Saturday, July 10, 2010

Camping with a ten month old.

My cousin sent me an email asking for advice on camping with a ten month old because she is getting ready for the annual family camping trip and will be taking her little one with her this year. In her email she said "I know Liza was about 10 months when you and Mike came camping. You made it look so easy!"

Wow! Really? hahaha.

Ok. So it wasn't that bad but with her question my mind went directly back to that year of camping. It was cold. Especially at night. The I can see my breath kind of cold. So cold that you would rather lay in your sleeping bag losing sleep because you are trying to hold your pee a little bit longer because anything is better than getting out of the warmth in the sleeping bag.

But we survived. And so did Liza.

Some things we did that were helpful...

*We took her pack-n-play and set it up in the tent. That's where she slept. It was also nice to have because we could take it to the main camp site where the family was hanging out and when we needed a break we could put her in it.

*Take toys.

*Make sure you have snacks handy at all times. :)

*If another person in the family says "can I take the kid for a walk" say YES. Every time. You will need the break.

*If you have a routine stick to it as much as possible. Bedtimes. Naps. Mealtimes. Keeps a kid happy. Which in turn keeps a Mom and Dad happy.

Really though... we just basically did what we do every day. Except we woke up a lot earlier because for some reason the kids always think sunshine means wake time. You have to be flexible. And you have to toss out all the ideas of "even with a kid camping will be the same as it was before the kid." It won't be. It will be different. It may not be quite as relaxing. You might find yourself sitting alone at your own campfire instead of with the rest of the family while your kid naps or goes to bed earlier than everyone else. You might miss out on some games because everyone else wants to play and there is no one left to entertain your child but you. It will be different. But it will still be fun.

And with a ten month old... well you are just going to have to be ok with them eating some dirt. I just remember constantly hearing Liza grinding her teeth on large rocks. *shudder*

I miss camping. Maybe I will go again next year. I went when I was about seven months pregnant with Liza. I went when Liza was ten months old (and teething we found out when we got home) and I was about two months pregnant with Jason. Then we went again the next year when Jason was about five months old and Liza was almost two. We haven't gone since. I've been waiting till they get a little bit older and can maybe both miss a nap or something. Would be nice.

Oh... one last tip for camping with kids... those netted tent things??? People usually put them over their picnic tables to keep the bugs out. Well they work really well as a large, defined play area and they will also give you some shade. That was probably my best idea over the years.

Ooooh... and for toddlers that don't know not to walk in to the fire... we used those monkey backpacks. Yes the ones where the tails are "leashes". Favorite thing ever. The whole family would sit around the fire in a large circle and Liza wore the backpack. We could just pass the tail from one person to the next and she could only go so far toward the fire. No one minded hanging on to the tail and Liza was always safe.

Well there ya go. My camping advice for camping with babies and toddlers. It's not rocket science. It's just parenting in the woods instead of parenting at home. :)

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