"Are we going somewhere?" they all wanted to know. "Yes," I responded. "We're going to the trail." Suddenly, all looks of hope and excitement turned into disgust and despair. You would have thought I told them we were going to clean out the sewer lines by hand or something. But I wanted to go and exercise, and I knew they needed to get out of the house before they either killed each other, or I killed them all. I told them I was taking them on an easy trail. And it really is easy too. The Lagoon Trail is a 1 mile (each way) paved trail, set mostly in the shade. It is great for walkers, runners, cyclists, and equestrians. It runs behind the local amusement park and there are elk and buffalo along the way too. It's really pretty.
I knew the youngest two wouldn't be able to keep up on foot. So, we loaded their bikes into the back of the van. The oldest doesn't have a bike as it was stolen last summer. I didn't want him to be bored, walking along side of me, so I agreed he could invite some of his friends. Plans were set in motion and we were off.
The oldest seemed to be excited, since his friends were coming. And the youngest loves exercise, so she was okay with it. However, the middle one, LittleDuckling, well, he still did not think this was a good idea. A lot of it probably has to do with his ADHD... if he can't see the end from the beginning, he assumes it is gonna be hard. So me telling him that it was a "short 2-mile bike ride" meant absolutely nothing. I might as well have said, "it'll be 20 miles of hard, labor-intensive pedaling". Anyone who has a kid with ADHD knows that they have a different frustration level and things always seem harder than they really are.
Thus, the entire way there I heard the moaning, the groaning, the grunting, and complaining. We park at the trail head. The older boys take off with the pooch while I unload the bikes for the little ones. LittleDuckling starts in with the whining. I had had it. Teeth clenched, finger pointing, my voice low and firm, I said, "Look here, young man. You will NOT ruin this day for me. We are here to have fun. So you are going to put your helmet on, you are gonna get on that bike, you are gonna ride the trail, you are gonna stop complaining, and you are gonna have fun! Do you hear me?" LittleDuckling nodded his head in acknowledgement and begrudgingly put his helmet on. I stuck my earphones in and tuned in to my "workout playlist". PrettyPrettyPrincess took off to ride in the wind.
Halfway through the first mile, there is a little cul de sac and a road we must cross to get to the next half. Since we are ahead of the older boys, I tell the two younger ones to ride their bikes in the cul de sac while we wait. LittleDuckling had other ideas.
I had them pose for a pic before starting the next section of the trail. LittleDuckling tells me he IS smiling. What do I care? I think... and just snap the picture.
We continue the rest of the trail in peace and tranquility, amazingly enough.