Letter to Camille: Thirty-Nine Months

Thirty-Nine MonthsHello sweet girl, and welcome to Month Thirty-Nine! You’re having a pretty fabulous day so far today. It started this morning with a trip to the airport to pick up your Granddaddy. When you saw him walking toward the terminal I had to hold you back from running past the security gates to get to him. After a full day of playing with your grands, we are headed to your favorite restaurant this evening for dinner – The Crab Shack. You love all the baby alligators and the parrots there, not to mention the fun outdoor, marshside seating. I’m very much looking forward to our extended family dinner date.

This morning I got up just a little bit earlier than usual to make it to the airport on time, and for the first time in ages I had to set my alarm clock. On most days, I’m fortunate that you are my alarm clock, and thank heavens you no longer “ring” at 5 a.m. We don’t usually need to start our day until about 7, and for months when you woke up we’d tell you to go back to bed because it wasn’t 7. At some point, we got the brilliant idea of putting a digital alarm clock in your room and showing you how to read it. I was skeptical initially. But most mornings, I hear you begin stirring around 6:30 or so, and sometimes I’ll even hear you whisper, “It’s not seven yet!” Then at 7 a.m. on-the-dot, you loudly chime, “Mama! It’s SEVEN!”

This has become such a part of your routine, that you expect the same of all creatures. A few days ago I went into your room (after you’d announced it was 7, of course), and as we cuddled for a moment you said, “Mama, that bird was talking.” Sure enough, I could hear a bird squawking outside your window. You said, “I told that bird it wasn’t seven, but he kept talking!”

Well, I don’t know how to teach birds to tell time, but I sure am glad you’ve learned! We’ve all been waking up much happier now that we get to sleep until 7. Thank you, my sweet girl, for being so willing to cooperate!

This has been a very creative month for you. One of your favorite activities is coloring, but not with just ordinary crayons. You’ve discovered the joy of Color Wonder markers, which only work with special (i.e. pricey) Color Wonder coloring books. But the books are pretty cool, I must admit, with all sorts of hidden objects you can only find by coloring the pages.

Color Wonder
You’ll often choose coloring over your limited television time, saying no to cartoons and yes to Color Wonder. You’ll sit at your table and color and color all by yourself, although your favorite is when your Daddy colors the pages with you. You’ve taken to calling him your “Color Buddy,” and have decided you make a good Color Team.

You also like to make up songs and stories. The other day you came up with this little tale, and I wrote it down so I wouldn’t forget:

“Once upon a time, I went to the park with Daddy and Mommy and Elsie, but there was a witch. We went inside and played music, but the witch didn’t like it and she went away. I played the Barney song on the triangle. The end.”

Daddy HugsOne evening you got out your pink ukulele and made up a song called “Super Daddy.” The lyrics are:

Super Daddy/ and Mommy
I love you!

Love those lyrics! I have a video of you singing your song by the campfire and it’s coming up in just a minute, but first, I need to back up and tell you all about that adventure!

Oh, how excited I was this month to take you on your very first camping trip! Together with our friends Tony and Jessica, and their boys Will and Sam, we headed north last Saturday to a campground near Helen. When we left Savannah, the temps were hovering around 90 degrees and it sure didn’t feel like fall. But as we drove up into the mountains, the leaves of the trees grew more beautiful in hue and the temperature began to drop. It was wonderful for our senses to finally experience a bit of autumn.

AutumnThe campground, called Enota, was in a beautiful spot surrounded by mountains, with several creeks meandering through the grounds. Our two tent sites were right along a creek, and the sound of rushing water was our constant companion. I had worried endlessly about the weather, but the rain stopped just as we were pulling into camp.

I had also wondered if you’d be bored at the campground, but my concerns were unfounded. This treasure of a campground has duck ponds, a farm with livestock, a playground, a play room, and ohmygoodness TRAMPOLINES! THREE OF THEM! You were very happy about the trampolines, and spent a lot of time jumping with your buddies.

Trampoline Fun!We cooked some good food, and introduced you to the joy of roasting marshmallows. With your belly full of smores we put you in some fleecy pajamas and unrolled your sleeping bag in the tent. I wondered if you’d be able to sleep, and whether or not you could fall asleep without one of us in the tent with you. But you let me tuck you in and walk away. As we adults sat around the campfire, we could hear you inside the tent wiggling, laughing and talking to your unicorn. Then all was quiet as you drifted to sleep, lulled by the sound of the creek, warm in your sleeping bag despite the chilly night air.

Sunday we enjoyed more trampoline time, a hike up to a waterfall, and a tour of the campground’s farm. After another good dinner and some more marshmallows, our last night at camp ended pretty perfectly.

Enjoying the outdoorsUntil morning. I woke up around 6 to the sound of rain. In the dim morning light, I couldn’t see any drips or leaks, so I assumed our tent was holding up. But when I reached for something on the tent floor, I was alarmed to find my hand had plunged into a puddle. Our tent had flooded. In a frenzy, your Daddy and I woke you and tossed you into the car seat as he and I began to break camp in a mad rush. It was POURING, and we didn’t even take time to properly roll the tent or organize anything. We just shoved our wet camping gear into his new car, mud and all, piling it up to the roof.

Only after we’d packed everything in did I realize that our clean, dry clothes were at the bottom of the pile, so your Daddy and I had a long drive home in our wet pajamas. Fortunately, I had access to a spare dress in your diaper bag, so when we stopped in Helen for breakfast I changed your clothes. Then you threw up your grits – all over your one clean outfit – so it was back on with the pajamas. At least yours were dry. When we stopped around 1:30 at a McDonald’s for lunch, I hoped fervently we wouldn’t see someone we knew. We looked like a rather backwoods bunch, all damp and crumpled and in our pajamas in the afternoon. I think if anyone had questioned me about it, I probably would’ve just snarled. We were feeling rather feral after all that craziness.

Thankfully we made it home in one muddy piece, and a shower had never felt so good. I hate that our trip ended on that kind of note, but now that I’ve had sufficient time to dry out, I can see the adventure in our experience. And I’m pretty sure you loved camping despite the rain, and I can’t wait to take you again.

I love you so much sweet girl!

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