Posted by: Hannah | 06/22/2012

into the wilderness

Last weekend we went camping.

I am not one of nature’s campers. I like to have a soft mattress, a hot shower, and brewed coffee in the morning. I have skeeter syndrome so I really hate bugs. Dampness pisses me off, rain makes me stabby if my feet get wet.

Camping is not my thing.

However! We have three boys. And a 95-pound Labrador Retriever. Hotels are out unless we put the poor pooch in a kennel. And he *hates* all kennels, except for one we found that is a two-hour round trip from our house. That one, he loves. But it’s not worth the driving for an overnight stay, and I can’t say no to this face:

Salty. Lookin’ fly.

So! Camping. In a tent, to clarify. We never go more than an hour’s drive from home, and so far we’ve only done overnights. The camping itself is the destination, and the boys love it. Sleeping outside! Hot dogs on sticks! FIRE!! They love it and I don’t hate it, so we went on a few trips last summer and it was pleasant.

Our first trip this year, I was nervous – because of this face, which I also can’t say no to:

Baby G. He’s my Kryptonite.

Where would he sleep? How would I nurse in a sleeping bag? What if he was carried away by mosquitoes? What if he cried all night?

None of those things happened, although it was a more stressful night than I’d hoped. Michael and the boys slept in the big tent with the dog. I had a wee little 2-man dome tent for the baby and me. Poor G – he had a hard time falling asleep. I couldn’t just lay him down; he’s rolling all over the place these days, and rolling off the air mattress onto the ground wasn’t going to be much fun. I couldn’t hold him in my arms and let him sleep, because he’s sleeping so well in the crib these days that he can’t sleep anywhere else.

Eventually I resorted to putting him in the carseat and driving off the campground for ten minutes until he conked out. Yay! for car camping! You backwoods people can suck it.

The first part of the night was kind of fun, because I haven’t co-slept with G for a while and cuddling up with him felt good… but then he kept waking. And waking. AND WAKING. And after singing every 70s tune I could think of I just gave up, stuck a boob in his mouth, and prayed for sleep.

Which we did get! Until about 4AM… when I heard this from the adjoining tent:

Harry: Dad? Dad! DAAAD!

Michael: What is it, buddy?

Harry: Turn on the light! I need to go pee!

There followed much rustling, and frantic whispering. And then the dog got out of the tent when Harry did, so then I heard Michael trying to call the dog, but as we’ve discussed many times, Salty loves Michael, but he listens to me.

Eventually everyone got back and settled down again, although I did hear more whispering for quite some time. And then the baby woke up again. And then because we are The Fucking Idiots Who Camp During Solstice Week, the sky started to lighten.

I heard the lonely howl of a coyote. I heard an owl hooting. I heard birdsong, just one at first, then more and more until there was a chorus of avian voices greeting the rosy glory of a summer’s dawn… and all I could think was “holy cow, nature’s majesty is SO LOUD.”

Baby G woke up for the day at 4:40AM. Mindful of quiet hours and the rest of my family sleeping peacefully only feet away, I scooped him up and went for a walk. The dog nosed his way out of the main tent – again – so I took him, too. I had the rare pleasure of using an outhouse while wearing a baby in a Bjorn and keeping a dog from running off. The mosquitoes were the size of helicopters and we were the only idiots out wandering around. Eventually I gave it up as a bad job and returned to our campsite, where I took a series of “trapped in a van with a baby & a dog waiting for quiet hours to end” photos:

Tell me again why we’re out here, mama?


Once everyone woke up, we actually had fun. We put G down on a blanket, where he rolled around happily and ate sticks. We took turns keeping the kids out of trouble and packing up the tents, and made it home by lunchtime.

We’re going again in a few weeks. And I’m sure it’ll be fun, again.

But damn…. this camping thing is HARD.





  1. Tell me about it. And we’re about to tent camp for 5 nights. What are we thinking?

    • FIVE NIGHTS??!? Oh my holy hell, woman. My heart goes with you.

  2. This is the funniest post I read in awhile. Anywhere.

    Now I know why I prefer to stay home on the weekends. And I don’t even have kids yet. Lol.

  3. I don’t camp. We have friends that camp at Sandbanks Provincial Park every summer. We go for a couple of days and stay in a hotel nearby. Do I feel like this detracts from the authenticity of the experience? Perhaps it does – I’m comfortable with that. You are a MUCH better woman than I.

  4. Oof. Sounds like you need a camping crib. Too bad the Phil and Ted ones are so expensive. I saw one once that was like a tiny little pod tent for an infant. It looked very practical and easy to travel with, but I have no idea what it was called.

    • A camping crib? What genius is this? It never even occurred to me to look for such a thing… *bustles off to google*

  5. Maybe it was called a peapod? I’ve seen a few that were Moses basket/bassinet style. They seem great…if Baby G isn’t super mobile yet.

  6. I’m glad you had fun, but camping (tenting, more specifically) is my idea of hell. I’ve told my husband that if we “camp” there had better be a picturesque cottage/cabin with indoor plumbing and kitchen. Baby G is so stinking adorable!

    • He is wretchedly cute. Wish I could figure out how to monetize him. 😉 I prefer camping at a spa, or possibly a nice hotel. Someday. Or we might invest in one of those pop-up camping trailer things. At least then we’re up off the hard ground.

  7. I did a weekend camp when my youngest was 4 weeks old. I made a sleeping bag for her out of two baby quilts, then tucked baby in her bag between daddy and me in our double sleeping bag. Everyone was warm, nursing didn’t require me to wake up much, and she was contained. Of course, at a month old, she wasn’t mobile at all…

    (Oh, and we did this exciting adventure with our two older children, then 3 and 7, and FIFTEEN TEENAGERS. Because I am insane.)

    That was then. Though we did camp for a few more years, I’ve outgrown it, though in truth the thing that drove me away wasn’t bugs or damp or dirt or raccoons, but the other campers. Radios on till 11 at night, campfire conversations till two in the morning… SHUT UP AND GO TO SLEEP, MORONS! I simply couldn’t handle another night of being up till two with the stupid people in the next tent, then up at four with the damned birds… who, so sadly, never seemed to wake up the morons next door.

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