We drove down to Manuel Antonio National Park for a little hike and some swimming this morning. It’s a couple hour drive and you slept the whole way. When we arrived there was a tour group ready to depart and they said we could join them, so we quickly gathered everything we needed (amazingly not forgetting anything for the hike or swim or you) so we could go with them. It’s fun to do a guided hike here because the guides have binoculars and are very knowledgeable about the rain forest and the animals, and can point out animals that you would never spot alone. However, the group moves at a really really slow pace….like walks maybe 10-15 feet then stops for a few minutes to look around and talk. We had you in the Baby Bjorn and you did great for the first 30 minutes. But you soon grew antsy and fussy. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that you went straight from a two-hour car ride to the Baby Bjorn, and never got to get down and move around on your own.
So we took you out and held your hand and walked with you some, or switched off carrying you. And this kept you mostly content for a while. But it was hard because you weren’t able to see virtually any of the animals he was pointing out (except we think you saw a deer and maybe a monkey) and so you were just a little bored, too. And you wanted to crawl on the ground and eat dirt and rocks and explore. You got so dirty once we let you be on the ground, but you had lots of fun examining everything down there.
You persisted with not being fully content, so I then thought maybe you were hungry. That posed a challenge since we were hiking with a group and in the middle of the rainforest, so I did something I’ve never done – nursed you while walking (with a group of strangers, in a rainforest, in Costa Rica). It worked out fine, and was a good arm workout.
But the hike kept progressing at a glacial pace and you were just over it. We’d seen a few sloths (which are my favorite and which were all I really cared about seeing) and your dad and I remembered from last time that we were nearing the end. So we said thank you to the guide and left the group to head to the beach. You and I changed into our bathing suits and headed to the ocean. Your dad stayed behind to watch our stuff and take pictures. I carried you to the edge of the water and put you down. You stayed standing and just watched the little waves come in, and when one finally reached us, you giggled as it passed over our feet. It was a picture-perfect reaction (wish we had it on video). You just stood there happily for a few minutes watching and feeling the waves come and go and the sand slowly bury your feet. I can’t imagine what an experience it must have been for you to experience all of that for the first time.
Then you started playing with the sand. You sat down and picked it up, tried to eat it, rubbed your face and hair and got sand everywhere. Then you walked a bit. All the while you were so happy.
Finally I decided I’d take us fully in, and I picked you up and off we went. I was curious to see what you’d do when you got the inevitable taste of saltwater, but you didn’t react at all. You were happy swimming and floating around with me. This was the perfect beach as it was really calm and the water was very warm. I tried to get as much sand as I could off of you, but it was then that I realized how hard it is to get sand off of a baby. We headed back to the beach, packed up, and hiked back to the car. I bought a coconut on the way back and offered you some, but you weren’t interested. You were exhausted and slept the whole way back to the hotel.