Saturday, July 23, 2022

Zoe's First Camping Trip

"Tet, tet!" said Zoe, as we watched Daddy pitch the tent. "Mooooon!" she sang over and over, after we pointed out the moon in the early morning sky.  She'd seen the moon in books, but never in real life.  "Cowd!" she exclaimed unprompted, as fluffy white clouds far bigger than the ones we see at home rolled over our heads.  "Ma-ma!" she announced, when we lifted her to see the mountains.  "Tic! Tic!" she chirped, as she squatted to pick up the sticks all over the ground.  "Ba-ba!" was her declaration, when she found a particularly smooth, thick stick that looked exactly like a banana in her eyes.  "Cone-cone," she echoed me as I pointed out the pinecones.  "Cone-cone! Cone-cone!" she squealed, as she pointed out more and more.  Then, she toddled away, tripping here and there before squatting down to inspect something new.  

I remember our first time camping together as a couple (long before Zoe was born) and how fun and carefree that experience was.  It was simple, no-frills, and laidback.  No Internet, no electricity, no worries.  Over the years, we added more complexity as we started backcountry camping, doing multi-day backpacking trips in the Sierras, and squeezing in trips on a whim at campgrounds close by.  Ever since I became pregnant, we were looking forward to the opportunity to take our child camping, too.  Of course we had no idea how crazy life with a baby was going to be, but now that it's been almost a year and a half, it's definitely gotten easier and more manageable.  Still, camping just has to be done differently with a one-year-old around and our schedule still mostly revolved around her.  Zoe's comfort was the number one priority, though I'm sure that we all benefited from our grand 6-person tent, plushy mattresses, and a midday snooze.  In addition to a truckload of diapers and basically her entire wardrobe, we brought a few of her favorite plushies and books to help her acclimate to being in the tent.  Fortunately, she was very happy to walk in circles all over the tent and crawl like crazy on Mommy and Daddy's king-sized mattress!  She commandeered the folding loveseat, surprising us with how easily she was able go get in and out of it by climbing up and down by herself.  In fact, she pretty much commandeered the entire campground (which was just a small cluster of eight campsites) by making it known that she was awake and ready to go at the crack of dawn.  

It was fun to see her learn her way around the campground and she was always very observant and careful, though curious and talkative too.  I love how obviously her personality is developing--it's so cool to see what her tendencies are, and what she focuses her attention on.  Watching her develop from her newest newborn days until now has been so cool... she still does not cease to amaze us with what she can do.  Last year, we were enthralled by the speed at which she was picking up the most basic abilities--scanning, reaching, sitting, eating, babbling.  Now, it's her play skills and her communication.  Her memory is so good and she seems to know exactly what we are talking about most of the time.  It's really interesting to watch her do her thing--she has plans and schemas, and when something unexpected happens, she keeps trying and makes adaptations naturally.  At camp, she was always able to find fun things for herself to do without wandering off too far--basically, all we had to do was to make sure that she wasn't walking herself into the campfire!  We try our best not to interrupt her busy little brain or intervene when she is experimenting.  It's so awesome that children just have this innate drive to have fun and to keep learning nonstop.  Their minds are so open at this young age.  I think that during this little trip to the outdoors, she surely learned a lot.  Also, she is definitely walking faster and smoother at home after having to deal with uneven terrain for two days!  Just in the week leading up to this trip, she had started to choose walking over crawling, so the timing was actually perfect for her to hike on her own while we were on a very short section of the Pacific Crest Trail!

We are glad that Zoe seemed to have a good time camping this time and are already planning the next two trips.  While we were watching the sunset after Zoe went to sleep in the tent, I couldn't help but get emotional.  Her unchanged innocence contrasted with the amount of growth that she has made in the short amount of time in which we've known her is such a deep honor to behold.  I said, "I don't want her to go away," while tearing up.  Wes said that Zoe will never leave, but we will continue to get updated versions of her as the days go by.  But in my mother's heart, I know that one day she will physically be distanced from her home and we won't get to see her every development close-up anymore.  Ironically, later that week we received notice that there was space for Zoe at the daycare/preschool where we were waitlisted.  We decided to accept the offer, so that separation between Zoe's life and our lives will start sooner than I expected.  I'm sure that I would never have been ready though, even though it's something that I've anticipated since the day she came into this world.  At the same time, I am very excited for her to go, try new things, and be a part of her own community.  She's definitely going to soak up so much, like she did during this trip, like she does during play dates, like she does at the park.  We are just going to focus on staying present and enjoying this precious time of having her all to ourselves for the next two weeks, then send her off with a bang!

1 comment:

  1. 這篇寫得生動細微,平凡之中充滿了關愛, 我很喜歡。
    我還用上面的一幀照片換了我手機的 home screen 😄