Today's New Activity: Hiking (with Baby!) at Baylands Park
To call this outing a hike is something of an exaggeration. It was pretty much a flat dirt trail around the edge of the bay in Palto Alto (which I'm calling a bog, just because all the growth at the edge of the water gave it a very bog-ey feel). But it was beautiful...kind of eerie beautiful.
Here is Monkey during one of the brief periods when he was down to walk. At first I think he was just confused by the totally new kind of surroundings. Then, once he was okay to be set down, he was distracted by the little planes that kept taking off from a nearby airport and flying overhead.
I'm pretty sure this was the first time he's actually taken notice of an airplane, and it was fun to see his initial enthrallment. He was waving and saying "bye bye" to each of them as they flew away in the beginning. Then I think he realized they were just going to keep coming and he was over the need to communicate with every last one.
After a little while, and after his initial shyness wore off, he felt comfortable holding Jess's hand and walking with her.
And soon after that they were like new best friends, sharing sunglasses and everything!
I'm awed by people who are just naturally comfortable with kids. I've always liked kids, but I wasn't one to reach out for and hold babies unless I'd already known them for some time. I always liked interacting with older kids, like 3rd grade and up. At that point you can talk to them just like normal, and you don't really have to deal with all their anxieties about separation and strangers, and you certainly don't have to deal with their poop.
Jessica was a natural, though, and it was clear the baby was comfortable with her. I love when that happens. While of course I don't want him to be comfortable with everybody he encounters (scary!), it does make me proud and relieved when he will happily go into the arms of a friend of mine. It's nice to know he feels safe and secure enough to get some distance from me and experience another person's care. Other people will always show him something I wouldn't think to show him, or make him laugh in a new way. Jessica was down to carry him a full third of the time we were out. I consider that a bona fide blessing. :) And he practically fell asleep on her shoulder by the end of the outing.
As we strolled along, there were some odd objects to take in and brainstorm on the possible purposes of
but other than that it was a pretty mellow and unassuming trail, which freed up the baby's attention to give to the squirrels or badgers or whatever they were running around, the little songbirds, and the seagulls headed to the nearby dump (odd place for a dump, if you ask me). I'd say monkey did pretty well his first time hiking; I'm looking forward to finding more new hiking spots I can introduce to both of us.
And I just have to mention again how lucky I feel to be living in an area where there is so much natural beauty to behold, and so many months of good, outdoors-friendly weather in which to enjoy it. May I never, ever take it for granted!