Canoe + Life Vest + a Water Gun + Smores + a Tent = Kieran's first camping trip!!
And he LOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVEEEEEDDDDD it. I can't even stretch the word out long enough. You don't have to take my word for it. I wish I had video of the different times throughout the day when he would blurt out, "We're having fun, guys." Or "This is really great." Or better yet, when he would lean over the side of the canoe, drag his hand through the water and just sing. I don't know the words to the song he sang, but it was pure and genuine. Just a 3 year old loving life.
We went to Elk River Canoe Rental in Kelso, TN, with several of our friends on Saturday. Our friends Jim and Angie organize the trip every year, and it's pretty incredible. We left Connery with RitaBa--just a little too young this year--and have been talking it up to Kieran for a couple of weeks. He's been excited and would say that he wanted to go "Today" so I really had my hopes up that he wouldn't get scared or fussy. And he never did. He loved the life vest and wore it for about 9 hours straight, even after we set up camp. He buddied up to our friend Cameron immediately, which was cute, especially because he's usually timid when he first sees people again. He wasn't scared in the canoe at all, even sitting on his own seat. He was very helpful trying to set up the tent. And, of course, he thought it was fun to pee in the woods.
We saw lots of tiny fish, some buzzards and geese, and even a raccoon who crept to the shore and caught a fish with his paws. Kieran took his "catcher" (a plastic fishing reel with a magnetic end) and let it drag through the water for the first 30 minutes at least. He even asked a couple of fishermen along the way, "Did you got any fish?" When they told him "No," he bragged, "I did." We were on the water for at least 6 hours, with a few stops for sandwiches, learning to skip stones and peeing in the woods. He never complained. Never. He helped paddle, but never quite got that he should oar from front to back. I think he liked the splash that he got when he pushed the oar the wrong way.
We bungee'd our canoe to a couple of other canoes for some of the trip, which really creates a party on the water ;) He loved being bungee'd to Nathan's canoe, because they could talk kid stuff and eat some of the great snacks that our new friend Sunni brought. Mmmm...Cheetos.
And if you ask him his favorite part, he will tell you the water gun fight with Nathan. Nathan had a Super Soaker and he used it well ;) He let Kieran have a small water pistol, and I don't think Kieran ever realized he was at a disadvantage. Later he got to shoot the Super Soaker, too, at poor Georgia, who was unarmed.
We got back to base camp and set up the tent. He helped hammer down the stakes, "because I'm s-rong, Mommy." And ran around like crazy inside it! Then Mike and Philip showed up, which was a real treat, because Kieran and Philip are great friends. They're only a couple of weeks apart, and they're in the same class at school. Philip had a new Cars tent, which fit perfectly INSIDE our tent, so they played inside a little bit. And wandered around with the "big kids" (or at least the experienced campers) Mitch, Natti and Nathan. We roasted marshmallows and made S'mores...with crunchy peanut butter--YUM!
The next morning, he wanted to do it all again.
Today, while we played in the backyard at home, he found a stick with a couple of points on it and pretended that he was roasting marshmallows! I am already anxious to take both boys next year. And in the meantime, we'll have to make some S'mores over the fire pit. Ah, the small joys of life.
(Check out the pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/amysandy/May08)