Conversations with a toddler in a backpack carrier

The Kid has been joining Barney and I for our evening walks a lot lately. Once the weather broke, and I was convinced she would stop trying to climb out of her backpack carrier in the middle of our walk, adding her to our nightly routine has been amusing.

Our walk Monday night was a great example. Sunday was the first time she poo-poo'd in her Big Girl Potty, and she was still excited by her accomplishment the next night. She was so excited, she went down the list of her friends from daycare and told me if they pee-pee'd and/or poo-poo'd by themselves.

That conversation got us to the crosswalk, where she pushed the button so the cars would stop and we would walk across the seven lanes of Jefferson Ave. She doesn't yell at the cars to stop anymore, but she still waves as we walk by and yells, "Thank you car!" to every car we pass.

Once we cross the street, Barney usually has to relieve himself, which fascinates The Kid. She always begs to see his poo-poo, and she is always indignant when I refuse. Monday she consoled herself by lecturing the dog.

"No eat grass Barney and no eat poo-poo or pee-pee," she admonished.

"That's good life advise in general baby," I replied.

"Okay Papa. Barney, no eat grass and no eat poo-poo," she repeated. This went on for at least four blocks. I think the dog had tuned us both out by then.

Next, she begs to get down and play in the grass. I feel for her on this one, she loves playing outside at daycare but we live on the 17th floor with no yard, so she doesn't get to play on the grass at home. Still, I don't think people in the neighborhood would appreciate me letting The Kid tear through their yard while I'm trying to walk Barney. She's always a little sad by this, until she remembers that dirt is yucky and there is always dirt under the grass.

That's usually when the singing begins. Lately we've been singing The Wheels on the Bus a lot, but we always start with, "The people on the bus go up and down, up and down, up and down." I am not allowed to sing the "Up and Down" part, but I can sing the rest and I am scolded if I start anywhere else. For her, the best part of the song is doing the associated motions to the song, including jumping up and down to the best of her ability in the packpack (backpack).

All is forgiven when she gets to The Daddy on the bus several blocks later, because she sings, "The Daddy on the bus says, 'I love you, I love you, I love you,'" and starts rubbing my pikey (spikey) hair.

By then, we had about another 20 minutes to go until home, which was mostly spent trying to keep her from falling asleep. This means I resort to kickling (tickling) her whenever I feel her little head resting on the bar just below my head. It almost always elicits a, "NO KICKLE ME PAPA!" then an, "again Papa!"

And when I wasn't kickling her, she was asking me why we weren't home yet. By then, I'm pretty sure Barney was wondering the same thing.

When we finally made it back to our apartment, and I took the packpack off my shoulders, she wanted kisses. So I curled her like I was lifting a barbell and I got the biggest, wettest, most fervent kiss you could image after she pretended she didn't want a kiss.

Most of our walks are like this. Sometimes they are sprinkled with a few more songs or a lot of why questions. Each walk has a new word, a different observation, something to make me laugh or something I can't wait to come home and share with Gladys.

With each day, I know my little girl is growing and soon, she won't be able to fit into the packpack and we will have to find a new way for my walking buddy to stroll with Barney and I. Until then, I'll be enjoying the chatter from just behind my head.

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