Thursday, April 26, 2012

River Dreams Sweet Baby

While organizing my desk this morning & going through old paper work, (a harrowing task indeed,) I came across a poem I wrote while pregnant, and finally put it to a photo I had been threatening to meld it with for quite some time now. The photo is of nursing two year old Charlotte, sitting on our raft, floating in an eddy, watching the evening clothe it's glowing inky dusk upon the softly gurgling Chama River...
River Dreams, Sweet Baby...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

On the Subject of Challenge

          noun /'CHalenj/
                1. A call to take part in a contest or competition
                     - he accepted the challenge
                2. A task or situation that tests someone's abilities 
                     - the ridge is a challenge for experienced climbers

     Challenge is a funny thing, what may be simple daily tasks to one person, could be the most momentous challenge to another. For example, running class III-IV whitewater is a delightful daily task to me, and is often a huge hurdling and frightening challenge to my customers. On the flip side of that coin though, what challenges me the most, would likely surprise many of my rafting customers. I often find simple things challenging, like organizing my desk, keeping track of important paperwork, returning phone calls, putting away the folded laundry, getting my oil changed... simple things. Simple things that I suck at. Backing trailers down long narrow crowded ramps or round cramped corners... easy! Cooking for a hungry crowd of 16 on a beach in the wilderness... easy! Standing up in front of large crowds singing the innermost vulnerability of my soul and fiddling until my finger tips blister... easy! 

     Yesterday though, I found myself facing one of my greatest challenges, trusting western medicine. I have come to learn over the years, that western medicine has it's place, particularly in the realm of surgery. I mean, I'm one of those crazy hippies that gathers herbs in the fall to make tinctures and salves for the year. I run to the health food store for homeopathics instead of the Dr.'s office for antibiotics. I used to loath western medicine... until it saved my life, and the life of my daughter. At this point, I would like to insert a passage from my birth story...

(Day three of labor.)  We arrived at the hospital around 7:30 and Joanna soon thereafter. I remember standing and swiveling in the entryway with Alex and Alycia, still holding the hot water bottle on my back, not really believing where I was, while my Mom parked the car. The nurses were nice, though a bit taken aback when I refused any kind of IV or anything without seeing the doctor first. I wouldn’t lay down either, I wanted to swivel. 

    When the doctor came in and checked me, he said that I was only two cm dilated. I muttered “sphincter law” and rolled my eyes, not surprised in the least by the doctors finding. Walking into that hospital was so scary, my body reacted about as drastically as it could, closing off, fear of danger, keep baby safe inside... The doctor did an ultrasound, and said that there was no amniotic fluid left, and that baby was posterior.

     Then… he said something that made me angry, he said “This baby is just simply too big for your pelvis.” I spat “Bull Sh*t!” at him vemenously , and pointed at Alycia, “You see that woman there! She pushed out a ten pound posterior baby and has half the pelvis I do!” “Congratulations” he nodded at her dryly, and gave me a look that said “OK, my reason may have been BS, but you still need a c-section, no if’s and’s or but’s. Do I really have to explain it to you?” I asked for a minute, and he obliged.

     At that point my mom got in my face and yammered ceaselessly, I had to yell at her to stop so I could hear what Alycia and Joanna had to say. Alycia didn’t have to say anything, the look on her face said it all. Joanna patiently explained to me about the absence of amniotic fluid and the cervical regression, no time to re-dialate... and said in simple words that, No, at that point I did not have a choice. Alex mentioned his grandmothers dry birth, which had left her brain damaged. I think it came as a surprise to me, I was still so set on having a vaginal birth, that I hadn’t even let the thought of c-section cross my mind. 

     The next moment was the single most difficult moment of my entire life. Everything that had come before was insignificant to the momentous challenge of finding acceptance, to consent to having my belly cut open. The long labor, the Olympic pushing, crazy class V+ rapids, being deported from the UK… every challenge my life had seen up until that point, all paled in comparison to that one small moment. I burst into screaming sobbing tears, I collapsed into someone’s arms, I don’t know whose, and cried and screamed and sobbed and cried and cried and cried.

