Monday, May 01, 2006

Back to Nature

This past weekend we decided to explore a bit more of our new home state with a trip to Yosemite. "Wow!" doesn't quite cover it, but it's the thing I kept hearing from my mouth. C'mon! I know more words than that--some of them were even on the SAT (gulp) 19 years ago. But "Holy crap," the other phrase that came to tongue, seemed sacrilegious and it's not something I want Hannah to be saying to her grandparents in a couple of weeks--or to perfect strangers, for that matter. And, let's see: Hannah's first word was "clock" sans the "l." Might start to look bad if Charlotte's first word turned out to be "HolyCrap!"

We left home around noon on Saturday, arriving on the valley floor around 5:30. This left us just enough time to do a drive by of the highlights and go racing through the Visitors Center shop in search of the restrooms. And by "racing through," I mean "dragging Hannah by one arm as she tried to grab something, anything, from the shelves. She just couldn't live without the foam deer visor. Unless she got the lolly pop instead. Or the stickers. How about a mug? OOOO--snow globes!" After successfully navigating that obstacle course, we were off to the hotel, just a short hour and 20 minutes away. Charlotte expressed her immense appreciation of the passing scenery and winding roads by vomiting all over herself. Ah, good times.

Our first full day in the park, Hannah proved once again that she is a natural mountain climber, preferring to leap from rock to rock to rock, ignoring the gasps, one delighted, one not so much. Put her in a stroller and she whines and cries to get out. She'd rather walk? Great--out you go! But no, after maybe twenty feet, it was:

"How's about you pick me up?"


"How 'bout you carry me?"

Ah, repetition and rephrasing. The toddler version of yelling a question at non-English speakers.

When we finally stopped for our picnic lunch, Charlotte was so happy to be out of the stroller that she struggled to get down from my arms to better peruse the menu options. She spurned the daily special of french bread, brie, fruit and turkey, in favor of the house specialties: First a little sand, followed by the small pile of leaves, with fresh pine cones as the main course and a bit more sand to finish it off.

Travel Tips:
*When traveling with small children, it's always best to choose a hotel that offers something entertaining for them, too. A pool, a playground, small insects: Did I forget to mention the ants? (Have I also mentioned that I am not what one might call "high-maintenance?" Sure, I appreciate 300+ thread-count sheets as much as anyone, but it's not a necessity. Warm, dry, in-room bathroom and not sleeping on the ground. Works for me. )

* Take your own baby bedding. Rustic is one thing, but Baby by Burlap crib sheets are another matter entirely.

*Don't leave the box of donut holes on the counter. Even if the box is unopened. "Why are the sprinkles moving?" is not what you want to hear first thing in the morning.

* Take a night light. Hannah won't sleep with the light off. Charlotte won't sleep with it on. So, forget the night light and you may find that your music options for the evening are a choice between KWHinE and WSHrieK. Both available in stereo for your listening pleasure!

* Don't stop watching their faces. The utter joy of a child who is allowed to climb rocks, splash in puddles, paddle in a lake and eat pine cones is truely one of the wonders of the world.

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