Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Down by the River

Steve called me late yesterday afternoon to tell me that he had to work late. That's fine, but it meant I wouldn't be able to get in a run, since it was also my night to recap American Idol. Again, that'd be okay, except that I know I won't be able to run today either, since he's got another work thing. And that trisko is looming closer, you guys.

Then, I decided to make it work. I wouldn't be able to do my scheduled five miles, but if I kept things interesting for Jack, maybe I could do three. And to make things as interesting as possible, I decided we should go to the bike and running path down by the Mississippi River.

This little outing took considerably more work with the Cub involved. For one thing, I had to figure out how to cram the jogging stroller into my car, ultimately shoving it onto the passenger seat. And I had to pack snacks. Then Jack wanted to learn how to make Gatorade - "Some for you, and some for me, too, because I'm going to run too, Mommy."

The second I parked my car, Jack pulled off a classic kid move: "Mommy, is there a potty here?" The answer to that question was either "No" or "Yeah, see that rock over there?" And thus, I became the one to teach my son how to pee outdoors. I always thought his dad would take him through that rite of passage, but I was desperate.

I finally got him in the jogger, only to have him immediately dump 3/4 of his goldfish crackers on the ground. Jack and I established that there is no Five Second Rule outside when he saw a partially eaten container of McDonald's french fries lying in a parking lot and was intrigued by them. We do not eat food off of the dirt - not even french fries or shrimp cocktail.

At last, we were off. Jack had a fine time looking at ducks, waving at babies, and checking out the dogs. I actually managed to get in about 2-3/4 miles before he asked me if he could run, too. He'd been more than patient, so I unstrapped him, and we took off.

Running a quarter of a mile is probably very much like running a 10 miler if you have little short legs like he does. But Jack really kept at it. Every once in a while, he'd stop to walk, and I'd ask him if he wanted to ride in the stroller for just a little while. Every time, he responded by saying, "I want to run" and taking off once more.

There is no doubt in my mind: the kid is a future distance runner. I think he's in for quite the dilemna the fall of his freshman year in high school when he has to decide between Daddy's sport of soccer and Mommy's sport of cross country. I'd be willing to bet money that he'll wind up a cross country runner. He likes playing soccer, but I've never heard him laughing with glee the way he does when he's running.

After our run, we stopped for Gatorade - me in my green water bottle, Jack in his Thomas the Tank Engine sippy cup. We discovered that the geese that live by the river are a bold and frightening lot. My friend Felicia writes on her blog Life Aboard Mazurka about a pair of geese that pretty effectively terrorize her boat home. She calls them the Cheneys, which made me instantly think of this goose as Condi.

Jack and I stood on one side of a park bench, with his sippy cup on it, and Condi was on the other. She marched right up to us hissing. It is really weird to see a bird hiss, and at first, Jack thought it was funny to see a bird sticking its tongue out. But Condi got awfully close to us, and since she and Jack are roughly the same size, he started to feel intimidated. "Mommy, I don't want that goose to lick my cup," he said, "Will you please pick it up?" I had to admit that I was scared of the goose too and was nervous about picking the cup up. Then, Jack, Roary, and I tried to scare Condi away by roaring at her. We sounded ferocious, but Condi was nonplussed. She backed up slightly, so I swooped in and rescued the sippy cup. Jack and I then retreated.

It was a really fun night. What had looked like an evening of me being slightly resentful at not getting a run in turned into an adventure.


K said...

Impressive outing, Mama Wasser. Well done. As for peeing outside, to make things interesting for Andy, I let him pee in the grass. Outside the house. Sometimes standing on something to be taller.

I did at least warn my neighbors about it so they won't be totally shocked to see a half naked three year old urinating in the backyard. As they are parents and grandparents themselves, they were very supportive.

Jon Quixote said...

You have one readable blog, Missus Wasser.

Meg said...

Great story! Geese scare me too. I've changed my route while running a couple times to avoid them!

thebets said...

Wow...I've never heard of attacking geese. You and Jack are very brave : ).

Kent said...

Here I thought there was going to be at least one reference to a "living in a van" given the title...

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Ohhh great idea taking the cub along on an outing. I have given up on that one, just gave the jogger away. Definitely gotta watch those geese, they are a nasty lot.

Nibbles said...

His comment re: the goosee encounter is so cute and polite. "Will you please pick my cup up?" So adorable and uber-polite.