She can peel a clementine

Next week is Sophie’s last week in daycare. For all of August, she & I will be on vacation, and then in September she’ll start preschool.

Every day, it seems, she does something new. She can peel a clementine all by herself! She can announce that her food-tastes keep changing, and that today she likes mushrooms. She can inquire why we’re not going to a bike-race this weekend — and, when we tell her that it’s the brief lull between Ben’s various seasons, and that he’s happy to get a few weekends of family time, she wisely responds: “Oh, like me and mushrooms.”

Best of all, now she can hike more than a mile without being carried.

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I think the secret to getting her to happily hike on her own was giving her a backpack of her own. She hardly used the hat, sunglasses, or tiny waterbottle that we packed in her little pack, but she carried it proudly, and embellished it with dried flowers she found along the trail.

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She had whined “I wanna go home” on most of the hourlong drive out there, but, once there, it was our most successful family hike yet. Sophie caressed all the queen anne’s lace along the trail, admired the dragon-flies, respected the cacti, and inspected a horny-toad lizard.

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She scrambled over rock outcroppings as if there were nothing to fear.

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And we dangled our toes in the water.

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A weekend of family time is better than mushrooms.

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