     To this day, that one moment, that split second of acceptance, is still the greatest challenge I have ever faced. In a world where women schedule c-sections by choice, (finding it less frightening than the prospect of labor?) I found out at that moment, that it was my greatest fear. The three day labor was the easy part. Accepting that I needed a c-section? The most difficult thing I have ever done. 
my bionic ankle
     A year and a half later, I got to face the fear of surgery again, this time I accomplished it with much more grace. I broke my ankle, broke it good, dislocated and shattered it actually. I was under anesthesia for a full four hours while my ankle was jigsaw puzzled back together with titanium. That time though, my fear going into surgery was subdued by gratitude, gratitude to be alive in todays day and age, when what once would have been an amputee limb, is now so simply bionic. Western medicine may lack in whole care, prevention, and addressing base line issues, but I came to the realization through experience, that they have got the surgery thing down pat, they are damn good at it. It still scares the crap out of me though. 
     So yesterday... yesterday was challenging. Yesterday my daughter had surgery. Nothing invasive, it was dental surgery actually, but she was under full anesthesia, and I was scared. I was sick to my stomach all day. I had been wringing my hands over this for weeks. I think I'm finally over it today now that she is %100 back to her normal bubbly self. But wow, it definitely "tested my ability..." my ability to be calm and confidant in front of her, to be her steadfast support, my ability to have faith. Faith in the anesthesiologist, the dentist, the RN, Charlottes constitution, the anesthesiologist... she's so little, it has to be such a minor margin for error anesthetizing a 33 lb toddler! Gaaah!
Waiting to go into the OR
      Tempering my fear, in flesh & blood, my ever present & patient life partner Alan is himself a miracle of modern medicine. He survived (and thrived!) open heart surgery at 13 months old, in 1983. His simple presence brought me much needed perspective. Oral surgery is (unfortunately) a common event for toddlers today, and the emotions I experienced during Charlottes anesthetization could never even begin to hold a candle to what his mother went though, I can't imagine what that must have been like. I don't mean to invalidate my feelings, that thought just helped me to keep them in check, a tool of perspective to help me meet my challenge.
     We succeeded! Everyone was very impressed with Charlotte, she never cried or fussed, and was very brave! They even told me I did great while holding her hand and talking to her while she fell asleep (!?) Do most parents freak out about this? Not act calm & collected? The last thing I wanted to do was let on to Charlotte that I was scared! Apparently I'm decent at maintaining a facade anyways. One way or another, we did it.
     When Charlotte woke up, she said "I was having a really silly dream." Then she guzzled apple juice like there was no tomorrow. There was no puking on the (normally pukey) drive back up stream through the windy canyon. (Just once in the parking lot before we even left.) She slept allot, was groggy & wobbly when up, (couldn't understand why she had no balance to run along the river side cobbles when we stopped for lunch in the canyon,) but ate & drank like the hunger of the world was upon her, & woke up this morning right as rain. Whew! Heavy unburdening sigh of relief! 
    OK, so challenge, having harangued about my personal challenge with trusting western medicine and confronting surgery, I feel it's time to move on to other challenges. Parenting! Ah ha! The ever constant challenge of parenting!
     So, monday night, we went to roll session, it had been a couple of weeks since we had last been. First Charlotte was sick, then I was sick... bleh, missed two of the last four sessions of the season! Anyways, yeah, it had been a while, & Charlotte was distracted. So here is where Charlottes challenges come into play. Paddling is not a challenge for her, she is a great little paddler, an absolute natural! Focusing however, is a Huge challenge for her (at times.) When focused, she accomplishes Amazing things! Sometimes though, focus is as far a reach as Jupiter. Now here is where my parenting challenge enters... cognitively I am aware of the fact that she is merely four years old, but being a non normal four year old, it is easy to forget this. She surprises me so often that my expectations of her have grown to meet this raised bar of hers. Then, when she acts like a perfectly normal toddler, I am at a loss as to how to act. 
A happy stoked & focused little paddler!
     I'm not trying to talk her up or be an overly proud parent or anything, I am simply confessing some of my bigger parenting challenges. Roll session, like skiing, is so amazingly fun for both of us when she is focused (and she often is.) We giggle and cheer, she blows me away with and revels in her progress. This is the Charlotte that I have learned to interact positively with. Now you would think that I could adapt to spacey hyper toddler interactions, but here is where I fail hardcore. Why can't I just let her splash around and goof off? What's the big deal? So what if she needs to run around and scream?
     We took a parenting class last fall, I know that sounds weird, but it really was incredible. (We were super bummed when the class ended mid-winter.) It's called Love & Logic, and it makes so much sense! What a simple, functional model... yet so hard to remember to do. We are all programed to our specific defaults, and even though I can hear myself speaking the wrong choice of words to her and am aware of my full on Love & Logic fail, the default miscommunication still comes right on out full force. Ouch. 
     Boundaries, I'm terrible about setting boundaries, and she knows it. Age four has brought on an immense amount of willfulness, she wants to know where her boundaries are... I never defined them for her. We are all struggling with this current challenge. Some aspects of parenting I find easy, cooing and cuddling away tears of any kind, (interestingly enough, coping with tears is Alan's biggest  parenting challenge,) creative play, reading stories, arts & crafts. I have no problem taking Rapunzel or Snow White with me to the grocery store, but splashing and day dreaming during rolls session? Blasphemy! Ug, of course it's fine. It's perfectly normal and acceptable. Henceforth, I hereby challenge myself to effectively, positively, and lovingly parent even in the most hyper, defiant, and down right challenging temper tantrum toddler moments my daughter can produce! 

