Last week we decided to take advantage of the sweltering weather, a lull in work (“lull” = “what’s the number for the DSS?”), and Teddy eating a full meal once every other day by going camping. Yes, I know. Camping. And, what’s more, we decided to do it for just one night. You’d have thought that having more than two brain cells between us (allegedly) we might have considered a different approach to a summer holiday, but no, we were quite determined.
We went camping last year for one night, too. But last year, Teddy was – if this is possible – even smaller. Not only that, but he wasn’t even crawling. We could plonk him on a bit of grass, he would become fascinated in said grass for three hours, and we could enjoy ourselves by struggling with those elasticated tent poles that come unelasticated and get stuck halfway through the little plastic tunnel they’re supposed to fit into. Oh, the sheer unbridled joy of it. Also, last year I wasn’t pregnant. Do please bear this in mind.
So. So. We went camping. Me, Dave, Teddy and our brand new roofbox. It turns out that camping with a very wobbly toddler (wobbly legs, wobbly moods, wobbly guts) is a very different proposition than camping with a baby. From the minute we got there, he was OFF. And, obviously, so was I. I waddled around after The Mighty Whingeroo, and spent about 13 hours trying to persuade him not to nick other kids’ balls, or to take ownership of their paddling pools, apologising to parents who were clearly peeved that alien chubby legs were taking up space in their carefully-thought-out camping accessories. (What had we brought to keep Teddy entertained on a campsite? Books and a stuffed monkey. We really didn’t think things through at all.) And during this time, Dave was putting up our tent on his own. It was about 50 degrees, he had to manage those elasticated thingies all on his own, and he had a bad back. I still think he got the better part of the deal.
After the tent was up, we enjoyed about five minutes of surveying our neighbours and trying to figure out which of them was Candice Marie*, and then we were off again, trying to track down the worst, most soulless, unattractive pub we could. We succeeded! They bought our planks of wood (these, for those of you who have happily managed to avoid such establishments, are what pass as plates in 2014) covered in grease and chips, two seconds after we’d started feeding Ted his supper, which meant that his nutritionally balanced meal was discarded in favour of yellow grease. Teddy had five chips the size of my head for his supper that night, and looked quite pale as a result.
And then it was back to the tent for a charming seven-hour bedtime routine in which Teddy, understandably, couldn’t fathom why his awful parents were trying to force him to sleep in a mesh cot inside a giant balloon that Hades would have found a little on the warm side. We finally sat down and enjoyed a good 20 minutes of adult-only time, him reading his Kindle, me searching on Gumtree for a Tens machine. It’s the stuff of dreams, really.
After about four hours’ broken pregnancy sleep on a “mattress” which deserves as much sarcasm as those quote marks can muster, no shower, and without changing my pants, we were on our way home again. On the upside, it only took about two days to unpack everything again.
Obviously, we’re thinking of going away again in August.
* If you don’t know, then shame on you. Seriously, leave now. Consult Google, and come back after you’ve administered a thousand lashes on your own, shameful back. And be ashamed.