Sunday, November 3, 2013

Coming to an Understanding with Maddie

Maddie walks a log.
I was sitting across the table from favorite grandgirl Madeline yesterday at lunch in the Roanoke City Market Building and mentioned that Leah and I were going hiking in a bit. "Can I go, Pampa," she asked, excited.

I had to think about it. The last three times I took her on exercise outings (a walk, bike ride and kayak trip), she gave out very early in the process and pretty much complained until I finally had to take her home.

I'm not patient with fussy children (or fussy adults, for that matter) and I didn't behave well with my disappointment. This little girl (she's 8) is such a delight when she is comfortable and happy, but she can be a trial when she's not.

So, we made a pinky promise: she wouldn't complain; she would finish the hike; we would take frequent breaks for water (her requirement). She kept her promise all the way up and all the way back, stopping frequently to walk the length of fallen tree trunks, asking questions constantly, skipping (I don't know what it is that makes little girls skip, but it's affecting) and making dried leaf noises.

When we got home, after dropping her off, I emptied the little red bag I'd given her to carry her water bottle. Leaves, tiny flowers, rocks, twigs, leaf beans and all manner of woods tumbled out. I laughed out loud.

Madeline was an absolute delight, proving yet again that the problem with her behavior often has more to do with me and the way I respond than with her.

Maddie and I walk on the windy crest of the ridge.

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