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Ellie’s Kikki is the little green backpack that takes the shape of a jungle parrot. It was the one gift that lit up her eyes on her first birthday and her and the backpack have been inseparable ever since. She knew exactly what it was as her eyes sparkled with excitement. She proudly put it on her back and walked around the kitchen with giggles and grins radiating everywhere. She had seen “mama and dada” wearing backpacks and now she had one of her own.

This backpack might be adorable but to Ellie, it holds even deeper meaning. It was her personal pack that marked a turning point of independence. She had cleared the hurdle of learning to walk and now joined her parents alongside the rest of humanity by walking on two feet. She was getting bigger and growing stronger. The world was hers to explore and she now had a backpack of her own to accompany her on the adventures. She would stuff snacks, rocks, her favorite blanket and various stuffed animals into it. When we went to the climbing gym we would teach her to carry her own shoes and chalk bag. She was proud to take responsibility for her own gear. Somedays she wanted to climb with it on her back and other days she would happily place it in a cubby at the gym. It taught her trust. She would trust that it would be there when she returned and she always remembered to take it home with her.

As she mastered her fine motor skills, she quickly learned how to clip and unclip the chest strap by herself. These might seem like small milestones to the majority but I could tell that for Ellie, these small accomplishments built up her self-confidence and brought her pure joy. She treasured her backpack and she still does to this day. As her mama, I hope that she never loses touch with those small pleasures in life. I look forward to watching her grow over the years as the packs slowly get bigger and bigger and the trails longer and longer.

Walking around the park at Mt. Rushmore.

If you have a little one of your own, you can find this pack on our Dueter Kikki link.