Adventures with the Kids

Today, Debbie got a chance to go for a long trail run with a group of friends. My primary responsibility was to look after our kids, but I couldn’t sit still. It was unseasonably cold outside, but the sun was shining. Staying in the house would have been brutal, so we sought some adventure. Our son is four and a half and he is growing weary of the Chariot (jog stroller/trailer), but he still has fun when he joins us for a run or ride. Getting him to get in the Chariot is the hard part, but once moving, he is fine. So, I hatched a plan to take my son and daughter to Rein’s Deli in  Vernon, Connecticut. It is a favorite place to dine and Sunday mornings are always fun because the place is bustling.

From our house in Bolton, you can take the Hop River State Park Rail Trail within a 1/4 mile of Rein’s. The short bit off the trail should be done on sidewalks because Route 30 is a very busy road. I loaded up the Chariot CX-2 with kids and gear. The whole rig weighs nearly 85 pounds and gets heavier by the day. It isn’t the easiest thing to pull behind you. I rather dread it, but it is fun to share the adventure with the kids. Going uphill is awful. It is a 30 RPM/5 mile per hour slog and standing doesn’t do any good. Thankfully I only have to go uphill to access the trail and get off the trail.

The trail was in good condition though the midday sun thawed the frosty top layer and left it muddy and wet in spots. Rein’s was good as usual. The menu is massive so you can find anything you want from heart attack food to healthy food. Our little family unit stood out from the crowd at the restaurant. The parking lot was packed with cars. We were the only bike. I was the only person wearing bright orange Lycra. Our kids looked normal, but they still stood out from the other kids who were a bit unruly. I couldn’t help but notice that the couple next to us chose a hot dog and Shirley Temple for their 17-month old. It was 11:00 A.M.! I guess it didn’t matter to them. They were drinking soda too. Our son has started to notice how other kids behave and he has begun pointing out what they eat.

Our household is a bit different from the average one. We don’t have a television. We encourage outdoor play. Debbie and the kids are vegetarian and I am vegan. Rein’s has a lot of options, so it is hard to fathom a parent choosing a hot dog for their child on a Sunday morning. They were trying to appease him. I can’t hold back when I see this stuff, but I end up biting my tongue. People from all walks of life eat badly. It isn’t just the less fortunate who struggle to obtain good healthy food. They have unique challenges, but they can still overcome them with some effort. The family that I observed this morning didn’t seem lack resources. The mother was wearing a large dead animal that was made to look like a vest, and I know it wasn’t faux fur. She had a huge diamond ring that must have been at least four carats. It has nothing to do with resources. I don’t know these people, but they are like many others who are ignorant when it comes to nutrition. They end up making bad choices like drinking soda in the morning. Those bad choices have consequences.

We live in a society that relies on pills and procedures to cure our ills and people just don’t get it. It’s about what we eat and what we do with our bodies. If you choose to poison your body with stuff that doesn’t deserve to be called food, then you shouldn’t complain about your health when it declines. The suppliers of this stuff are to blame too. It isn’t just cheap food that is unhealthy. Anything or anyone that lacks movement eventually breaks. I think about this stuff when I share these adventures with our children. We want to set the right example. For them, normal is riding your bicycle 10 miles to a get brunch and then riding 10 miles back. The trip is made even better by the sight of beautiful streams, waterfalls, cliffs, ponds, and wildlife that you see on the journey. Debbie and I have learned a lot about healthy eating and exercise by studying it. We do it so that we can feel good and we do it to teach our children. Our approach has its delicious rewards and it isn’t hard.

1 Response to “Adventures with the Kids”

  1. 1 parmpadgett 9 April 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Great post, as usual, Scott! You guys need to get Shep on a tag-along and attach the Chariot to that for Delia…long rig, but at least Shep can help on the uphills!

    Interesting point about people eating/exercise choices. It comes down to education, access, and financial ability. This is something we’ve learned a lot about at school. Its complex, involving psychology, social networks, physiologic addiction, the “food” industry, government subsidies…the list goes on. The best any of us can do is educate with humility and lead by example…you guys are doing a great job of that! Thanks!

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