I had truly thought, expected and accepted that our ability to explore would come to a halt indefinitely with the birth of our daughter. It is easy to fear the unknown.
Being responsible for a new, fragile human for the first time seemed like it would require getting used to before exposing her to variants of the outdoors. Gratefully, I came to realize that life has set me up to be comfortable in the natural space with an infant. With the birth of our daughter we were actually pushed into a deeper appreciation of the outdoors. Having her outside and adventuring with my wife and I has felt completely natural and like the right thing to do.
My memories go back pretty far in terms of adventuring about. I remember spending a month out of every summer camping with my dad throughout western North America. Other experiences were; leading exploration of rain discharge tunnels with my neighbors, running through the jungle in just my swimming trunks while avoiding huge spiders in Central America, meeting inhabitants of beachside communities built out of driftwood in Washington State, watching bats being chased home from the sunrise in the Arizona desert. My deepest memories are happily based around adventures.
It makes complete sense why, within a day of returning home from the hospital with my newborn daughter we were off exploring the outdoors. Our child’s adventures began by meandering through the Angeles National Forest and then arriving at the 25 million year old rock formations of Vasquez. That must have been the catalyst that ignited the desire to pass down the endless need to fulfill the drive of adventure.
Our daughter has seen a lot of her home state of California in many ways before turning one. In Sespe Wilderness she experienced the textures of leaves upon the tips of her fingers, in Big Sur she tasted the morning sea fog with her breath, at Trona Pinnacles she felt the crunch of the desert beneath her feet, in Big Basin Redwoods she saw the dappled light provided by towering redwood trees. At Carrizo Plains she heard the native grasses whisper in her ears. We've logged five camping trips and at least 20 hikes before she turned one.
We attempt to put our daughter in natural environments that help her gain stimulus from the surroundings. We find ourselves creating a life around our daughter that allows her to find her independence, confidence and ability to develop within all the environments she is placed in. We let her do her thing, not in a bratty give her her-way direction, but letting her curiosity have conclusions and lead to more questions.
We become engaged in the development of our child. We observe. We nurture curiosity. We explore together. When in the outdoors we are free of the ability to give her distractions that allow us as parents to tune out. By being present we get to cherish these moments that pass within an instant of time. Our phones, our TV’s, our work, don’t get to take our moments – our daughter does.
Nature gives so much to life and its developments…
So if you have that itch to take your baby out to explore nature, I suggest you do. Go to the park, venture the tide pools, play in the garden, camp, sail, explore within your comforts. Collectively you will grow from it and continue to discover more.