30 October 2007

Nature girl

We went camping in Mimosa Rocks National Park near Tathra on the South Coast for 4 days. It was a magical place in the bush (it was Banksia forest actually) with private access to the beach, which we had all to ourselves for most of our stay.

Ella coped very well with living in the bush. I didn't let her use the toilet because it was a bit too far for just-toilet-trained toddlers and it was a compost toilet and I didn't want to scare her! So she dug holes and crouched down over them to do her business. Though she got so comfortable with the whole nature thing that on a couple of occasions she didn't even bother with the hole. She got sent to bed without books one night for that.

She slept extraordinary well there. Must have been the sound of the surf and the fresh sea air.

She befriended the cheeky wallaby who stole a whole loaf of bread on the first night and forced us to eat half slices of bread the rest of the weekend. I so regret not taking any video of her walking up to him and bringing her face to about an inch from his and saying "hi!". She even managed to give him a quick pat on the shoulder on a couple of occasions.

Something I would never encourage her to do as I myself don't trust wild animals when they get that close. But he didn't seem to mind. She desperately wanted to pat one of the bush rats because she thought they were "sooo cute", but they were slightly less comfortable with having their personal space invaded.

She also coped well with a less pleasant kind of visitor: the clouds of flies that appeared out of nowhere on our 3rd day there.

This is the child that used to scream when one fly came even near her. On Sunday afternoon we were followed by a cloud of flies for a couple of hours and had at least 50 of the buggers sitting on us most of that time and she didn't even complain or twitch once.

She didn't complain about anything really. She sat on the ground to eat our camping food, helped wash the dishes in the ocean (though panicked when the waves came in), carefully avoided the bluebottles on the beach and went to sleep in the tent without any protest. And usually remembered to close the fly screen door even.

In brief, she is great to go camping with! She walked around in a t-shirt only for most of the weekend (her choice) and wouldn't let me touch her hair so she looked like a feral child. I didn't care because there was no one there apart from us.

And the girl has real sea legs! We went on a 3 hour whale watching trip on a smallish boat. We were too late (of course) so didn't have time to take any seasickness tablets before we boarded. I had also been told by another operator that they did not recommend taking children that young on a whale watching trip because they might get scared on the boat and because of the length of the trip. Did my girl prove them wrong! As soon as we started going over the fairly big waves Ella laughed hysterically every time the boat went down again. Another missed video moment. It was hilarious! After a while she also got very confident walking around on the rolling boat. I think she thought the whales in the distance were pretty boring and she wasn't even that impressed by they dolphins playing around the boat most of the trip, but she enjoyed the boat ride nevertheless. And no seasickness. We both have strong stomachs fortunately.

It was a fabulous trip and I decided that we will make it an annual tradition.

The conversation between mummy and baby toy zebra through their medium Ella on our last morning there summed it up I think:

Baby zebra: But I don't want to go home, I want to stay here.
Mummy zebra: Alright.


jeanie said...

I love that she enjoyed the boat trip so much - and that joy vs the whale disappointment is one of the things that kids really teach us.

Sometimes we focus on one thing, when there are so many other little things to see.

Neet said...

Hooray for camping with kids!! So glad it was such a positive experience for both of you!! We loved camping when we were kids (still do!). Ella's such a trooper! Love the wild hair shot :)
Neet and Dan