P thought that it would be a good idea to go on a tour of the caverns, to get out of the heat. P, JJ and I visited the Oregon Caves, on what was one of my best birthday trips ever. JJ and I visited the Carlsbad Caverns when he was eight. I would not hesitate to take SS to the CC, because it is an easy downhill tour. Sadly, they do not allow children under three. The OC requires climbing and it is not conductive to having a child strapped to your front. You would think that we would find out about this cavern tour, and see if it was feasible. We went to their website but there was no information. Again, you would think we would make an effort to ask people who have been there. But, the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-parenting gremlin struck again, and we just drove there.
First, we had quite a steep walk to reach the lake for the boat ride to the other side. I am not only out of shape, have issues with descending stairs, but have never descended so many stairs with SS front facing. We are using the Ergo front facing for the attachment issue. I managed to make it to the boat without doing a face plant, and mutilating my daughter.
As soon as the boat engines started, SS became withdrawn and laid on P's chest, looking scared (she was out of the Ergo). OOPS, P and I had the same thought, how is she going to handle airplane engines roaring for hours? Then SS did what our children do best, mess with our aging minds. She totally loved the short ride, laughing and squealing with delight. It wasn't the Pearl River Cruise, but she had fun.
Once we were back on dry land, we had a short, but steep hike to the bus. Dude, I immediately started feeling those 21 pounds of love. Remember, baby pounds of love weight more than regular pounds. SS was excited to be in a bus again, just like in China. She was a hoot. The road to the caverns is very narrow, I cannot imagine driving a bus through that. I have never had issues with heights, but when I looked to my right, a saw the cliff of death, my knees became weak. Fear got the best of me and I hung on tight to my little girl. As usual, I was annoyed about being weak. P simply reminded me that it was about SS. I have taken unnecessary risks alone, but never with my kids. Funny, guess which one of us has the psych degree?
Once we began the tour, our very knowledgeable, funny and charismatic tour guide, Jason, came to me. He pointed to a flight of stairs and stated, "I bet it's going to be fun hauling her all the way up there." OMG, what the heck have I done. We were there, and I was not about leave. My stupid mouth bravely told him that I hauled her around for two weeks strapped to me, and I would be OK. My brave mouth neglected to inform him that it was almost one year ago.
SS did very well and only tried to squirm out of the Ergo once. I still have no idea how I managed those 85 steps (I did not count, I took Jason's word) without passing out. And that was at once, there were more stairs to climb. Maybe the reason I have a brave (stupid) mouth is because I have a stubborn (defective) brain, that fails to scream DANGER! I carried SS for about 90% of the tour without realizing it. When I traded with P, I thought we were half-way through. Lucky dog! SS was not pleased that we traded and let it rip. I bet everyone stuck in that echo chamber with us was delighted. SS did calm down when P (mind you, we were in darkness) began to make growling, monster noises and faces at her.
We reached a chamber dubbed Dead Room. SS's comic timing was perfect. As soon as the guide said dead, she let out her maniacal laughter. SS just could not stop laughing (P was not goading her). People thought it was funny. We think she was trying to make it up to the group, for perforating or rupturing their eardrums earlier.
The Ergo came through for us again, because we could not have done the tour without it. Now way would we risk SS's safety. The best part is that because your hips do the work, our backs do not hurt. P loves the Ergo. This is the same man, who upon seeing a $28 carrier told me, "that hippy Ergo better be dammed good." Baby, it IS damn good.