Well, we did it! We went on a three-night camping […]
Well, we did it! We went on a three-night camping trip with four kids under the age of 7 and survived! And I even managed to have some fun. It’s like a miracle!
How did we do it? We followed these simple steps:
1. Have a panic attack and an accompanying meltdown. This was all on me. The day before we left I started to panic as I thought of everything I needed to do in order to get ready. That led to an overwhelming feeling of anxiety and doom. I reacted by texting all the other members of our group who were going on the trip and telling them that I was pretty sure we were going to bail. BECAUSE PACKING. It was too much. I really felt like I couldn’t do it.
2. Remember it’s not about you. After I texted everyone telling them that we were going to bail, one good friend talked me off the ledge by reminding me that there would be lots of adults present, and it would be a team effort in caring for all the kids, cooking, cleaning, etc. I also remembered that this trip wasn’t really for me. Under the best of circumstances, I think camping is OK. But the kids? The kids LOVE camping. Camping is like a dream scenario for kids. They get to play outside with their friends all day. They get to eat their meals outside, and then there’s a campfire where they get to shove their faces full of marshmallows. So I knew I had to suck it up and take them camping.
3. Go camping. So I sucked it up and off we went. Did I remember to pack everything we needed? No. Did we survive anyway? Yes.
Our group occupied seven of the campground’s 22 sites. Combined, there were 35 people: 16 adults, 19 kids and two dogs. Those 19 kids ranged in age from 9 years to 5 months. Almost every child brought a bike to ride and after befriending a few more children in the campground, we had our own little bike gang rolling around. There were PopTarts for breakfast, Twinkies for lunch and gobs and gobs of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars for dinner—with Kool-Aid served at every meal. There were numerous lakes within walking distance of the campground, and there was even a canoe trip one afternoon. The kids were in heaven! And there was plenty of beer for the adults.
Everyone slept well at night. (No one stayed up all night and screamed—which has happened on past camping trips.) Even Baby No. 4! I spent most of every night making sure she wasn’t suffocating on any of the nearby pillows or sleeping bags, but she was fine and slept perfectly. She was content to be carried around during the day, watching the big kids play and giving smiles to anyone and everyone.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you that camping with a 5-month-old baby was easy. It’s probably not even something I’d recommend doing. Almost every one of Baby No. 4’s poopy diapers was a blow out. I don’t know if this was a direct result of going camping—but it happened, which presented a unique challenge when you’re in the forest with a limited arsenal of diapers, wipes and changes of clothing. We did come home with a pretty substantially sized bag of poop-covered clothing. But all in all, we had a good time, and I’m glad we didn’t decide to bail.