Burning Man and our 2 month old
Darn, a whole week has already gone by since we've been back. Only a few days ago did I finally finish washing all our dusty stuff, putting away the few costumes we brought (which we didn't wear anyway since we didn't go out much), cleaning out and cleaning up the RV, and washing out the dirt under Tesla's fingernails.
I wanted to jot down our experience for memory, but also to share with other parents who may be interested in bringing their baby to the playa...so the following is long. Overall, we are very happy we went to the playa. It was a lot of effort for sure. Dav has spent months acquiring our RV and making sure all parts are in working order. I had to organize our clothes and food in small increments as I took care of Tesla. You really gotta wanna go! For us though, the playa is home so as long as Tesla was safe, it was worth it.
I initially kept a diary while on the playa to reproduce here, but I can't seem to find it. I stopped mid-way anyway once I got the swing of things as I definitely chilled even after one day in terms of worrying over Tesla. I started the diary because the playa felt so different with Tesla, and I wanted to process that. The first few days were windy so I literally got out of the RV maybe 3 times just to walk around like 2 minutes. I had understood I might spend the whole week inside the RV for Tes when coming, so I wasn't frustrated; I was just very aware of how different things were. So I wrote about it...about how I found myself rocking Tesla to sleep while my husband was outside in the elements setting up our extra shade structure. The best contribution I could do was create yummy meals (which were actually fun to do since I had a fridge, stove, and counters!). During this time, I felt like we were in some time warp, on some frontier eking out a living with traditional gender roles. Part of me mourned that we would not be able to let go and run around the playa carefree. Part of me loved this new chapter of experiencing BM from a parent's perspective. I've partied 5 years, so it's time for something new. And I'm excited to show this world to Tesla.
I kept another diary of Tesla's every activity - pee, poop, feeding, napping. Just in case she got sick, I wanted to have detailed history of her behavior. At the beginning, I fed Tesla almost every hour...even when she was sleeping, I'd wake her up and give her at least a little in order to avoid dehydration. Due to that, she whipped through 15+ diapers the first 24 hours (thereafter it got back to normal). We brought 150+ diapers, and used under 100 for 6 days.
In terms of a typical day, other than the 2 days when we were completely holed up in the RV all day, we got out around 5am when Tesla woke up. We all bundled up, and I brought a sunhat for Tesla for when the sun started peeking out. It was very beautiful and calm during that time, and I enjoyed seeing the city at such an hour when we felt fresh and awake. We stopped by Center Camp for coffee, discovering that other parents and their babies end up there too in the early hours. By 9am or so, we'd head back. I never had the need for sunscreen.
We camped near the Deep End (great day party place), and made it out there twice during the day using a gigantic golf umbrella covered with reflective material. We hung out on the periphery and didn't stay long, but I highly recommend such a walking shade tool. It was fun to see folks dancing about celebrating.
We had a shade over the entire RV that kept it cool longer than normal, but by 2pm, we'd crank the AC on to keep Tesla comfortable until around 6pm. Unfortunately, it got windy at night so we didn't venture out in order to avoid dust. Thursday night was gorgeous though, so we attempted a night outing, but by then there was so much traffic that it was dusty anyway. I think enjoying the playa early in the week before it gets too crowded is key.
I honestly think Tesla was fine. She loved the constant attention from us and friends, and I think she developed a lot during that week. Of course we were careful with her, but I'm impressed at how strong babies are. I had read too that breast milk adapts to environments, and I think my milk changed for her needs (her poop was more runny than usual but not in the diarrhea way). She was one happy baby the whole week.
So if there is a conclusion to be had, it's that it was totally fine to bring Tesla to the playa. We did buy an RV, completely changed our goals about BM, and we left Sat morning before the burn to avoid traffic jams, but that's what makes BM so great; whatever your intentions or place in life you are, BM offers a lot. We are looking forward to more Campalician babies to join.
I do want to shout out a thank you to our Campalician friends who welcomed us. Even though we didn't join in their party nights, getting to hang out with close friends made all the difference. We considered checking out Kidsville for next year, but honestly, Dav and I would probably feel isolated. It's so much better to integrate Tesla into our close circle.
Pictures: 1st left is of me bored inside while Tes napped. We brought her swanky swinging contraption with us (behind me). Even though it took up half the sitting area in the RV, it was sure nice to have.
1st right shows a new T-shirt a friend gave Tesla. Being on the playa isn't just for going out. We have quite a few friends whom we see only at Burning Man as they live far away. They came to visit us, and brought gifts especially for Tesla tucked in their camel packs.
2nd left is Kenji, a Japanese first-timer from Yokohama. Dav listed my name & location under a geographical list, and I rec'd a visitor! This year, in spite of having the RV, I only brought necessities for us. I didn't have any gifts other than cheese and crackers. Next year, now that I know we can handle the playa as a family, I'm going to take advantage of having a fridge/freezer, and want to make yummy snackies to give away, like sushi rolls or baked cookies.
The last two pictures show our mini attempts to dress up...even though we just stuck around camp. I did Dav's hair up twice, and wore a little something that made me feel playful. Luckily, our friends Sion and Elaine brought their pro-level sound system, so we got to enjoy great music right at home.
hmmn: musings from the far east(erwood)
Big in Japan
Ed the Cat
Anil, the Nigritude Ultramarine
A Full Belly
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