There is no shortage of little girls in our neighborhood. We are almost guaranteed a playmate or two between the hours of 3 and 7 on a school night. It's pretty great.
On this day, we'd finished up school, had our snacks, and the weather was perfect, so I talked the girls into taking the dog for a walk. His level of "puppy cuteness" had been pretty high that day and he needed some healthy outlet for that excess cuteness.
I sent the girls out just ahead of me to wait in the driveway while I collected my shoes and phone. We're talking less than a minute, folks. When I made my way out to join them, I discovered that our little walking party had grown from three young girls and one puppy to seven young girls and two puppies, and they were begging for us to pick up one more girl who has TWO dogs (sadly, she still had homework and couldn't come).
We have a fairly clear goal during our walks:
The walk should ideally last at least a tiny bit longer than the amount of time it took to get everyone ready, shoed, and out the door with snacks or helmets or whatever. There is a four-way stop which we try to wander towards, and the girls know they have to get close enough to actually touch the stop sign before they can head back (this was a learn by trial and error kind of rule. At first I said, we'll go till we see the 4-way stop, and they were taking full advantage of a straight street w/a stop sign clearly visible. 20 steps and they had met their goal and could turn back.).
Now, if you've spent any amount of time with little girls, you know they like to talk. A LOT. There was an awful lot of giggling and comparing of shoes and stopping to pick flowers, but I didn't mind a bit since everyone was happy, generally wandering in the right direction, and best of all, the puppy was getting his exercise.
Things were going great.
Now, again, if you have spent any amount of time with little girls, you'll know they like to talk. A LOT. Before I knew it, the giggling had turned to huffing and the comparing of shoes had turned to comparisons of who had been hogging the leash the longest.
The dogs were taking full advantage of the murmurings going on within the ranks.
This is how the 3-yr-old spent most of her turn walking the dog:
Happily, our little band continued down the street, ever closer to the promised land where they could touch the stop sign and begin the long journey back home. We eventually reached our destination and the victorious energy was contagious. There were high fives and little dances of joy (and a few yells of, "STOP! IT'S MY TURN TO WALK THE DOG!" which I ignored). We even took a couple pictures to commemorate our proud moment. We were like hikers at the top of Mt. Everest. Hey, seven kids and two dogs on any kind of successful walk is a proud moment for a parent. This is no small feat.
Check out the 3-yr-old's attitude pose. Scary.
The 6-yr-olds asked for their own picture without all the "bosses" in it.
The return trip is rarely as fun and exciting as the getting there trip. Whether by car, plane, train, or by foot, the rule is the same. Everyone will be tired, travel weary, and in general completely over it.
The dogs were over it, too. So over it, in fact, that our sweet puppy finally had had enough of being slowed down so much by miniature dog walkers. He rebelled and heaved with all his might on the leash.
This was the result:
The 6-yr-old was dragged into the mud and quite unhappy about it. The first tears of our wander expedition were now unleashed.
Tears would be shed later by the dog (kidding, all you PITA people).
And so, one by one we dropped off our extra guests and made our way home. We had done it. Conquered the stop sign journey once again.
I made a mental note to drive slowly down the street and let the dog walk next to us.