Slow Down, Breathe, And Follow Your Child’s Lead

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“The air outside feels slightly chilly as I usher everyone out of our house and into nature to begin our daily walk to the bus stop.

We pace over the red dirt and begin our journey along the footpath when one of my 3-year-olds suddenly freezes with outstretched arms, motioning for everyone else to come to a halt too. Myself and the two remaining children gently tiptoe closer, eyes darting around to figure out what we are silently searching for.

‘Shh, it’s a kangaroo!’ she finally whispers to us, pointing out to the open area where two kangaroos are enjoying their breakfast. Careful not to scare them off, we all slowly crouch to the ground where the kids skillfully squat with powerful thighs. I bend down with them, my knees booming out thunderous cracks with each centimeter I get closer to the ground. 1, 2, 3. My jelly thighs can take this no more, so I lower myself into the fetal position and wait while the kids get their kangaroo fix.

Mom snaps a photo of a kangaroo in red dirt during a nature walk with her kids
Courtesy of Katie Bowman

The hungry buggers don’t appear to be finishing their breakfast anytime soon, so I begin my ushering duties again and insist we continue to the bus stop so my big school kid doesn’t miss the bus.

The world is testing us though, because our next obstacle is taunting us just ahead: the sandpit swing set.

Cautious of the other houses where people may still be sleeping, I use my best ‘whisper yell’ to shout out there isn’t time for a play. Success. The pouting faces continue past, occasionally gazing longingly at their missed opportunity.

Waving my eldest off on the bus, we begin our journey back home. Two 3-year-olds begin bounding and leaping over the cracks in the path – because you step on a crack, you break your back.

‘LEAP!’ one of them yells as she projects herself forward in a glorious jump. Running, giggling, and STOP! Something has caught their eye down on the ground. A worm.

Mom snaps photo of her twins crouched down on the ground, watching a worm
Courtesy of Katie Bowman

Squatting their thighs back into the resting position of power squat, they stare at the worm as it slowly slithers across the path. I tried to continue the walk home, but YOU SHALL NOT PASS.

‘NO! We want to watch the worm go home!’ one of them wails up at me. So, once again, my knees release a booming crack as I bend down to their level, ready to watch the worm slither and slide across the path. Worm speed, it’s slow. I could have done 20 laps around the sun by now, but this was important to them.

So, I squatted there with my jelly thighs as we questioned aloud where the worm was going. Where was his home? Where are his eyes, his nose, and his bottom (*insert eye roll as they joke to each about the worms poo’s and farts*) and talking about all of the things this worm was inspiring their imaginations to think about.

Because I guess that’s what happens when you slow down and let them lead the way. Their imaginations run wild with new opportunities and conjure up different thoughts and views.

Mom captures her twin three-year-olds riding scooters on a sidewalk with helmets on
Courtesy of Katie Bowman

I can see all the wheels turning in their heads, the excitement of not knowing what will happen next, the gleam in their eyes as new experiences unfold before them, the joy and mystery in their smiles as one thing after another unravels and leads them on to the next exciting adventure. It’s refreshing.

I need to remember to stop, breathe, and follow their lead when time permits more often. It’s a whole new world of delightful experiences.”

Mom takes a selfie in a sun hat during her nature walk with her children
Courtesy of Katie Bowman

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Katie Bowman of Living My Family Life. Purchase Katie’s book hereSubmit your own story here.

Read more from Katie here:

‘You’ll never get them away if you keep them so close.’ Babywearing my 9-week-old twins at the store, the lady working there shook her head. 9 WEEKS.’: Mom urges ‘my kids aren’t spoiled, they’re loved’

‘HEELLLLPPPP!!! I STUCK!!!’ Stepping out of the shower, I heard a hysterical call for help from my toddler.’: Woman hilariously ‘saves’ daughter, ‘The things we do for our kids’

‘You shouldn’t have been drinking chocolate milk while doing homework!’ she said in a really harsh tone. I couldn’t bring myself to tell the truth.’: Mom urges ‘give kids a chance to explain’

‘How the heck am I going to have TWO babies? How will I afford them? When will I sleep? What will I do?’: Twin mom reminds us ‘you can, and you will’

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