I have never felt conflicted about going on a vacation before. I am a count-down-the-days, anxiously anticipating, never-quite-seen-enough-of-the-world kind of traveler. But this trip is different; this is a first. This is the first time we’re leaving you behind while we go on a vacation. It’s our tenth wedding anniversary, and we felt like this occasion was worthy of a big trip! Way back in May we decided to take a few-day adventure to Belize, and leave you behind with Nana and Papa. We picked the location as one with lots of activities we couldn’t easily do with you, so that we could best capitalize on our time alone.
But now that the trip is approaching (next week!), I just can’t even imagine leaving you for so long. Your dad and I talked about bringing you, but we just don’t know how well it would work. The trip getting there is long, the hotel is not meant for children, and the location requires a flight on a tiny plane and boat rides to access it. Plus, your nana and papa are so excited to watch you; they’d be very disappointed if we took you with us. You are so familiar and comfortable with them, and I know you will do fine. We bought you a bunch of little toys and treats; I plan wrap up a present for each day that we’re gone. Hopefully that and all the fun things nana and papa have planned will help the time fly by for you. I hope it goes by fast for us too; I’m going to miss you so much!!
First they ask how old you are. Then upon hearing that you are 17-months old, the next question is inevitably, ‘Is she talking a lot?’. They don’t mean anything by it, and it is a harmless question, really. But lately it’s making me want to scream. I’d like to scream that no, you aren’t talking much at all. You’re making lots of sounds, you know dozens of words, you follow directions, but no, you aren’t talking. That you are in fact going to speech therapy, that you have been classified as a ‘delayed speaker’. Nana and Papa think this is all silliness, that you’re smart and aware, engaged and age-appropriate. In short, that you are fine. I feel this too, but I also trust the experts. The speech therapist said that most 18-month olds can speak about fifty words. Fifty! I couldn’t believe it; I had to ask her to repeat, asking if she said ‘5-0 or 1-5’. It was the former.
You are very vocal. You are great with words starting with ‘ba’, and you excitedly call out ‘ba’ whenever you see a ball, or balloon, or when we ask you what a sheep says. You also say ‘da’ for dog, and you can say mama and dada, nana and papa. I’ve been trying to get you to say ‘up’, and just in the last day or so I think you’re trying hard too, making a sound like ‘p’ when you want me to pick you up.
But you are nowhere near 50. You also are not 18 months old yet, and the therapist was quick to point out that your speech could just take off in the next few weeks. She said that’s often what happens. But for now we’ll continue working with her, and with you, and helping you to learn to speak. I’m not too concerned, but I’ll sure be happy when more words start flowing out of your cute little mouth. And when I can answer these questions with a simple, ‘Yes, she’s quite a talker’.
We woke up, packed up our camp and hiked out of the campground. You loved playing in the tent, jumping up and down on the fluffy sleeping pads and sleeping bags, and throwing yourself at the tent walls. You enjoyed flinging the door flap to the side and sticking your head out, to which we’d announce ‘ta-da!’, and you’d smile and do it over and over again. I thought you’d be more saddened or perplexed to see the tent come down, but it didn’t phase you. You just took off exploring in the other direction.
We went to Uncle Kyle’s house to check it out; we’d never seen it yet. We had fun looking around his house and then walking through his neighborhood in Tahoma, than we headed for Reno. We stopped at the Whole Foods for lunch and to pick up some food for the BBQ tonight. Your dad grabbed some strawberries and put them into the buggy, and you immediately got upset and tried to reach for them. You ate about half of the container before we even reached the checkout.
This evening Chris and Christina hosted a BBQ for our family and we had lots of fun hanging out and spending a little bit more time with everyone before we left. You loved running around their big, beautiful backyard, and you were constantly trying to keep up with Avery. We all fell sound asleep afterward and were so happy to be in beds and get a good night’s rest.
You slept alright last night, though you were a bit restless. Like last year, we struggled with what to do with you when you slept, and settled on buying you a sleeping pad and putting you in lots of warm clothes and a sleep sack. The problem we didn’t foresee is how mobile you are at night and how much you toss and turn. You kept rolling and squirming and ending up off the pad in the areas of the tent that were just the thin layer of tent on top of bare ground, or on your dad’s or my sleeping pad. It felt like we were constantly moving you back to your sleeping pad, over and over and over. I don’t think you ever woke up through all of this, but it didn’t feel like a great night of sleep for any of us.
We played on the beach most of today. Your dad and I kayaked, and you were very upset when we took off. It’s like you didn’t know we’d be right back! Throughout the day you never wanted to get very close to the water. You were happy playing with your cousin, aunts and uncles and Nana and Papa. After lunch you and your dad took a nice nap in the warm tent, then came and joined us all down by the lake for more play time. While we were getting ready to cook dinner you really wanted to explore, and kept taking whoever’s hand was available to lead them down the paths to explore the area. You loved looking at the flowers and rocks and sticks, looking at other people in their campsites, and just walking around. You were a little outdoor adventurer today.
