Sunday, April 8, 2012

All You Ever Say Is "Beach, Beach, Beach!"

Yup, we went to Hawaii. And it was awesome. I had been telling Zane that it would be warm and dry and have good food, and it sure delivered. Before we headed to Hawaii I had been reading story books to Zane about Hawaii, and he was excited about seeing a coconut tree. He actually had a bit of a breakdown when we came out of the airport and he saw the trees just across the airport driveway, and we made him wait to touch one. We got a wonderful full sized car and installed Zane's car seat facing forward so he could see, and we were off.

Our condo was very nice but not at all the child-proofed environment we're used to! We spent the first two days moving things up and away as Zane found them: delicate tchotchkes, cleaning supplies, glass vases, phones, remote controls ... Zane was really excited to have his own room with a big bed and his very own bathroom! The bed was big, and we surrounded him with pillows, but he still fell out of bed the first night, so I slept with him after that. It was nice and snuggly in the mornings!

The property had a big lawn with palm trees dotted all over, and this led to a narrow but very long beach. There was also a fairly wide drainage ditch/creek type of thing that ended at a hump of sand about 20 feet from the water. It was perfect for Zane. We could quickly go out to the beach to dig in the sand, play with tadpoles and frogs in the "dirty water", and run around on the grass. Zane was not excited about the ocean water at all, so we only swam at the condo once, and that was in the swimming pool.

Our first big adventure was to the Sugar Cane Train. Zane is a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine and other train stories, so I was excited to show him a real steam train. We almost missed it! But we got there in time and even got some shave ice before we boarded the train (hence lots of nice pictures of Zane with crud around his mouth). Michael took Zane up to the front of the train before we got on, and the size of the engine and its loud PSSSSSST scared Zane. It was surprising! He enjoyed the ride, though. It was a one hour leisurely clackety-clack through back yards, by main roads, past a fire station, over a trestle, and through a couple of little train stations. Ukelele music was piped in to the cars. We were in the last car, but at the end of the line the engine detached and came around to the other end so we were in front for the ride back! We got to see and hear big jets of steam, watch water being loaded in from a water tower, and generally experience traininess. At the end Zane had fun climbing in and out of a stationary engine and pretending to drive. We bought him a set of little wooden trains that spelled out his name, and it was great to have a toy in the condo for the rest of the trip.

Naptime for this day and for the whole trip were pretty difficult. Zane's room was the only one without dark shades, so his room was bright with a fabulous view of the lawn and waving palm trees. He just couldn't settle down and frequently ended up rattling around for an hour or more or completely failing at napping. Several times I found him "reading" his books instead of sleeping which I was actually very pleased with.

Our next outing was to Fleming Beach. This was about a 45 minute drive north of our condo. That day was very windy and the waves were enormous. But still, the sun was hot, and we had a great time digging in the sand. Earlier we had stopped by a big drug store to load up on buckets and shovels and extra sun block, so we were well equipped. Zane had a fabulous time, except when Michael and I wanted to go swimming. The waves were really quite big, and when Michael went in he got a little nervous, but when I went in, he almost freaked out entirely. Finally he got up the courage to go to the edge of the water if I held him (he had a life jacket on). The second wave dumped water on his face and went down his throat, so that was the end of that. I guess it's better than having at toddler who wants to throw himself into the ocean!

Before we went to Maui I had just three things I wanted to show Zane: The Sugar Cane Train (check), the aquarium, and a submarine dive. Now it was time for the aquarium! Zane really likes the aquarium in Seattle, and this one has sea turtles, sharks, and a big plexiglass tunnel with manta rays! And it was a total bust! Who knows why. The minute we got inside he seemed kind of crazy, and it went downhill from there. I think maybe the inside exhibits were too dark. He didn't even respond to the turtle tank. There was one room with push button displays about dolphins and whales. Half the stuff in that room was broken, and it was the only part he enjoyed. After that, I decided the mini-sub ride down to the reefs could wait for another year.

Haleakala is a wonderful dormant volcano at the top of the big half of Maui. Michael and I really enjoyed it the last time we went to Maui. I wasn't sure Zane would like the long ride, but he ended up loving the whole trip! A long gentle and curving road about 20 miles long takes you to the top of the volcano. Along the way you pass little towns, farms, ranches, and a lot of changing vegetation. You drive in and out of clouds. Lots of clouds for us, so really no view that day, but Zane didn't care. At the top you are surrounded by black and red rocks and endangered silver sword plants. We knew it was cold at the top, but we forgot to pack our jackets. Luckily, it was quite sunny at the top and the wind wasn't blowing, so we didn't instantly freeze. We were able to get out and walk around a bit. Zane liked the idea that we were walking around on an old volcano, and that all the rocks came from the volcano. At the visitor center we bought a little stuffed i'iwi bird which sings a pretty little song when you squeeze him. Earlier in the trip we had talked about volcanoes, and I explained about hot spots and which volcanoes were awake and which ones were dormant. I explained that the volcanoes on Maui were extinct because the hot spot had moved on. Zane burst into tears and wailed "I don't want the hot spot to be gone!" That was really unusual for him! I think he was tired and also disappointed that he wouldn't get to see a live volcano. But in the end he really liked Haleakala.

That afternoon we had a complete nap fail, so we headed to Lahaina. Of course, he fell asleep in the car and was grumpy when we woke him up. I thought Zane would like the big banyan tree. There also used to be a store with baby pigs in it that we hoped to see. This, like the aquarium, was a bit of a bust. We had to park far away. The piggie store was gone. Zane could not have cared less about the banyan tree. Instead, he wanted to chase pigeons around a garbage can. The highlight was probably the ice cream cone.

On our final full day in Maui we headed to our favorite beach, Makena (or Big Beach). The sand has the consistency of brown sugar, and is fabulous for playing in. No sticks or pebbles in it. I made a sand bunny, and Michael dug an enormous hole which Zane easily disappeared into. Unfortunately the sand bunny's nose got chopped off just as I was taking the picture. The wind was minimal this day, and the waves were just right for bouncing in. Michael and I each took a swim, but Zane again got very worried when I went in. Finally he agreed to go in if I held him. This time we really had a good time. I very slowly went farther and farther in, holding him the whole time. Michael was a sea monster which made the whole experience very fun. Finally, at the end, Zane actually stood on his own two feet and let the waves lap his feet twice. It was sad to leave the beach knowing we had had our last perfect day on Maui. When we came home to rain and cold, this was the day we remembered most.

During the trip Michael really got a lot of good use out of his new Kindle Fire. Before we left he loaded it with books and games for the big people, and lots of games, videos, and books for Zane. It kept Zane pretty occupied on the plane, and they had fun playing games together, too. I have a feeling that as Zane grows up I'll be seeing a lot more of them playing together like this!

We had an uneventful trip home, and Zane seemed really ready to go. One morning of sleeping in followed by a day without a nap seemed to get Zane back onto local time. We headed out to our backyard sandbox, but somehow, it just wasn't the same. Note the hat and mittens.

I have some video to edit, but nap time is over, so I had better post this now and put the video out on another post. Easter and home front reports due soon, as well.


1 comment:

Global Grandma said...

Hi Zane,
Lucky you to go to Hawaii and Kitty got to go too! Did Daddy use sunscreen? He looks awfully white and exposed in the sand digging photos! Why where you afraid of the water? Maybe because of the time last June when you fell face first into the ocean when we were camping? I love the reading during naptime pic, a good way to rest but not sleep.

Love and hugs
Grandma Diann