Last year, the first outing we had as a family of five was to Milburn Orchards. This year, we hit the orchard a little bit early to go apple picking. Neither of us had realized until we got there that this was the first place Scarlett had really been to outside of the hospital and to visit grandparents when she was brand new.
We propped her up against a goat pen when we first got there, so that she was standing solidly on the ground, holding onto the wire for a good look at the animals. She was so into it this year. On her own, she bent down, grabbed a fistful of straw, poked it through the gate and then reached for the animal when it freed the snack from her hands to give it a pat on the head. She looked up at the camera with an ear-to-ear grin when two more full sized goats and a baby no bigger than a basketball came tumbling over too. She bent down for more, and she figured out how to distribute the straw among all of them fairly. Some for this one… Then some for that one… And some for the little guy too. Then she’d start again with the first, giggling contagiously the whole time.
We went apple picking and cider-doughnut picnicking in the grass and hay riding. She had a friendly donkey lick her hand, a horse swish it’s tail in her face, and a turkey gobble huffily at her brother who could have peed himself over the sound. Spencer even hung her upside down into the pigpen so that she could pat a pig-belly over the gate. We played in the sandbox, then fumbled through Mary and Matthew’s favorite inflatable obstacle course near the concessions and played a few fall games they had set up, like golfing for gourds. Mary even took her through the haunted house and haystack maze. It was awesome, and Scarlett loved it as much as any of us.
Last year when we went, she napped against my chest the whole time, snuggled into the wrap, barely weighing a thing. She came out only to pose, crumpled like a raisin in the sun, on a haystack and some pumpkins.
In the last week and a half, Scarlett’s hit quite a developmental growth spurt. She started finally crawling on her hands and knees, pulling herself up on furniture, and even scaled the staircase herself, twice. She’s also using a tightly pointed finger to skim the lines of text in her favorite books to pretend she’s reading, and is able to pick out the right word when we play with our YOUR BABY CAN READ flashcards about 70% of the time. (I never did these with Matthew -- But I totally wish I had, we love them!) Also -- get this, she’s snapping! Well, okay, she’s trying very hard to snap. But still, it’s pretty cool. Needless to say, her ability to enjoy the trip yesterday was heightened a great deal from even what it would have been a month ago.
I think this has been the most incredible year I’ve ever witnessed come full circle.
Baby, Baby Scarlett - A few days old (Fall 2010)
There aren’t really words to describe how it felt to see these two pictures next to one another on the screen of my computer once I got home -- but I will say, it was a very close second only to the trip itself.
Not-So-Baby Scarlett - A few days shy of a year! (Fall 2011)