Babygirl is in the foreground…see Babyboy in the background? he’s wearing red.

Today was August hot but September breezy, and since it was my one weekday with the kids, and school starts next week, and Hubby’s on the road, I was determined to get outside. 

But they wanted to play Legos in the living room. My enthusiastic suggestion to “get some fresh air” and “move around” (with hand claps for emphasis) was met with the clicking of Legos, their complex game scenario uninterrupted. Something to do with spaceships, farm animals, and mermaids. 

Oh ho ho no, I thought. We will not stay inside on a gorgeous perfect sensational hiking day like this. 

But kids are tricky. Ordering and forcing them to do something may get them to do it, but they’ll hate it (and you). 

Luckily, I’m familiar with these two and I know what motivates them:

Food. 

I got down next to Babygirl and whispered in her ear: 

“What do you think about having a picnic? In a castle, on top of a mountain? Wouldn’t that be so cool?”

She looked up from her play, intrigued. “Yeah mommy, that does sound cool!”

“And you can pick what you want to eat, and we’ll pack it in a backpack, and I’ll carry it, okay?” I said, smiling and nodding and hoping this would work. 

“Ok mom! I’ll go do that now!” And she ran off to the kitchen, where I could hear her rummaging through the pantry for every cookie and cracker item we have. 

Babyboy is harder, because he’s actually sort of lazy, and it takes more by way of bribery to get him up a mountain nowadays. 

“Honey, you know there’s a little snack store at the top of the mountain,” I whispered. “If you hike up, I’ll let you pick any snack you like. How’s that sound?” And there is a little shop in the weather observatory at the top of Blue Hills, and it is stocked with just the sort of desireable snacky stuff that we don’t have at home. 

It worked. “Yes that sounds good let’s go!” And he was up. 

Of course then he saw Babygirl packing cheddar bunnies and oatmeal cookies and raisins and applesauce, and he insisted on bringing macaroni and cheese, so I had to make it. And Babygirl wanted to bring her backpack, but though we looked everywhere, we couldn’t find it, so we had to bring Babyboy’s. 

With some delay, we made it out the door and to the Blue Hills Reservation. 

Both kids powered themselves up and down the mountain without excessive whining nor requiring carrying, which was great. (It’s only 0.9 miles up, but it’s pretty steep, and I’ve wrenched my lower back carting Babygirl up and down in the past.)  

We spent a long time in the snack shop, where Babyboy settled on a packaged Rice Krispy treat, and a very kind ranger refilled our water bottles with ice and spring water. We then sat at a picnic table in the old stone observation tower, and as Babyboy commented, “we have a real feast here!” 

We were out and about the reservation for almost three hours, and even though they took in a fair amount of carbohydrate calories, I was pleased. It was worth the creative effort and the junk food to have such a lovely outdoor afternoon.