     PS. A bit of a funny foot note here, ironically enough, this particular blog article has been exceptionally challenging to post! Between two of us and two days, we have finally managed to mitigate the bizarre text and color issues occurring (we think,) from having copied and pasted certain parts of the article, such as the challenge definition and birth story excerpt. Weird. On the subject of (ever present) challenge!  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seasons Ebb and Flow...

Spring skiing conditions
     As the winter ebbs, spring begins to flow... slushy mashed potato snow & glacial patches dotted with rocks & (heaven forbid) entire fields of brown, melting to puddles under her swishing pink skis, and beging to trickle, trickle. Absorbing into mud, saturated, rushing tiny streamlets, down, down into the earth, down, down the mountain... still weeks away from its destination of the River. We hang up our skis, as the churning chair lift engines prime for hibernation, eek & slow to a seasons stop. And though the valleys blooming fruit trees and incessant sun shine suggest spring has long been underway, the River sings a different tune... Crystal green, its narrowed banks are flowing low, low. The runoff is running, what little there is to run this year, but not yet reaching River flows...
A Lovely float on the Verde River, AZ
Feb. 22 Arkansas River Float!
   This purgatorial time of interface, so dualistic in nature, brings the boats out right alongside the skis. Or this year, had the boats forgetting the skis... Low water schmo water, it's all boating to me! And the confused nature of current weather patterns seems to also confuse the human brain wave patterns in our little nuclear family. We pulled out the raft one sunny afternoon in late February and had a lovely wee float through town! Ensued by more such delightful floats in the following weeks. Then after a jaunt to Arizona where some beautiful Verde and Salt days were had in early March, we returned home to more sunny sky's and unseasonably warm temps. So, the skis commenced to gathering dust in the shed while the boats continued getting wet.
Maytag rapid- Salt River, AZ
     Yes, the water is officially 'stupid low.' Yes, we get our '14 raft stuck... allot, but we have fun! Browns  Canyon of the Arkansas River is not very conducive to rafting at 240 cfs, but it can be done! This I know from last saturdays escapades. It just takes allot of lowsiding and getting out on rocks to feed the raft through slots narrower than the boat is wide. During all of this early season low water boating we have been doing though, the ski hill remained open, in spite of our obliviousness... Ski? But it's River season, right? No, actually, it's not really.
     Our poor skis, after a full month of neglect, were gallantly rescued by a friend from New Mexico who came to visit and motivated us to go ski! It's a good thing too, because we caught the very tail end of it all. Ginger rallied us to ski on Friday, and inspired by hot pink '80's stretch pants, I managed to rally again on sunday, closing day... also know as Gaper day!

