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Saturday, July 07, 2007  

Happy Camper III: Camp and Camp Again

We just got back from M. Small's third camping trip today. I mean to say, it was the third time he's been camping in his life, not that we went camping three times today. Although I'm just about that tired.

The first time we took him camping, he was just learning to walk. The second time, he was just learning to talk. This time, he learned to push me out of the paved lane that wound between the campsites whenever we went for a walk, just in case a car was coming. Next year we're hoping that he'll be just learning to do the dishes.

This trip was different from the two previous ones we took him on in other ways, as well. We went to a different campground, one that's slightly closer. It was a place about a half hour northeast of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Before then, we had camped in Black River Falls, about a half hour further away. I think we figured that the half-hour shorter journey meant that we would be able to get home faster in the event of an emergency.

It was also the first camping trip with M. Small when he didn't also have Trash's mom with us. Normally, two people is the ideal number for camping. There's enough to do to keep both people busy, between the setting up the tent and the cooking and the fire tending and the vacuuming, and no one ever stands around feeling useless or underutilized. But then you throw a toddler into the mix, and then you have one person camping while the other person has their hands full keeping the toddler out of trouble. Which, since we don't currently own any camping gear that includes childproofed cabinet doors like we have at home, can become a full-time job. That was Trash's mom's job, and she did it well.

We did miss her help this time around, but this trip with just the three of us was a lot more successful than it would have been without her before. We arrived on Thursday evening with about an hour of daylight left, and if you've ever set up camp in the dark like I have, you're not in a hurry to do it again. If you've ever set up camp in the dark with a toddler running around, well, why didn't you just get a hotel room instead like I would have done?

M. Small got a kick out of watching me put up the tent, and we were lucky enough to have two tent-peg mallets so that he could even "help." Then, while Trash was busy starting our fire and setting up our camp kitchen outside, M. Small hung out in the tent and helped me inflate the air mattresses. And I needed his help because out of the three pumps we brought with us, one of them had an unrecharged battery, another had a motor that was too weak for the job, and the third was manually operated and didn't fit any of the valves anyway. Which left my lungs. Every bit of available assistance was needed.

M. Giant: Whossssssshhhhh….

M. Small: What are you doing, daddy?

M. Giant: I'm blowing up this air mattress to mommy and I can have someplace to sleep. Whossssssshhhhh….

M. Small: (jumping on the air mattress) What are you doing, daddy?

M. Giant: Wishing I had enough air left in my lungs to yell at you properly. Whossssssshhhhh….

After a while, we were done, whereupon M. Small bounced on his own miniature air mattress and happily proclaimed, "I love camping!"

Last night, we explained to M. Small that the next morning, we were going to pack it all up and go home, so that we could get back in time to a birthday party he was invited to. I was wondering if he still loved camping after a full day of it. "Do you want to go home?" I asked him.

"No, I want to stay camping with you guys," he said.

So that's what we ended up doing that last night.

posted by M. Giant 8:31 PM 4 comments

4 Comments:

....vacuuming?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 8, 2007 at 8:12 AM  

Thank you for asking that. I was very confused. Do you vacuum the pine needles and dirt off of the other dirt?

By Blogger Emily, at July 8, 2007 at 9:38 AM  

Ants! I would totally vacuum up all the ants.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 9, 2007 at 8:01 AM  

Duncan Creek? O'Neil? My husband is from Chippewa Falls! We'll be back there in August (we live in Oregon). Glad you had a good time.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 9, 2007 at 10:00 AM  

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