So, camping with kids.  It seems so simple, how different could it be?   If ever you find yourself asking that question, then you are in for one heck of a ride…

With my oldest recently turning 3, and his desire to spend time with Dad doing Dad stuff, I figured it was time to start camping with him.  The first test was a pretty low-key night in the backyard, and just meant to give us all an easy bail out in case things went badly.  Got the tent set up, trailer stabilized, a cargo net placed strategically so the kid didn’t take a 4 ft header off the bed, AC power for a rain noise machine because, you know, nature.  Lol  And finally, his Puppy Star Light or as we like to call it, “Doggie Stars”.  Then, 9p rolled around and it was bed time…

Lesson 1:  The “Cold Drill”

Q:  “Hey buddy, what do you do if you get cold?”

A:  “I get under the covers and snuggle with Daddy.”

Ok, sweet, nobody should freeze to death as it is still a balmy 55°F projected for the low.

*Note:  the “cold drill” comes into play much later in our story.)

Ok buddy, time for bed…

Lesson 2:  How much energy can a 3 year old possibly have?

So approximately 2 hours later, we are still discussing various topics like where do the squirrels sleep and why can’t Mommy camp with us?  And at this point, the bane of my existence is his Doggie Stars.  If this sounds cute, simple, and unobtrusive, then you would be wrong.  See, what Doggie Stars actually is, is more of a color-shifting laser light show cycling through patterns of stars and shapes, and somehow always pointed directly at my eyes.

Here is the devil I speak of.

Doggie Stars 01

Trust me, he is not cute, nor cuddly, at midnight in a tent with a toddler.

Thankfully, the kids batteries (not those of Doggie Stars) ran out, and sleep was achieved.  Unbelievably, we both slept until 9a with minimal interruption, or tomfoolery.  The lone incident that comes to mind was waking up at some point with the boy standing on my pelvis, both hands overhead grabbing the LED light string, and a very surprised look on his face when I asked him what he was doing.  His reply, “Testing the lights Daddy”.  “Ok buddy, let’s not test the lights anymore, time for sleep.”

And so night 1 of father and son camping came to an end.  Mission accomplished, went quite well, and I knew we could continue progressing with the ultimate goal of bringing him on some of my overland trips.  Goal for 2015 – WV camping night.

To be continued…

Leave a Reply