Last day- dressed to impress!

Ginger & Charlotte sporting spring skirts!
     This ski season was not about me though, in fact, I only free skied two days this winter! (One of which was [a rather serendipitous powder day] date, the other was our Valentines Day date.)  This season was about Charlotte. I did something very selfish, I took the winter off from my normal guise as ski instructor, and opted out of putting Charlotte in preschool, just so we could ski. Yup, we skied. She & I, just the two of us. Well, OK, Alan did a fair amount of skiing with us, but I encouraged him to go ski at his own pace, and he did so gladly. Alan is a remarkably patient man, Charlotte is not his child, and he is not one of those naturally awesome kid type people... in fact he is straight up not a kid person. He tries so hard though, and generally does a much better job of parenting her than he gives himself credit for. Anyways, tangent aside, yes Alan skied with us a good bit, but mostly it was Charlie and I, and she tore it up!
     Charlotte grew up in ski school. My daycare option was to bring her to ski school, and because she was such a little go getter, was aloud to ski in the 3-4 year old class instead of staying in the daycare. Charlotte first donned a pair of skis at 21 months old. I expected her to fall down, get upset, and get over it... but no. She went bombing straight down the hill screaming "Weeeeeeee!" Got to the bottom and said "Again again! More more!" And a little shredder was born. As mentioned, her ability on skis won her entrance to the 'little chips' ski class at one and a half. And so, she skied. Occasionally she asked to play in the daycare room, but more often than not she wanted to ski!
Charlottes first day of skiing, 21 months old.
     Her second year as a 'little chip' (then 2 1/2, still younger than the class age,) saw her excel beyond the kids ski school hill to greens up on the big mountain, and easy blues by the end of the year. Ending the season with a bang, she skied her first few bumps, after weeks of begging "Mommy, how do you ski bumps? Can you show me how to ski bumps Mommy? Mommy, how do you ski bumps?" I kept telling her "Next year sweetie, next year." But she persevered & won, tackling a few easy bumps on the last run of the last day. She fell down twice, got right back up, skied those darn bumps & was super proud of herself!
Tuck! Faster!
Bumps baby!
     This year, with Mommy & a whole season all to herself, she accomplished amazing things! It seemed like every day she got something new, even up until the last day, when she learned to tuck. This year Charlotte tackled many bumps; large ones, steep ones. Fell in love with trees, tore up deep powder, and faced some remarkably steep slopes. (Not always with dignity, but always with her own ability.) She learned an amazing amount of technical skills this year too; carving, railroad tracks, skid turns, hockey stops, skating, tucking, etc... Charlotte has never had a power wedge, she skis parallel. The ski school I worked at preaches direct to parallel & is super conservative with their use of the wedge. She also never had one of those harness/leash things, she just always had to tag along in the gaggle of a class. This year though, this year was big for her, and she hit milestones.
      Here is where I find myself feeling guilty of neglect... what happened to the last month!? Gone... gone in a splash of blissful spring time boating! Not waisted, no no, but gone. Two more days, that was all I got her up skiing for, and now it's done for the season. I feel like somehow I cut her short... Charlotte wants life and she goes after it! This is the child who began walking on her 8 month birthday and has not slowed down since... and I, I am simply a tool for bringing opportunity to her, while watching Blissfully as she eats it up. I am reminded of one beautiful powder day this winter, we were skiing some of her favorite trees, straight off behind the patrol shack at the top of the lift, when she suddenly stopped and said "Wow, this is steep! Hey! Do steep and deep rhyme!?" Both of us giggling, she took off again... shredding those steep and deep trees, at her three and a half year old pace, not fast, but efficient.
Loving life on a powder day! 
     So ski season ebbed it's final tidal withdraw, as we three were already fulling riding the trickling, but growing flow into River season... at least we weren't too far down stream... we did get those last two days, and I am grateful.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Stories

