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First Camp of the Summer

This weekend we went on a quick overnight camping trip on the upper Chena River. It was Memorial Day weekend, so prime spots by the river were a little crowded, but we found a nice shady, sandy, sunny, rocky place on the first level of heaven to spend and evening, a night, and a morning.

Of all the aspects of camping with kids, sleeping has been the most difficult to master. This time around, we put Jacob and Toby in a tent by themselves. Stephanie and Sarah had a tent with space for me, and Jamiee was in her own.

I was up for a while, reading and poking the fire. Stephanie was in the tent trying to coax Sarah to sleep, but Sarah would not submit. The light, the heat, and the unfamiliarity kept her wailing in distress for over an hour. Next time, Benadryl. When she finally quieted, I heard Toby wake up not knowing his whereabouts and start to cry. I went in to comfort him and leave, but the effect was short lived and he started up again. I ended up crowding in beside him and Jacob, stuffing the three of us in a one person, junior tent. It wasn’t very comfortable, but I was sleeping out of doors, next to my wonderful boys, and listening to the eternal sound of flowing water smooth countless stones.

In the morning, we were up and moving around when Jacob said he wanted to go home. His comment came on suddenly, seemingly unrelated to anything happening at that moment. When Stephanie asked him why he wanted to go home, he said he needed to poo poo. I knew this was a daddy job, and started toward him, prepared to go for a walk in the woods, when Stephanie mentioned that she had seen an outhouse at the entrance to the campground.

I drove him over and walked him into the outhouse. I lifted the lid, and he got one glimpse of the distance down that hole and lost interest. Nevertheless, I got him settled without the aid of his big butt to little butt adapter he uses at home, which required double hand holding with dad. He said several times that he no longer needed to go, which I understood, but I continued to encourage him anyway. After a moment or two of boredom, he asked if we had any books, another norm from home. I told him no, we didn’t, but that we could just talk instead. I asked him how he liked camping, I asked him how he slept last night, and I got the typically short answers of an almost four year old. Then I continued and asked him, what are you going to do when you get home, and without a moment’s pause he said flatly, “Poo poo.” Yes, son, that’s what most of us do after a night away from home.

After having had returned to camp a while ago, Tobias also announced he had to poo poo. Stephanie and I glanced at each other, she volunteered to take him, and they walked off into the woods. A few minutes later, Tobias bounded back in to camp, seemingly lighter than he had left, and announced, “I’m a real camper now, dad!” I guess his woodland walk had met with success.

As ever, Stephanie makes camping comfortable. I am still surprised by her enthusiasm for being in the outdoors, and I still expect her to be disinclined to go. But this trip was her idea, and she is planning for the next outing. In the morning as we started to think about packing to go, she reflected, “We need to stay out two nights next time.” Far from ready to go, she is looking forward to staying longer.

And as long as we can pack it in the car, she is ready. I mentioned backpacking sometime, but she hesitated.  She cannot understand the appeal of A.) lugging everything around, and B.) not having everything a person might want. And especially since we have kids, we are dedicated car campers.

The day concluded back at home. We had dinner on the back deck while enjoying the late day sun. During dinner, Toby spontaneously stood on the bench where he was sitting and walked over to me and said, “You’re my best friend at all!” before hugging my neck. I don’t know where he got that, but it’s the highest compliment I have been paid in some time. Good weekend. 

Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 12:18AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in , | Comments7 Comments

Reader Comments (7)

While I am super excited to come see y'all soon, the one thing I am not looking toward to is this camping! You are gonna have to try real hard to win me over for this one!
May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMel
Camping by the river. Sounds fun. Maybe I get to do that one night when we're there, and is there any fish at the Chena?
May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDad
*Holding my side from laughing* - Been there done that !! I guess we kinda stopped for a while after no# 5. I was always pregnant ;-) Great memories.
We had the old pop-up camper and always took the potty chair. Grandma Bette would so love you Steph.
May 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusie
"and I got the typically short answers of an almost four year old"

you mean that as Owen approaches the 4 yr mark he'll shorten his responses???? hard to imagine that ever happening!

glad you all had a great time!
May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
Right, right. I should have said "the typically short answers of an ANXIOUS almost four year old." He can also provide very drawn out recitations of his thinking.
May 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrian in AK
Scott loves to go camping; he will be jealous I better not let him see this post. :0) I am sure there will be a lot more camping in my future with Samuel!
June 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
This post makes me smile and giggle. :)

There is a potty seat that I got that maybe you could try for camping/long road trips. It is a convertible seat that has wings that fold out to sit on top of a big person potty and fold down to make it's own little chair that sits on the ground. It has bags you can buy that attach to it and have an absorbent lining *they look like plastic grocery bags with a feminine pad in them haha*
Anyway - the kids could do their biz on that and you can tie it up and throw it away without ever having to leave the comfort of your campsite. :) It even has a little bag to carry it in when you fold it back up so it isn't just lying loose in your vehicle.

June 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDayna

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