that once you're in, you're in. You don't come in and out because its a strain on my back to bend over so many times for EVERY LITTLE THING. The exceptions are if there really is a genuine need to come out.

I also make a point of showing her all the interesting things there are to see and touch on our walks that you aren't able to do because the stroller can't get close enough. I say whistfully that "if only you weren't in a stroller, you could touch/see". Sneaky... At the begining I would have to do A LOT of distraction to waylay the tantrums before they start.

Over time Emma's gotten used to going out and walking while her younger sister rides, or they take turns and Sarah will go on my back. Emma's realized though that life's much more fun when you can skip, twirl and run instead of being trapped in a stroller the entire time.
That's right...you did say this. You say that you don't let her out unless there is a "Genuine Need" (I would suppose you define the genuine needs)

And you didn't mention how you will let her out to look at things

from this post it really sounds like she is stuck in the stroller once she asks to sit in it...and then it sounds like she is being teased about what she is missing by being forced to remain in the stroller.

I am very relieved to learn that is not what you meant, because it sounded so mean

Sorry about that!
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#23 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 12:05 PM
 
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Haven't read all the posts yet, so sorry if this has been mentioned...but what about a wagon? She could get in and out of it on her own, and it's big enough to put stuff in...HTH
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#24 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the replies!

Yeah, misseks, I think that this is one of my "mommy issues." I walk to work and walk for a living (sometimes), so I am very, very big on walking.

I get the sense from most of the posts that I might be expecting a bit much.

Our walks vary. Sometimes they are 10-15 minutes, which she can walk easily IF she feels like it. Sometimes they are 30-45 minutes, and I would always bring backup for those because she does get tired. Especially since we live on a hill. I don't mind the dawdling at all, actually. But she's more of a sitter-and-looker than a walker-and-dawdler.

It's the 10-15 minute walks when she asks for a ride 1 minute into it that drive me a bit nuts. That and when she won't leave the stroller outside a busy mall and people give me evil looks when I almost run over old ladies. Then I give up on shopping because it's unmanageable.

I do distract her when we're walking ... or make up contests to see if we can run like a dog, or run to the corner where the bus is...but she is not easily fooled for more than a block. Too bad.

I like the idea of a wagon and had forgotten all about it until now. How easy are they to take up hills, though?

I think that I may get a cheap umbrella stroller. We often use the stroller for storage after library and shopping trips, but I think that the umbrella stroller and a backpack might do. And I love the fact that it folds easily for the bus. Our big jogging stroller is an ancient one and doesn't fold, though I love it to pieces.

Regarding getting in and out of things:

The in-and-out situation is not really an issue with our big stroller, because I now get her to do that herself. She likes doing that herself, anyway. When it IS an issue (which made me really annoyed this past weekend) is when she wants in and out of the Patapum on forest walks. It takes a while to get her in and out, and it's a muddy experience, and then she wants down again in a few minutes. I did let her know that if she asks to go "up" on a hike, that means that she is in the patapum until we get a few blocks from home. Or we can decide to go home right then, but that might take a while. Her choice.

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#25 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 01:42 PM
 
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My ds is 3.5 and wants to be in the stroller instead of walk much of the time. I do it if it's not going to make my life more difficult (and it's usually easier to use a stroller anyways). He generally wants to walk at least part of the way.

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We recently got one of those really cheap umbrella strollers. Its heavenly! Its so light and great for transit and fitting into stores. It doesn't have much room for groceries but I can fit one big cloth bag on the handles.
I 2nd or 4th that. lol.
It's nice to use in stores, and if you're grocery shopping there's sometimes a way to fit those baskets of the handles.
I use a backpack, but as a benefit, if ds decides to walk on the way home, the backpack goes in the stroller, and I don't have to carry it.

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#26 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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I'd also point out that she's not yet 3. She's 2 years 10 months. There's a huge difference between how far a 2 year 10 month old can walk and a 3 year 10 month old can walk!

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#27 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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I took DD, who just turned 3 on Weds on a hike this Sunday. It went pretty well. It was just about an hour, door to door. She walked about 75% of the time, and I carried her the rest. Our issue is that she likes to be carried, but this weekend I found that if I picked her up as requested, and carried her for a few moments, she would get right back down and walk most of the way. I guess she gets a little tuckered out and needs a quick break.

So, maybe it's a little developmental and will come in time. This is the first real hike we have gone on (we don't live in the city, and in our local town I prefer that she stays in the stroller so she doesn't run off).
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#28 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 06:25 PM
 
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Our place is tiny, 800 sq ft, we have room for an umbrella stroller! It's really just the size of an umbrella. And it was only $20. I think the wanting to be carried thing is pretty common at this age (based on the book "your three year old", my bible). Ds hiked uphill nonstop 30 minutes this weekend... but we still take the stroller on a ten minute walk to preschool each morning. Otherwise it would take 30 min easy. And I would just be too stressed out and I don't want to start each day all grumpy. I backpack it a lot too. It's working.

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#29 of 47 Old 04-22-2008, 07:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
Our issue is that she likes to be carried, but this weekend I found that if I picked her up as requested, and carried her for a few moments, she would get right back down and walk most of the way. I guess she gets a little tuckered out and needs a quick break.
Yep, I do this sometimes, and it does work pretty well. I do need to remind her that mommy also needs a break from carrying her, just like she needs a break from walking. So I will pick her up for a while and warn her when I am about ready to put her down again. Sometimes this works, sometimes not.

Ok, I'll post on Freecycle this afternoon for an umbrella stroller.

BTW, it wasn't me who didn't have room for the umbrella stroller - that was Ellaine. We just cleaned out our basement, so there is a lot of room down there.

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#30 of 47 Old 04-23-2008, 03:10 AM
 
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i dont think its unreasonable at all. its true, they do have little legs, but proprtionatly little bodies to carry on them. maybe if your kiddo isnt used to walking it may take a few weeks to build up the strength to make it too far, but i have lots of faith in the endurance and strength of children. my ds walks all over the place with rarely a complaint because that is how it has always been. he was carried for a long time but when i got pregnant that ended and when i was hauling groceries from the bus stop, there was no other choice. what happens in other cutlures that dont have strollers? yes, they carry for a long time but 3 year olds all over the world are walking long distances and even helping carry things over the distance! as adults we make it on long walks even when we are dead tired (i do it every day) and what harm come to us over it? sometimes life just requires kids to not get the ride all the time. as a single car less mama my son has really had to just do what we have to do, know what i mean? sounds like your dd is also at the stage of testing your limits (does this ever end?) and it might be an important time for you to let her know what has to happen for your life to function. im all for giving kiddos lots of credit and recognizing what that can do!

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