February 22, 2008

Moab (Mis)Adventures

This was a hard post for me to write. And probably even harder for me to publish when I'm done. That being said, it's the truth and you can take it or leave it.

Last weekend we went head to head with one of the biggest challenges we face as parents -- trying to merge our pre-baby days with our child. You always know that your life is going to change (and it's one of the first things people bring up in conversation when they find out you're expecting your first child) but I don't really think you're prepared for it. Or maybe some people are. We just may have just missed that section in childbirth class.

Don't get me wrong, we've had to adjust. When we do go to dinner we go out earlier because KT needs to be in bed when we used to think about going out. Errands are run around nap schedules; doctors appointments can no longer be scheduled any time the office is open. For the most part though, KT is fairly flexible and we don't usually have problems with going out and doing stuff. But for us this was the first major reality check. And there was a stretch of time where both C and I could see everything we hoped to do in the next few years crumbling into a pile of dust and tantrums.

The hardest thing we deal with is KT not getting enough sleep. When she's tired she's cranky and then everyone is cranky trying to deal with her. At home she sleeps like a champ -- 12+ hours at night and 2, 2-hour naps during the day (yeah, I know I'm lucky for that) -- but when she's someplace else it's touch and go. If there is a crib for her to sleep in she's perfectly fine. She slept wonderfully at C's Mom and Dad's and my Mom's over Christmas because they both had cribs. No crib though, typically means no sleep. She will sometimes nap in her pack 'n play but only after crying herself to sleep. I can't sleep if she's in bed with us and she sleeps fitfully. She rolls all over, sprawls herself sideways between us, jabs her little toes into your ribs, pokes you in the eyes, pulls on your ears and tries to lay on top of you.

Friday night was hell trying to get her to sleep in the hotel room. We first tried to put her in the pack 'n play and she threw a holy tantrum. At 9 o'clock at night in a hotel, I'm not going to subject my neighbors to that so we brought her into bed with us. Surprisingly, she fell asleep quickly snuggled next to her Dad. It was short lived. An hour later she was awake and thought it was playtime. The rolling, sprawling, jabbing, poking, pulling and laying carried on until almost midnight when she fell asleep on top of me. After 15 minutes I tried to lay her down in the pack 'n play. Her eyes immediately flew open as her head touched the blanket and the screaming started. So back to bed she went with us. Back to playtime we went (although C and I lay there as quiet and still as can be) and this time it was interspersed with crying/whining because she was way overtired. Finally at 2am she crashed (6 hours past her normal bedtime) and I slept fitfully next to her until she woke up 4 hours later.

The plan was to get breakfast, hike, get some lunch, take a nap, hike, get some dinner and go to bed. Sounds simple enough. When we got into Arches NP and out to the trailhead for the 1st hike, KT threw one of her fits. She's been in the backpack carrier before and never had a problem with it (granted it was either at the store or here at home); we use my M0by and Erg0 at least once a week too. But there was no calming her down in the carrier. I tried the Erg0 and she cried as I walked her around the parking lot in it. Our thought was that she would work through it and quit crying after a while. So we'd just tough it out for the little bit she was crying. Everyone got loaded back into the car and to a new destination we headed. Delic@te Arch was busy and we weren't going to ruin the experience for other people by letting our child scream. We battled a 4WD road and its slimy clay-based mud across the park to Tower Arch, crossing our fingers we didn't get stuck. Wouldn't it be our luck that someone had beat us there by 5 minutes and the 2 guys were just heading out on the trail? Attempt #2 was similar the first. Screaming, wailing, throwing her head back, kicking, etc. For fear of upsetting the 2 hikers we closed up shop yet again and this time headed back into town.

At one point on the drive back into Moab, I looked over at C and I could see the same look in his eyes that was burrowing deep into my heart. A look of fear that was shaking both of us to our core. What would we do if she won't go into the carrier? How would we hike? To some people, that answer is obvious. You don't go. I know that, I get that. But if you thought that you don't know us.

We're not the type to vacation at a resort full of people. You probably will never find us with our toes in the sand, sitting in a lounge chair by the ocean, sipping a fruity drink. That's not a vacation to us. A vacation to us is getting out away from people, being surrounded by fresh air, open skies and the wilderness. We hike. We camp. We fly-fish. We snowshoe. We spend weekends floating down a river casting flies to hungry trout; we sleep out under the stars listening to the chirp of crickets and the bugling of elk; we've hiked more miles that I could even count; we've seen more beautiful landscapes in the last 9 years together than many people will see in their lifetime. We pride ourselves on hiking the less traveled trails and never seeing another soul for miles.

To have a child that does not hike would be devastating. It would be like a librarian having a child who didn't like to read; the child of an Olympic athlete preferring to watch from the bleachers. We were both scared but were afraid to mention it aloud for fear of it coming true.

KT slept Saturday night, in the pack 'n play for a solid 8 hours without a sound. I'm not sure if she felt more comfortable in the hotel room or if she was just utterly exhausted and couldn't fight it any longer. C and I collapsed into bed that night too with the thoughts of "what if" weighing heavily on our minds. We both hoped that daylight and much needed sleep would give way to a better day on Sunday.

Fortunately, it did. We did 2 of our favorite hikes with KT on Sunday. She loved both of them. Hopefully we can take that as a sign of what's to come.


Susan said...

Your picts are beautiful!
KT is the cutest, and I'm sure she is just like you and C. :)
Thinking of you- Lots of love.

pam said...

You remind me of our trip to Moab with L. We made the unfortunate mistake of sleeping in a tent. We even put hot potatoes by her feet to keep in warm. L howled that night, much to the chagrin of our neighbors, the next night we did get a cabin and she was happy. I just think, this is a phase, give her a couple years and she will be as excited about hiking/biking/fly fishing as you are.

Kristen said...

It is amazing how much being away from home changes EVERYTHING for LO's. It is extra stressful when we have a plan in mind and the plan gets shot to hell. I'm sorry things didn't go smoother on your trip. I am glad you guys got some great family time in there on Sunday!