Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I have been camping. Yea, verily, it is clear to anyone who visits me at my house that I have been camping, because “camping smell” permeates all of the laundry that is decorating my laundry room currently. Camping smell is very nice while you are camping. For some reason, it sours on the way down the mountain, so that when you get home and open your duffel bag it has turned into “camping stench.” What is it in our lower-elevation air that causes this chemical reaction? I don’t know.

I love to camp. I would not love to camp if we were tent camping, nor would I love it if my youngest weren’t as old as he is. I have tried camping with a baby and, since we have pledged to never bring children into bed with us, it never worked. Because the babies, awakening in a strange place, became inconsolable. They wanted their happy, familiar cribs. And since camping in with the whole family in one room is obviously the exception, we tried to bring said inconsolable noise-makers into bed with us—-but they, having been trained to prefer sleeping alone, would have none of it. Always hubby would spend the rest of the night in the car driving around with said noisemaker in a carseat so that the rest of the campground could get some sleep. So now that youngest is five and can be bribed and threatened to stay in his sleeping bag on a designated sleep surface, we are campers.

I love our tent trailer. But it is very old and I discovered this weekend that it is falling apart. There are the little things that we can fix when they break one at a time, but then there is the state of falling-apart-ness that makes my stomach tight and my breathing shallow and I begin to think that I won’t be able to rest easy until we replace the whole thing. Which we can’t afford to do, of course. So the question is, how much of the rattle trap can we hold together with spit and wire? I guess we’ll find out.

The good thing is that our little-engine-that-could van did actually get the trailer up the mountain. I’m not sure how many more times it will be able to, but for now I’ll just rejoice that we got one more trip out of it.

Here are the ingredients of a good camping trip:
Plenty of good, light reading for myself.
A really good read-aloud chapter book to calm the kids down with at night.
Enough paper towels, diaper wipes, sunblock and hand sanitizer.
No rain on the day we have to put the trailer down.
Enough marshmallows and chocolate for smores.
Minimal bleeding and no one throwing up.
A working furnace. (I didn’t say we rough it, did I?)

And we had all of these factors working for us this weekend, and thus it was a success. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go move the laundry.


Melinda said...

The age thing is a big one. I'm always afraid toddlers will fall into the fire.

Sounds like you had a great time.

And you can NEVER have too many baby wipes.

Christopher Bigelow said...

Man, I wished I liked camping. I like the idea of it, but I find that it takes so much work before, during, and after. And I hate the poor sleeping and the lack of a shower. So we try to take our kids tent-camping for one night every year, but even that is mostly a pain in the butt.

I haven't ever tried a trailer, but I have bad memories of my family's motor home growing up... Again, the work and discomforts outweigh the fun, for me. I'm a hotel/timeshare kind of guy, I guess.

Marj said...

We tent camp but during the course of the trip we have to get a motel for one night just to get a shower in. I wish we had a tent trailer. Have you tried duct tape?

I was always afraid the toddlers would fall in the fire too. My daughter almost did once.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way about the camping smell -- you put it perfectly.

I used to love camping before I had kids. Now I feel like it is having to set up a whole second household, and I'm not really managing the electrically-convenienced first one that well. (I do like it that Dean seems to do a greater proportion of the cooking when we camp -- I mean IF we camped.)

I'll have to keep your list of must-haves in mind in case I ever reach a life stage where my youngest is five or older.

Question: Do you know if Segullah's website is down? Did I break it by commenting too much?

Ang said...

I'm kind of a camping baby. I love the outdoorsiness of the whole enterprise, but I hate the cooking part and the sleeping part. Right now I have an excuse because of Wyatt (although I have a handful of friends who bring little babies camping . . . and I'm still balking at the 18 month old . . . but like you, I raise babies who don't like sleeping anywhere but a crib). Glad you had fun!