Camping Chaos with Children – This Here Mama’s Plea for Help!
posted by: Amber Johnson
I have finally done gone and did it.
Please excuse my lapse in grammar. I am evidently experiencing such deficiencies in most areas of my life, particularly in the “I Will NEVER do That Again with Young Children” camp.
Speaking of camp, that is precisely what I vowed I would never do again while my kids are toddlers. And yet in what can only be described as a fog, I recently found myself clicking the “reserve” button on our campground registration.
I have also been a member of a fantastic hiking group for moms – Colorado Mountain Mamas – since my firstborn was six weeks old so my kids know the outdoors.
Just not overnight.
There is a reason for this. When my daughter Hadley was 14 months old, Jamie and I thought it would be fun to take her camping. Fun in the I-want-to-put-a-bullet-through-my-head-by-the-end-of-the-trip kind of way.
Hadley has always been an adventurous kid and loves the outdoors. But there is a world of difference between day-tripping or spending the night in a nice cabin vs. roughing it.
First, there was the issue of a tent. We are accustomed to sleek back-country ones that take moments to assemble. But we somehow thought it was a good idea to buy a tent from Costco that is big enough to house a small army. Have you ever tried to assemble a miniature house while battling a screaming toddler? We learned very quickly that we will never be invited to assist in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
[photopress:campmom_1.jpg,full,pp_image] Second, there was the issue of stuff. Everywhere. In the trees, on the ground – it all ended up in Hadley’s mouth. Our campsite was on a slope so if she wasn’t tripping over every rock or stick, she was eating them or attempting to roll over in the fire pit.
Third, there was the issue of sleep. Or lack thereof. Even though it was July, the evenings were cold. That, coupled with uncomfortable sleeping quarters, led Hadley to wail all night long. Both nights. If our campground neighbors had a choice, I am sure they would have voted us off the island. Both nights.
[photopress:campfood.jpg,full,pp_image] But I am still disillusioned by the dream of happy campers snuggling by the fire cooking s’mores and hot dogs. Well, minus the fat-free hot dogs, which I made the mistake of buying last time around. Note to the wise: if your hot dog turns putrid grey when cooked and your kid has the reaction you see in the photo, something is very, very wrong.
It has been three years since that cursed trip. This time, I have taken a Strength in Numbers approach and invited my friend Tina, her husband Mark and two of Hadley’s bestestest friends Nolan and Rowan.
This is the same woman whose children have been known to throw massive tantrums about “hiking” a flat 1/4-mile loop.
Should be a banner weekend. 🙂
Have you camped with young children? What tips do you have for surviving and thriving?