recently, raven and i were home for the evening together, and she was playing around the living room w/ her million or so toys. she was a little restless and getting a little maggoty, so i decided that we should go out in the yard and play kickball. it was one of those beautiful days here where the weather was cool, but unseasonably warm for us. probably in the mid-60s, sun shining, just a slight breeze blowing. the perfect day to start playing outside.
i scooped up raven, her jacket, and her winnie the pooh kickball and out we went. as soon as we were on the porch, raven ran back toward yelling "baby, baby!". i opened the door and she got her water baby, which weighs about 10 pounds b/c it's filled w/ water to make it feel more life-like. the problem is, it's hard for a 20 pound child to carry a 10+ pound doll. she grunts and groans and roughly handles the baby b/c her movements are awkward w/ the weight. anyway, we had BABY now, so we could go out to play.
what i thought was going to be a little running around in the yard chasing a ball quickly turned into a brisk walk, as raven took off down the drive way at a pretty fast clip. she had baby on her shoulder, held in place by one arm, swinging the other arm as she walked. we walked to the end of the drive and she turned to the west and started down the gravel road. we don't have much traffic, so walking in the road is not a problem as long as an adult is along. at first i thought she would walk a little ways but then quickly lose interest in that activity. well, i was wrong. she kept right on walking, switching baby from one shoulder to the other shoulder while groaning with exertion. she was walking quickly for those little baby legs, but more of a meander for me.
i thought we would probably walk to the west end of the yard, which was quite a walk for her little legs, but she kept on going. we ended up walking about 1/8 mile down the road. i didn't measure it, but it was 3 telephone poles distance from the yard. i didn't want to get too far from the house, as i didn't want to pack the extra 20 pounds back to the house on my hip. well, 30 pounds if i count the baby doll as well! so i was making her turn back before her walk was over -- or before she was done walking.
once we were headed back for the house, she was not very anxious to keep walking. she didn't want held or carried, she wanted to keep walking away from the house and to the west. but since she wasn't allowed to do that, then the next best thing was to stall. she wandered from one side of the road to the other, picked up rocks to smell, picked up gravel to throw, laid the baby down in the road, tried to feed the baby some gravel, moo-ed at the cattle that she could hear mooing, picked up the baby, gradually moved up the road a bit to repeat all the above steps. she picked weeds and grass, brought me "pwit-tee" rocks to hold, held rocks up for the baby to smell, and chattered the whole time. she waved at the 2 trucks that went by, and blew kisses when the people waved back to her.
we finally got back to the lane just as the sun was setting. it was dusk, but raven was not interested in going in the house at all. we were in the lane, and she wanted to play kickball now. well, her own version of kickball, at least. she wanted to kick the ball down the slope on the edge of the lane so she could run down the hill to get it. then carry it back up the 3 feet to the lane and kick it again. this went on for quite some time. we gradually moved toward the house, but when raven saw me heading for the porch -- she took off running for the road yelling "walk! walk! walk!" i finally had to pick her up and take her in the house, crying because our walk was over. for the rest of the evening, she would go to the kitchen door, knock w/ her tiny fist, and say "outside! outside! pease!!" as i look back at our time outside, i'm amazed that she needed no toys to play w/ on our walk outside -- she was just happy meandering around and enjoying nature and the freedom of the outdoors.