For the first time in two years, I am venturing out of the city limits and into the cool(er) mountain air for a long weekend with my kids. Now, as a few of you may recall, I attempted this sort of camping “vacation” in July of 2011 and it was, for the most part, an utter fail. My darling girl was 20 months, had no fear, and was a sprinter. For those of you sane people in the world who have no children, the rate at which a toddler can run is 3.0 x 108 m/s or the speed of light. Whichever you prefer.
A toddler + a boundless outdoor space = one infinitely stressed out and weary parent.
We ended up in a hotel room after the second night and then I sped back home first thing the following morning. I vowed to never do it again until she was older. Well, she’s three and a half now, so she’s technically older. She no longer runs like a crazed lunatic as soon as my hand is disconnected from hers, so I’m hoping this will go well. Is she ready now? I don’t know. I think the real question is: am I ready?
I’m making a pre-schooler play list and checking it twice. Coloring books, crayons, paper, and finger paints. Got it. A few favorite books. Yes. Thomas the Tank Engine pillow and her favorite blanket. Check. And I can’t forget her “new” camera. She’s an aspiring photographer and there will be an abundance of bugs, flowers, and animals to capture on film as only a child can. Butterflies, trees, and a beautiful trail along a river will keep her captivated in Oak Creek Canyon.
It’s time to give it another shot. I love to play outdoors and so does she, so the camping aspect makes perfect sense. (Not to mention it is significantly cheaper than hotel rooms, which is vital to a single mom on a tight budget.) To save a bit of time and possible frustration (should Maya revert to her toddler days), we are staying in a tee-pee, which Maya calls a tee-pee-pee, at a KOA. The camp comes loaded with a splash pad, a bouncy house, a playground, mini-golf, and a little barrel train that hauls the kids around the campground. She was a bit too small to truly enjoy the activities last time, but I think this time she will be at the perfect age. There are always other kids running around, so I’m guessing she’s going to have a ball and, for once, I can kick back and chat with Josh without interruption.
This is, of course, mere speculation. All hell might break loose once again and my soul will be stomped on and crushed into pulp by she who is called Maya.
The only other issue that remains: will my nineteen year old survive without constant connection to his laptop or should we acquire xanax for him before we leave? He used to be my camping and hiking buddy, but now he’s tethered to all things virtual. The fresh air, exercise, and sunshine will serve him well, for his body and his brain.
Have any of you had successful camping trips with your wee ones? Any words of wisdom you can offer?