Why we had to quit camping for 8 months… And how we restored the faith.
The concept of camping seemed like a fun family activity, we had a bub on the way so we lashed out and bought all the gear.
Four years and 3 kids later, we embarked on our first family trip. Beauty, we were right… it was a really great fun family activity. Taj (4 yrs) & Zali (2 yrs) had a ball scooting around the Big 4 Park while we relaxed with Billie (6 months) who wasn’t yet on the move and just sat with a basket of pegs on a blanket outside the tent.
Cool, we are “campers”… let’s go again. What could possibly go wrong?
Fast forward another 6 months and Billie is well and truly on the crawl, not yet walking and eating everything the ground has to offer. Setting up was a bit of a punish, she was happy in the playpen we’d so cleverly constructed for about 12 minutes. What do you mean you want out? You’ve got another 3.5 days in there!!
That first day escalated quickly to head to toe dirt which, had that have been it we probably could have coped. It was the style of dirt… you could have campfires anywhere at this spot we were at, so it was more of an ash/ charcoal/ sand mix. And not just crawling around in it, but waaaaay too much being consumed too!
Here we were continually trying to divert her from crawling into our fire while she ate and rolled in all the previous campers’ fires.
Bedtime could not come around quick enough! Thankfully Bilie’s new diet and environment had worn her out… as it had her brother and sister however, atleast they were just running around and riding bikes through it.
7pm and they were all sound asleep and we well into our second (maybe 4th) beverage! We continued to drown our camping induced stress sorrows until about midnight and silently crawled into the tent. I closed my eyes dreaming of packing up in the morning and going home. When I say I closed my eyes, the shut position of the eyelids lasted around 4 minutes until the dirt eating, charcoal rolling demon woke up screaming!! This is our child who’s always been the dream sleeper at home. Waaaaaahhhhh… she then wailed on and off until we could see the light start to change outside.
Against all intentions, we didn’t go home the next day as we were both way too tired to drive, we managed some relief from the dirt because our schnitzel had a 5 hour day nap.
We persisted through 2 more nights and headed home as planned.
Now look, I in no way want to offend anyone who has suffered genuine PTSD but we honestly came home so scarred from that weekend, washing EVERYTHING we owned, some things multiple times in fear a single spec of dirt or ash remained. I was putting Dettol in the kids’ baths for days. We had to cleanse ourselves of that memory!
After a bit of convincing, I withheld putting every last piece of our camping equipment on eBay.
8 months on we were ready to give this whole feral camping thing another crack…
And guess what, we’re back… the “Campers”!
What we did right this time…
First and foremost, the kid is now walking. Don’t camp with a crawler, life’s too short. Secondly, we chose a luscious green grassy spot, Turon Gates is a cracking property with loads more to do than marinate in dirt. We took the hiking back pack and embarked on a couple of little adventures.
We spent hours on a nice rocky river bank throwing rocks, we’ll take smooth round rocks over dirt any day.
Our faith in this fun family activity is restored, it’s a really nice way to hang out as a family without any screens or pressing chores and activities… and we have a new favourite spot!
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