Blogging Baby Size Six: Things I learned in Yosemite

Filed under: Activities: Babies, Places To Go

Our recent trip to Yosemite was as much a learning experience for me as it was for the kids. It's amazing how much one can learn about one's kids and oneself just by going on a trip with them. As wonderful a time as it was, I am glad to have a chance to recoup and reflect on the lessons I learned while we were there. You might have learned some of these yourself and some might be enlightening. Without further ado, here are six things I learned in Yosemite:

  1. Planning is good; flexibility is better. Sure, it's great to have grand ideas of all the things you're going to do and see on your vacation. Make lists, do your research, arrange your schedules, and be prepared to watch it all go out the window. Kids aren't so good at following timetables and what sounded like a great idea when you read it in the (adult-oriented) guidebook may not be so great in practice, with tired, cranky, bored kids.
  2. Sometimes, familiarity breeds quiet. The wonder of new places, new sights, new discoveries is a beautiful thing. It is also very exhausting. Sometimes kids just need some down time. That's where some familiar toys or (dare I say it!) DVD's can come in handy. We brought along the Backyardigans, Baby Einstein, even Singing in the Rain on DVD as well as the Big Bucket o' Cars, the Box o' Trains, and a few other favorites.
  3. The toughest day of backpacking is nothing compared to a day in the Valley with kids. Chasing kids around. Changing diapers. Planning naps. Finding food that they will eat. Potty breaks. Carrying kids that weigh at least a million and forty pounds. Much easier to strap on a 70-pound pack that doesn't ask questions and start walking. Don't believe me? Try it -- take a couple of kids to Yosemite (or Disneyland or whereever) for a day. Then put on a pack and head out the next day and see if it doesn't feel like resting.
  4. If it were just us, it wouldn't matter what happens to the planet. It's not just us. We have the ability to turn this planet into an uninhabitable chuck of barren rock. Or, we can keep it nice for our kids and grandkids and so on. We need to do the latter. We need to recycle, to reduce our consumption, to think about the consequences of our actions. We need to teach our kids not only how to take care of our environment but also why. Yosemite is a fantastic example.
  5. Your kids may not see the same beauty you do; they may instead show you beauty you missed. The majesty of the mountains, the peace of the forest, the beauty of tumbling water -- these are just some of the things that draw me to Yosemite and did so many times for so many years when I was younger. And yet, I never noticed, really, the yellow grass in the fields of the Valley, nor the joy of the plop of a stone in a river. There was a lot of Yosemite that I had missed because I had never experienced it with kids.
  6. The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades. This time, we didn't hike any of the Mist Trail, let alone climb Half Dome. We didn't go watersliding at Rancheria Creek. We didn't see Waterwheel Falls. We didn't do any camping. But, I saw my kids and I knew that, in the future, we would. I am able to look ahead at the good times we'll have doing all those things and more.
In case you missed them, you can still read my original story soliciting advice and the post-trip follow-up, parts one, two, three, four, and five.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.