     We are getting ready for tomorrow, it's the last day of the ski season, oh & it's also Easter. Easter often seems to take me by surprise. We already celebrated the Spring Equinox, right? Right... well, sure! Lets keep celebrating spring & rebirth! Yay Spring! Rebirth of the world, & Rivers flowing!
      I'm often on the Salt River during Easter, living in the guide slums of 2nd camp, halfway down the day stretch, on a bumpy dusty dirt road known as Apache Highway One. Easter there is noted by the sudden appearance of dozens of Apache families picnicking and fishing on the beaches of 2nd camp, and by the colored egg shell confetti decorating the beach the next day. Generally just another beautiful work day in paradise, noted by slightly awkward beach landing at lunch, and next day trash mitigation.
Zip Line! Easter 2011
     It's been a couple years since I've worked the Salt though... lets see, last year we went to an awesome Easter party comprised mostly of River parents & little shredders (all dolled up in their Easter Dresses!) The egg hunt was fun & all, but the zip line seemed to be the main attraction! The year before that... um... oh yeah! Shist Camp in the Grand! One lovely lady on our trip had the wherewithal to bring plastic eggs & place them all around the dark cliff behind the kitchen before anyone else was up! (Again, I was totally out of the loop & didn't even know it was Easter!) What was important to me was that I had talked to Charlotte on the phone at Phantom Ranch the day before, & we all aced Crystal beautifully that day.
The Crystal Hole, Easter 2010
     This year, well. Like I said, pretty big day tomorrow, end of ski season. And I am excited to sport my original '80's hot pink Obermyer jacket & stretch pant gaper outfit! Easter though, right. So we dyed eggs after supper, and once Charlotte was in bed & the dishes done, I commenced to do what any parent does the night before Easter. I pulled out the package of cheep plastic, made in China toxic BPA (& who know what else) laden plastic eggs, and filled them with all natural nothing artificial bunny gummies, jelly beans and chocolates. As I piled the filled plastic eggs into Charlottes little white felt bunny shaped basket... I was suddenly overwhelmed with memories of Charlottes first Easter.
     I bought that basket in Sholo, AZ on Easter Sunday 2009. Charlotte was 12 months old & we were down on the Salt River together, Mommy getting back to work & back on her feet. It was a low water year on the Salt & business was slow. Three of us actually had that sunday off, so we all four piled into a car & made a run to town... the Sholo eddy. I was desperate to do Something for her for Easter, but the shelves were shopped pretty bare by that point, that little felt bunny basket was pretty much my choice of baskets.
Egg hunt! Salt River Canyon 2009
     A town run from the Salt (be it the Globe or Sholo eddy) always takes a whole day. There is nothing in the Canyon except what we bring with us, so shopping, laundry, showers, filling gas, water & propane... it's a long day. Our errands were not heavy & we made it back to camp by dusk, but dusk it was. We got right to work as soon as we got there though! Mommy hid eggs all over our little tent site & Charlotte went egg hunting by headlamp! I don't think I have ever seen such a happy Easter egg hunter! No other kids to compete with, just her, her little felt bunny basket, her head lamp, & a whole package of prize filled eggs all over our camp! Even after the hunt was over, she kept looking for treasure, & found fun little things like wild flowers & a tent stake. Watching her that evening was like watching pure Joy in motion.
No more eggs? I found a tent stake! Easter 2009 
     Easter may sneak up on me more often than not... but it is almost always profoundly blissful! And ridiculous as it may seem... I love that silly little felt basket, and I love that Charlottes first ever easter egg hunt was in the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, by head lamp light.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Multitasking - San Juan River Mud

In light of how totally un-supermomish & lame I feel right now, having caught whatever soar throat & headachy thing it is that Charlotte had the other day. I though it might be nice to post a little reminder of the supermom multitasking skills that we all seem to be magically blessed with upon induction into motherhood... This is a brief video from two summers ago. R1ing on the Chama, singing a recently composed song - San Juan River Mud, while nursing a tired & cranky toddler! Yay multitasking!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Do Rivers Flow in Confluence With Motherhood?

