Did you know that today’s the day for the Great American Backyard Campout?
The girls love to camp. Each June, we come up with a checklist of what we absolutely must do to ensure a fabulous summer, and camping is always number one on the list.
This, despite our lack of camping luck. The first time that we attempted camping as parents, it was with just-over-one-year-old M at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. First, it happened to be freakishly hot. Also, M abruptly weaned herself, so after walking around with an ice pack stuffed into my shirt (just another example of motherhood robbing me of every last bit of dignity), we had to Abort the Mission so that I could go home and pump. For our second “real” camping trip, it started pouring down rain after we finished dinner, and it was coming down so hard that I couldn’t even finish toasting marshmallows so that the girls could have s’mores. They melted in the rain before they had a chance to toast. It continued through the night and the next day. W and I were ready to give up and go to a diner for breakfast, but the girls had such a terrific time that we ate in our small, sweaty tent.
Backyard camping, on the other hand, has been an unqualified success. If you’re a camper, you know that one of the biggest challenges is to pack the car with all of your stuff. In the backyard, you can skip this gruesome step–yay! And if you’re absolutely not a camper, you can borrow somebody’s tent, runinto the house (or even the store) if there’s something that you forgot, and the parents can even take shifts between staying out with the kids and getting actual, restful sleep. Really, if you haven’t camped with kids, you should try it. And do it with friends. You know that makes everything more fun. Last summer a bunch of friends camped together in a backyard, and after doing all of the requisite camping activities (cooking hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire, chasing fireflies, running around like maniacs), we settled the kids down with an outdoor movie (I know: it’s not wildlife. But it’s the only way to settle them down without going to bed yourself) and the grown-ups continued drinking and singing around the campfire. We are so doing that again this year.
Now, of course there’s something to be said for venturing beyond the backyard–anyone have favorite camping spots? If I get a few suggestions, that might be a future post.