Every Tuesday, I tell you how WE do something and then you tell me how YOU do it or how to make it better…
So I know this not may sound like a very glamorous topic. Who am I kidding, NOTHING about parenting is glamorous. But when the idea occurred to me, I realized that, for the last decade, getting my crew from Point A to Point B has been the source of much consternation.
Often times, the logistics of such an accomplishment left me sitting in my car, scratching my chin and humming. So… here’s how we’ve done it and how we do it now:
Back when it was just the twins, my double stroller was my friend. If you’re a twin mom, you know the big debate over side-by-side or front/back strollers. I picked this one and never regretted it for an instant.
Then we had Adam. Suddenly I had three kids under two. I cried a lot.
Usually, I put the twins in the stroller and wore Adam in my Ergo. But if I couldn’t use a stroller, I did have a little strap that I wore around my waist that had two little harnesses (shhhh, don’t tell anybody) and I could wear Sam and Ian close. I know those things are considered taboo in some circles, but my hands were, quite literally, tied. I usually used it as back-up for practicing holding Mommy’s hand. I had them tethered to me so I knew they were safe but I would hold their hands (wearing Adam) and we’d move achingly slow across a parking lot while they learned to stay close by.
Then I had Ellen. Four kids two and under. I never left the house….
No, I’m kidding. I left once a week: to go to the grocery store. I’d pull up right next to the shopping carts, pick out the special cart that held four kids, load them all from the van to the cart, and stroll across the parking lot. This was the closest I came to regular exercise.
Oh, and we did have a quad stroller for a few years. It was huge and bulky and heavy and oh, HUGE, but it worked.
Fast forward a few years and a few kids, here’s our solution now – We Duck Up.
I don’t remember exactly how it started, but I lined them up somehow and told them they were ducks. I said they could quack softly but that ducks stay in a line and they never stop following the duck in front of them.
My kids totally fell for this.
So now, we unload from the van and announce: Duck Up!!
They don’t have an order they have to be in, we’re not the Von Trapp family or anything. Andrew gets in front of the line (usually carrying Finn) and I bring up the rear to make sure the rules of the Duck Line are strictly observed.
If I’m leading the Ducks and Andrew isn’t with us, I assign a twin to run the back of the line or to lead the troops, whichever I feel more comfortable doing. It’s often easier to let them lead if we’re inside a building and not facing ongoing traffic. If we’re just crossing one big street, I’ll stand at the front with the big boy and we’ll talk about what to look for and when it’s safe to go. Once we’ve both decided we can move, I send him on to lead the troops and wait until the last little body is safely across before I bring up the rear.
It’s hard not to attract attention this way, but we attract attention regardless. It was a lot more stressful when there were lots of little hand grabbing at us or trying to pair them up with a buddy and hope that they minded their buddy or didn’t pull their buddy into the street. This way we can survey the situation and determine how safe it will be for us to proceed. And the likelihood of somebody getting yanked into traffic goes way down if we don’t let them touch each other.
If somebody does step out of line, I can call it out from behind or I can just tell everybody to stop. After the initial pile up, we address the issue and move on.
We smile big and the Littles quack and we make it happen. Just like I’m sure you do…
So tell me how you make it happen with your people? Are you sunk without a stroller? A fan of wearing them all over your body? (This would be my preference if I could.) Tell me how YOU do….