16 month old Charlotte rowing along with Mommy. Salida float stretch - Arkansas River, CO 
     DO Rivers Flow in Confluence with Motherhood? This is a question I found myself facing rather seriously about three years ago...
     I was raised on the River, my parents were private boaters. In fact, maybe it began in gestation... my Dad started really getting into boating while my Mom was pregnant with me. However it started for me, it never stopped. We would do at least one trip on the Main Salmon, San Juan or Chama ever summer, and got as many day floats in as possible in between. We skied, hiked, climbed, mountain biked too, but none of it touched me the way the River did. The River flowed through my heart, pulsed in my every vein, pulled at my life...
    Due to divorce, my parents quit boating the year I was supposed to get my own kayak, and run my first Grand trip. I was about to turn 12. The River seemed to easily fall to the wayside for everyone else in the family. I however, could not live without it. By the time I was 13 I had found my way back onto the River! At 15 I began training to guide, and at 18 my career as a River Guide began.
     Fast forward eight years... My daughter was conceived on the banks of the Arkansas River in Salida, CO in early June of 2007. I worked the season, puking off the back of my raft every day. Futile beer fines for cleaning up rookies carnage eluded all but one crusty old guide who graciously brought me jugs of apple juice. My PFD pockets housed a constant stash of trail mix and crystalized ginger. "Morning sickness" was a joke, it was 24/7 sickness, and I did my best to not puke in front of guests. Often times that meant holding it until we were in a rapid so they wouldn't notice me hurling over the side of my boat, sometimes that last "paddle forwards!" was a little touch & go...
     Charlotte was born durning early Salt Season the next spring, my home birth didn't work out like I had planned, but somehow I think she wanted to be born on the banks of the Rio Grande, at a hospital three blocks from the Rio, in Alamosa, CO. We visited the Salt River seven weeks later, and her tiny toes were first baptized in the cold clear water of Cibique Creek at it's confluence with the Salt. I got on the water a handful of times that season, but took the year off to just be a full time stay at home mom.
     Fast forward one more year... My marriage had been failing for quite some time, and finally the PBR won him over & Charlotte won me over. So off we went, my one year old daughter and I... to Salt season. I didn't know where else to go, it's where I go every spring. There happened to be a family down there that season with a little girl about Charlottes age. Bella Rio's mom watched both the girls during the day so her Dad & I could guide. She & Charlotte had a blast together! It was a short season, but liberating.
Charlottes first boat ride! Salt River, AZ  (13 months old)

