Quick monkeys, change of plan

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In the beginning there was cycling club…

Today is Saturday, and our usual routine is Cycling Club for the boys. Hubby was at work, so it was down to me to pack the car with bikes and monkeys. We are always late, so I was determined to make it on time. I finally started the engine 7 minutes earlier than usual. BM crying and TM and MM bikering about something. Not to worry, we would make it on time. As a flurry of snow began to fall, I made a quick check of the club’s Facebook page before setting off. Guess what? cancelled! Gutted. All packed up, wrapped up warm, nowhere to go. Or was there? It occurred to me that this was the opportunity I was waiting for. Maybe without the snow, but I needed to get out. Going back in for a morning of getting on each others nerves was not appealing. “To the park” I declared…

Up and running: well sort of…

The plan was loose, but we were no longer in a rush, so I thought I should take the time to set out what I intended. TM seemed keen and MM, with a bit of a cold, could be persuaded. BM needed feeding and hopefully would be persuaded into a nap. All was going well and soon we were out in the street, on bikes, cosy in the pushchair and with the running shoes on. I was determined. There was a break in the snow flurries and the sun was peeking out. It was one of those magical moments, when you set off on an expedition, head full of images of your perfectly behaved children, listening to your every instruction and turning around half way round the park to tell you how much they love you, as you stride along looking lithe and confident. Truth, be told this was already an unachievable dream as my extra baby weight coupled with the need to wear hubby’s running top left me resembling a fluorescent potato. But no matter. I still had high hopes for the monkeys.

Now, I have had enough experience now to know that despite your intended plan and however magical your dream, the monkeys will always surprise you with the sureal and unexpected. For example, once MM decided to pat a goose on the head during a routine trip to the park. The moment that the goose inevitably bit him, was the same moment that TM thought it would be fun to disappear. I was frantic for 10 minutes, running here and there shouting his name until he sprang from the bushes shouting “BOO”! What the flipping flip!!! Why do this to me? I love you both. Why would one risk losing a finger to an angry goose while the other feigns an abduction? Sometimes I swear they plan this stuff to test me.

Anyway, back to the tale. A gentle stroll to the park and a quick burst of jumping jacks to warm up. Instructions given to the monkeys. “Head to the duck pond, TM if you get too far ahead and you can’t see Mummy turn around and come back”. My magical dream seemed about to come true (apart from the potatoe thing of course). TM set off ahead, MM and I worked together at a comfortable jogging pace. It felt good. My body felt strong and capable. We could do this, with careful management of the monkeys, I could easily manage a lap of the park (1 full mile) at this pace. Once again I got ahead of myself…

Splash!!!

On the other side of the duck pond it all went a bit wrong. The thrill of riding through a large expanse of water on his bike became too much for TM and he headed for what looked like a wide but shallow puddle. His assumptions were wrong. It was not a puddle, it was a pot hole. It was as if he had been swallowed up. On realising his error, TM leapt for the shore, as a tidal wave of muddy water engulfed his batman bike. Wet to the ankle on one leg, with soaking wet gloves, the tears began. My first instinct was to give in and head for home. My spirit to complete one lap however, took over. I had chosen to bring BM in our old Maclaren XT Techno. A war horse of a pushchair. Quick as a flash I fished around in the back pockets to discover two pairs of forgotten gloves amongst old food wrappers, a dry wet wipe and a split packet of duck food from approximately 12 months ago. This helped and I promised that if we made good time, before he knew it we would be home and his foot would be dry. We set off again. Three minutes later we were forced to stop again whilst TM demanded to know why I had failed to bring along a spare pair of shoes. MM decided that he no longer wanted to ride his bike and that he would prefer to push BM’s pushchair and that I should carry his bike. My resolve faltered again. I took a deep breath, we had come so far already (mentally, not physically). We were finishing the lap whether they liked it or not! Therefore, negotiations began…

As a parent I have learned a number of lessons in good negotiations. It is important to remember that any counter arguement when dealing with the monkeys will not be logical. You have to think like a monkey if  you stand any chance of outwitting them. Luckily, I remembered I still had the cycling club snack bars in my pocket so I started with these. Together with a threat to leave him in the park forever, this begrudgingly won TM round. We were off again, TM taking a comfortable lead and MM, back on his bike, at my side. A minute of jogging passed, MM needed a nose wipe. Another minute passed, it needed wiping again. Repeat several times and you have the next fifteen minutes of the trip in a nutshell. Not much running took place for the remainder of our journey. Unless you count a sprint finish when TM looked as though he was about to cross the road without parental supervision.

So in conclusion…

…the whole expedition took about an hour to complete. It was not a consistent or average training session. TM had a wet foot for about half of the trip and MM now has a small red moustache from over wiping with a moist tissue/coat sleeve. However, I feel proud of myself. I can not think of our outing as a failure. Why not? Well because we went out. We saw an opportunity and we took it. Did we enjoy it? Overall I would say yes. My body felt different running today. It felt good and a glimpse into the freedom I was searching for. Maybe the ultimate goal is running alone, but for now I have these three monkeys and it’s a start. We adapted to every hurdle (however unexpected) and we thrived on the challenge. The other benefit was that on our return I had no guilt over setting them up with some screen time. They ate ham sandwiches and grapes with no complaint and I had time to tidy up. The only downside was that BM needed an immediate feed and there is nothing worse than trying to prise yourself out of a sweaty sports bar at short notice.

So the plan for the next week. Find an alone time run with only BM and the pushchair, keep walking at every opportunity and order a nursing sports bra (yes ladies such a thing exists). Finally however, I must remember, should I take the opportunity to venture out with them again in wet weather, pack spare shoes for the Top and Middle monkeys. Just in case…

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