On Friday afternoon, my friend texted me asking if Natalie and I would come with her to a local pond on Monday (today) to celebrate the first official day of summer. I was a bit concerned about some of the details, but looked forward to the trip all weekend.
We went to my parents for the weekend for Father's Day. We had a little crabbiness from Natalie on Saturday, but it was mostly from taking her nap so late in the day. She was wound up from being around so many people and so many new things. She also kept crying at my brother-in-law. She seems to never have gotten over the shock he gave her back in February when she thought he was Mike. My parents had gotten a pack'n'play at a yard sale for Natalie to sleep in when we visit. Natalie slept in it fine for the night even though we put her down awake. Sunday, we planned to leave around noon, but had to push it back some when Natalie took an unexpected nap after nursing. She cried pretty hard for a while in the car on the way home, but then she settled in to sleep very soundly for the rest of the ride. Highlights of the weekend were Natalie racing down my mom's couch to get the remote as soon as Mike put it down, Natalie eating at the kitchen table from her new booster seat, Natalie spontaneously taking a couple steps on her own (towards Mommy), Natalie cruising down my mom's hutch using the drawer pulls, and Natalie crawling after me through the dining room and kitchen, Natalie standing up for a second without using a piece of furniture or person.
This morning, I heard from my friend around 9 and after a few questions, it seemed like Natalie and I could come along. We had a just over an hour to get ready though, which was a bit rushed. But, I managed to get Natalie up, fed her oatmeal, packed a little cooler, packed a bag of clothes and toys and such, and got myself cleaned up and dressed. When my friend called back, I just had to slather Natalie in sunscreen, put on her swimming diaper, get her redressed, and we set off. After a quick swing by the ATM, we met up at my friend's apartment, and we followed her over to the pond about 20 minutes away. I had anticipated a shorter drive, but I was still surprised when Natalie fell asleep in the car since it wasn't that long since her nap. Lucky for me, there were three other adults there to help me carry our stuff since I pushed Natalie in the stroller.
We picked out a spot off to the side on the beach because it had both sun and shade. Another benefit later was that it was less crowded. After more sunscreen application for everyone, we spent a little time warming up before heading to the water. Natalie took the water very quickly. I didn't take her in to swim, but over the course of the afternoon, we went into the water 4 or 5 times. At first, we just walked to the shore and I let her put her feet in and then sit down on the shore.
The next time we went down, she walked out into the water. Then, she loved leading me in and out of the water. She was babbling, happy screeching, and making her excited huffing noise. She would have gone right out over her head if I let her, but I felt that around chest level was more than deep enough. I think that she liked the idea that she could move in and out of the water, and the waves. She only once tried to eat the sand, which is when she first sat down in it. And she only once cried in the water, which was when we were all warm going in the last time; I'm pretty sure she was upset that the water felt cold because she turned around and went right back. At one time, my friend came down to the water with us and brought some toys for her to play with on the shore. Another time, three girls swam up to us and floated in the shallow water to talk to Natalie, who babbled pleasantly back. The last time we went in, our whole group was in the water. My friend picked Natalie up under her arms and swung her through the water slowly. Natalie kicked her legs out behind her and in front of her. She really liked it. It looks like she is going to be a swimmer just like her daddy. My friend was happy, too, because there have been a lot of times Natalie has cried when she's held her and doing that in the water required a lot of trust.
On the shore, Natalie did awesome as well.
We nursed very comfortably. I just sat on the ground "Indian" style and a towel folded under Natalie to help hold her up. I wrapped my arm under and around her and it was very nice. Natalie seemed to like nursing outside where she could look up at a tree moving in the breeze. I wanted to cover up to nurse, but the wind wouldn't let the cloth stay in place, but there was no one close enough to us for it to matter. Natalie also did well with me applying sunscreen, changing her diaper, and staying on the towel instead of crawling off. She climbed on me very little, and didn't pull my bathing suit top off even once. She started to get a little crabby around 2, which is when we decided to go in the water one last time. When we got out, she was even rather agreeable for her diaper change when my friend blocked the sun. She complained about being put back in the stroller, but when we got over the sand and back to the solid ground (and we could actually roll the stroller instead of carrying her like a desert princess), she calmed down. On the drive home, she was asleep within two minutes.
The rest of the afternoon was a little rougher since she had such a big day and only a 30 minute nap. She was happy, but a little clingy. She started doing her new move - thumb sucking combined with leaning in to hug me. I considered bringing her in for another nap, or more a continuation of the nap in the car, but as I was holding and swaying with her, she put her head down so sweetly on my chest. So, we just kept swaying. I decided if she fell asleep in my arms, I would be okay with that. That didn't happen, but instead, we swayed some more like that, then I sat down in the rocking chair with her. She alternated between looking around happily and sucking her thumb with her head down on my chest. When the periods of snuggling started to tapper off, we went back out to playing in the living room. It was a very nice addition to our pleasantly spent afternoon.