      Upon ascending from the bottom of that magical canyon though, I was faced with the reality of being an instant add water single Mom. We had to do what so many in my position have grudgingly done. We moved in with my Mom.
     Santa Fe, New Mexico was the last place I wanted to be. It was also the only place I could be. So, I printed up my resume, and with Charlotte in a backpack & my dog Alaska on a leash, walked down town to the Kokopelli Rafting Adventures office. There are only two rafting companies in Santa Fe, & knowing the Northern New Mexico Rio Grande commercial industry as intimately as I do, I knew I did not want to work for the other one.
     It was an Amazing season! The Taos Box ran through the second week of July (almost unheard of,) and the company that hired my bedraggled looking, baby toting self... treated me like gold, and still does. I was as high as the River! Life was beautiful!
     I found myself facing much self doubt though... here I was, a single mom, living with my mom, still guiding full time. Something nagged at me, like it wasn't OK to be a single mom raft guide. I didn't know any other single mom raft guides... had never even heard of one! But who was I? A preschool teacher? No. A waitress? No. I am a raft guide.
     This is when I found myself facing that heavy question that haunted me so... "Do Rivers Flow in Confluence with Motherhood?" I justified myself to myself, as I seemed to be the only one judging me. "She was a planned pregnancy." "I'm just trying to get back on my feet." "It's the career I invested in." I felt like somehow society wanted me to get a job at a daycare or something, be responsible, be normal. I tortured myself.
     Then my first overnight trip of the season arrived.  It was my first night away from Charlotte ever, she was safe at home with grandma & a bottle of expressed breast milk. I was excited to be working an overnight, but stressed at being away from my baby girl. I was TL, & had the delight of only other girl guides on the trip. They were both rookies & tried very hard, but I found my hands extra full. The distraction was good, but once the guests were fed & contentedly sat around the fire, dishes done & kitchen put away, I found myself in desperate need of relieving pressure in my breasts! I wandered upstream with my breast pump and sat on a raft, pumping milk, listening to the bubbling gurgle of the Rio Grande, and watching the moon rise over the canyon rim. Emptying a full bottle of breast milk into the lazy eddy, watching the milky water mingling in the moonlight, I suddenly realized that it was perfect. That I AM a River Mamma, and I can not be anything but. I returned to the fire relieved of pain in my breasts as well as my heart, where I sang and fiddled, professing (secretly through subtle song & emotion) my undying Love to the Rio Grande... my first True Love.
     Throughout the rest of the season I plagued myself less, suddenly proud of washing wetsuits with one arm while balancing a nursing Charlotte on my other hip, rather than self conscious. I came to realize that by being true to myself, as (radical as that self may be,) I was being the best possible Mother that I could be. To deny my nature would be cheating Charlotte of the woman she chose to be her Mother.
     Charlotte and I spent two years in the grace of my Moms home, supported, encouraged, Loved. Charlotte ran her first (out of utero) river float trip at 12 months old & her first class III run at 2 1/2 years old. As mentioned in my first post, her incessant begging for a kayak from the age of 2, produced one shortly before the age of 4. She now has well over 200 River miles under her young belt, & is a remarkably proficient paddler for the tender age of 4! She often tells me how much she Loves the River & regularly begs to go rafting, (as well as skiing, but that is a story for a different day...)
    Yes, Rivers DO Flow in Confluence with Motherhood, and I am Proud to be a Happy River Mamma, to a Happy River Baby.
Class III River Baby! 2 1/2 year old Charlotte in "Souse Hole" on the Rio Grande, held by Grandpa. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kayak practice or Dora?

It's monday evening... we missed the roll session at the local pool last monday due to wall bouncing overstimulated adhd type behavior. Charlotte (barely 4 years old,) participated in a super fun circus camp all last week, but trying to rally to practice our kayaking after day one of circus camp was just not going to happen! When she concentrates, she accomplishes amazing things! The week before, she learned how to paddle backwards in a straight line, and to stop her momentum when paddling forward. Awesome! When she's not focused though... bleh... it's just frustrating for both of us!
     Charlotte began begging for a kayak when she was two years old. She is now the proud owner of a bright pink Fluid Vaya (kids sit on top) kayak. It was her big fourth birthday present, though we gave it to her a few months early so that she could have as much experience in the pool as possible before river season hit.
     And tonight... we were both so excited to go paddle! It's April, there are only four more roll sessions left before the pool kicks us out & we have only the cold & swift river, (or cold & still ponds) to paddle on. We were gonna make the best of every roll session left! Yet this afternoon met us with the challenge of a runny nose & a sore throat... Poo. So, instead of loading up the boats & the swimsuits, we are curled up under fuzzy blankets, dosed on vitamin C and echinacea, drinking a warm cup of hot lime & honey, and spending the evening with our favorite digital friend, Dora the Explorer. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, and sometimes the flow just circles in a Dora eddy for a little while...