10 July 2006

To the Water

Ahhhhh, summer vacation. Hazel and I have been through two weeks of swim lessons, and dabbled a smidge in a gymnastics class. As a family we've run through a sprinkler, rowed a boat out on a lake, waded in the rocky Sandy River, and finally drove to the Grand Dame of bodies of water, the Pacific Ocean. We left the camera at home, but in Hazel's words, we've had "fun, fun, fun!"

Hazel likes digging in the sand and being twirled around in the water. She likes to collect and throw rocks, and she wants to make friends with other kids. She's not so interested in the relentless movement of the ocean waves. When she worked up the interest to get into the ocean, every time she grew close to the edge she ran in the other direction, shouting, "Scared!"

The real attraction was the motel room. She had her own bedroom with her own queen-sized bed (not really much different from her situation at home) and she sparkled each time she looked into the room. She wanted to go to bed at 5 pm on Friday. We had to stall her. We don't own a microwave, so she kept trying to press those buttons and thought it was a second t.v. It took a lot of cajoling and strong-arming to get her out to the ocean, and then a lot of strong-arming to get her off the beach when it was time.

We could see the ocean from our room, but had to go down a short, steep trail through trees and brush to get to the beach. That turned out to be Hazel's favorite thing, ever. She was insistent upon doing it, "by myself!" After all, she's been going through regular training for the experience on the playgrounds. When we got to the bottom of the trail, she would turn around and go back up, just for the fun of it. I can't wait to take her out to the Gorge. As I waited patiently for her to scramble up and down the rocks, and watched her explore the natural world and her own capabilities, I allowed myself brief fantasies of mother/daughter hikes in the Cascades. We asked her if she liked going up or down the hill the best and she said up. Mine, too! We can climb Mt. St. Helens together! She'll be that kind of teenager, right?

Our ambitions were dampened when Hazel awoke clingy and completely unadventurous Saturday morning. We gave her some Tylenol and she perked up. I took her to the cheese factory and she loved it. When we left she said, "I love having fun, fun, fun!" She fell asleep on her way back to the motel, had a long nap in her fancy new bed, and woke up hot enough to fry an egg on. We had to buy all sorts of first aid stuff from the expensive beach market, because I looked our home supplies directly in the eyeballs while packing and thought, "we'll only be gone a short time, we won't need that stuff." Given that she tore open her toe on a beach rock and then got the highest temperature I can remember, I made the wrong decision. And we do have a first aid kit (in our closet, at home) that I forgot about. We probably should just keep our car stocked with that stuff, huh?

Saturday was rough and worrisome, but she rested and slept a lot, all the while insisting she was not sick. When she's well she insists she IS sick and always wants to take medicine.

Sunday morning her temp was down, but she was uber clingy and only mama would do. She's been a mama's girl ever since our summer break kicked off. She didn't want to leave the special new home she had created and cried when I put her picture books back in the car. She also cried when we tried to put clothes on her, when I took a shower, when we turned the morning cartoons off, when we cleared her ignored breakfast dishes away, when we moved, breathed or looked at her funny. Rather tender, that one. We convinced her to come down with us and say good-bye to the ocean, which she enjoyed once we did it. She told me that the sand was her favorite part.

We made it home in time for her father to watch a World Cup disappointment. Hazel's still clingy and crabby and overly dependent on cartoons for her entertainment. She had a slight temperature during the night, and back to normal this morning. I'll still take her to the doctor, because I want to make sure she's okay before we fly in a plane next week.


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