Going stroller-less


J is getting very close to being as old as S was when we first brought them home. Unlike biological parents, who know precisely the day (and time) that their children come into the world, our guys came to us with birthdays that were created for them by someone in the adoption/orphanage system, and were presumably the best guesses that the bureaucrat filling out the “birth certificate form” could come up with, possibly with the guidance and recollection of the uncle who brought them to the orphanage (since I’m terrible at remembering the birthdays of my own two nephews, I’m not too confident in how much the uncle would be able to tell anyone).
We were initially aware of the inaccuracy of their birth dates when we took them to a pediatrician at John Hopkins University, who specializes in international adoption health evaluations, told us that J, who was supposed to be 2-years-old at the time of the evaluation, couldn’t be older than 14 months, because his anterior fontanelle (soft spot on the skull) wasn’t closed yet. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really any good physical markers to use to “date” S, who was supposedly 3-1/2 then. And we now realize that he must have been at least a year older than that, and possibly more…
So, it’s hard to know exactly when J will or has reached the same actual age that S was at any given time.
But, from Day 1, S has happily walked the 1.7 miles from our home to our synagogue, which we do every Saturday, because we try to avoid using the car on Shabbat. In fact, he used to run most of the way. But J? He doesn’t like to walk – he wants the stroller. And we want to retire the stroller, and have him walk. And there lies a source of conflict.
Yesterday, we headed out on a lovely clear morning, and both boys were happily walking along. We got about a third of the way when J dug in his heels, stating that his knees were tired, and complaining “Why didn’t we bring the stroller?” As it happened, both Ron and I were scheduled to read from the Torah (bible) during the service, and so we were under a time-pressure to get there by a certain time. So, Dad lifted J onto his shoulders, and carried him most of the rest of the way. We did manage to convince him to walk the last 1/4 mile or so, and we praised his efforts enthusiastically, in the hopes of convincing him that he really can do this.
We got there on time (just barely), and it was a lovely service, followed by a more elaborate kiddush lunch than usual, because the community was celebrating Sept and Oct birthdays and anniversaries (which included S). Both boys were very excited about the cake, and J had two pieces (along with a lot of food – he’s been eating huge amounts, which has accompanied a visible spurt in his height).
I had volunteered to help clean up in the kitchen after the meal, and J opted to stay with me, while Dad walked home with S. J was surprisingly helpful with the clean-up duties, and then we headed out on our walk home. Without a stroller. And he’s too heavy now for me to comfortably carry him on my shoulders – I’ve learned from painful experience that my back will suffer for a week or longer if I carry him for any prolonged time).
Oh, the complaining! My knees hurt! My legs are tired! Why didn’t we bring the stroller?
And it took us a long time to get home. I don’t know exactly how long, as I don’t know when we left the synagogue, but we got home at 4pm. It was at least 1.5 hours, and possibly 2, to accomplish a walk that we can normally do easily in 30 minutes.
There were many pauses to sit and “rest”.
Many moments of noticing little things along the way.
A long interlude at the bridge over Rock Creek, when J decided that he need to throw all the leaves that were on the bridge into the running water – one by one. (I coaxed him to continue without completing that sysiphean task.)
We had a couple of small meltdowns, but we finally made it home. Near the end, he got interested in the symbols on the cars indicating their makes. It started with him recognizing the Chevrolet symbol, because of our new Chevy Volt.

And Toyota:

And Honda:

And Subaru:

A truly American boy needs to be able to recognize makes of cars, right?

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