This morning we headed over to Emerald Bay and had a long walk down to the camp. Once there we were lucky to get to go on Kyle’s friend’s boat and enjoy a cruise up to Sunnyside for dinner. On the way I sat with you below, and you were mostly content. But towards the end your dad and Jen came down to watch you so I could come above deck for a bit to enjoy the view, and since your Aunt Jen is the baby whisperer, you almost immediately fell asleep in her arms. Once we arrived we carefully lifted you off of the boat and entered the restaurant with you still sleeping in our arms. I couldn’t believe how crazy it was; it was packed and loud and chaotic. We inquired about a table and found out the wait was two hours. We headed to the bar and snagged a couple of tables just as their occupants were settling up the tabs. Through all of this, you slept. Your dad didn’t know what to do with you once we were seated, and so he laid you down on the table. And you slept! You were so cute; no less than two dozen people stopped to comment on you laying there, peacefully sleeping in your life vest. You slept there for probably 45 minutes before waking up and going to explore the shoreline with your Aunt Jen. What a good power nap you had in the middle of the restaurant on a table!
Fun on the boat
Cruising with Nana
Snuggles with mama on the boat
Nice nap at Sunnyside, on a table. With your life vest on. Just in case.
The Fourth started with a parade in downtown Minden, where the Sarmans joined us for the festivities and we all got to finally meet Will. We walked there from Grandpa and Grandma’s house, pulling you behind in a wagon decorated for the occasion. On the walk there we saw a field of sheep, and the obligingly ‘baaa’d’ as we went past. This has by far been your favorite sound/word to date, and so I was excited for you to finally see sheep and hear them make your favorite sound. You were so cute watching them.
Your expression after seeing and hearing the sheep!
You were dressed up for the festivities and you were adorable in your little ‘Betsy Ross’ hat that Kyle and Sandy gave you for the last Fourth of July; it finally fits you now.
Sleepy after the parade
Emma and Grandma at the Minden parade
Dad and Emma all smiles at Minden parade
It was sweltering hot out, and on the walk home you started fussing, than ended up falling asleep in my arms. I transferred you to the wagon and you slept the rest of the way home and then for a couple of hours in the car on the way up to the lake.
This afternoon we played on the beach by your Grandpa and Grandma’s house in Marla Bay. Your dad and I were so excited to see what you thought of the beach since you so love playing in the sand, dirt and water at our house, and because you really enjoy the buckets and shovels so much. You played with your dad for about 30 minutes, but you were not as excited about it as we’d thought you would be. I think you got your feet in the lake, and the frigidness of the water and the sounds of the waves sort of scared you and you really didn’t want to go anywhere near the water for the rest of the time we were at the Lake. But you got to play with your dad’s cousin’s kids and just had fun hanging on the beach. Tonight you went to bed before the fireworks started; you still haven’t seen any fireworks yet.
Cousins and second cousins
We felt like such expert travelers this morning as we loaded up and headed to the airport to catch our perfectly, strategically timed flight. We chose this particular flight to coincide with your naptime, and we were confident it’d work flawlessly and we’d have a sleeping, peaceful baby on our laps for the entire flight. Well, our confidence was quickly squashed by our total rookie move of buying not one, not two, but three drinks before boarding the plane – a coffee for your dad, an iced coffee for me, and a smoothie for you. So, trying to board the plane with you, four carryon bags, and three drinks was not the most successful. Luckily you walked nicely in front of me to our seats and held your smoothie, and that went really well. Until, while your dad and I were trying to stash the bags, you sat the smoothie down on my seat, it fell over, and spilt everywhere. Awesomeness. Even with that one drink down, we still had to juggle you in our laps and two other drinks. What were we thinking? At least you did sleep the entire flight, helping to redeem our confidence in ourselves.
This evening we went and ate at the JT. We brought you here exactly a year ago and you fell asleep with no clothes on before you came, and took an epic nap, so we ended up just bringing you with only a diaper on. This year you wore clothes, thank goodness, but you wouldn’t sit in your highchair for more than couple minutes. The rest of the time was spent exploring, and running around, and dancing. You got to see your granddad’s cowboy hat hanging on the wall, and I think your favorite was the big stuffed mountain sheep. The first time you encountered him you plopped yourself down on the floor right in front of him and just stared for a good two minutes. You were fascinated!
I signed you up for music class on Monday afternoons, and you normally go with Nana and Papa. They’re already in NV, and so today your dad and I took you. And it was so much fun! It was neat to watch you interact with all of the other kids, and listen to the music, and move around and play. You really seem to like it, though you made many attempts to break away from class and head to the play set nearby. During one such attempt you tripped on a bag and tumbled down the hill, rolling head-over-foot at least twice. Your dad and I watched, fearful that you’d be hurt, as you rolled one last time, landed on your feet, and kept running toward the slide as though nothing happened. You were quite determined to reach that slide!