This is our second season camping with kids. Last year we had three – a 6, 4, and 2 year old. This year we’ve added a brand new baby to the camping mix!
This weekend, we set up our family tent in our backyard so I could put a couple cans of heavy duty waterproofing on it to prepare for the season. We were supposed to backyard camp Friday night before waterproofing but we were rained out (imagine that!). So instead, we turned last night, Saturday, into a campout. We all took a hike on Timmerman trail by the Congaree River, came home, lit the campfire and spent a nice long evening reading and telling stories around the fire.
Once the kids were ready to migrate to the tent, we all piled in, arranged our sleeping bags, read a few more chapters, said a round of goodnights that would make John Boy jealous, pulled back the rainfly so we could view the stars overhead – and soon everyone had drifted off to sleep.
Everyone but mom, of course.
Little worries shot through my head – was our 6 month old baby comfortable and safe enough? Was everyone warm enough? (Our sleeping bags were second hand and I had no idea what their rating was.) Did we put out the fire? Was a mass murderer going to invade our yard and bludgeon us with his ax? How can I drown out my husband’s snoring (granted that runs through my mind every night)?
To heighten the anxiety, we were all sleeping on the ground for the first time too. This didn’t seem to bother the kids at all, but I had quite a time finding a comfy nook.
And of course every dog in the neighborhood was having a block party. And the sirens were going off somewhere downtown a few miles away. And….and I was thirsty. What kind of person crawls into a tent and forgets the water? Me. That’s who.
Finally, after a fitful few hours I began to doze…when suddenly I heard a brand new sound! A solid, undeniable RRRRRRIIIIPPPPPP sound of someone unzipping the tent.
Instinctively I realized who it was and shot my head up. My husband’s head popped up at the exact same moment.
“CALEB STOP!” we whispered loudly in unison to our 3 year old.
“My want some chocolate nunu!” He replied haughtily, insisting that 4 am was the best time for a large chocolate milk.
After we got him settled back down and Kevin (aka “Dad”) was snoring once more, the baby then awoke and wanted to play. With mommy. No one else. Playing at 4:30 am under the stars excited her far more than it did me. Plus it was chilly outside of our snuggly sleeping bag!
Finally I decided to call it a night (a day?) and I snuck out of the tent with baby in my arms. After tiptoeing back into the house, she and I feel asleep in a more civilized environment.
As far as camping goes, it definitely wasn’t the greatest. But as far as fun family memories and lessons learned?