Well, we did it. We went camping with our three month old. I feel like we cheated a little bit. I mean, we did cheat a little bit. Our friends Cindy and Roger just bought a very posh camper trailer and they let our family of three sleep in it for two nights. So I guess we dipped our toes into camping, which was the perfect way to start.
As a new parent, I am still wrestling with how to continue doing the things we love while making sure that James gets what he needs (namely sleep) and is a happy baby. What this looks like so far is booking trips and camping adventures and crossing my fingers that things will fall into place. Right now, James needs a lot of naps. And by a lot I mean he needs to sleep almost every other hour. Which means I spend about half my day putting him down to sleep. Eventually, he’ll fall into a schedule, but until then, I have to watch for his little yawns and try and whisk him into the nursery before he devolves into a cranky crying mess. If I were to stick around to accommodate this napping routine, I would be able to leave the house for a few half hour spurts a day– which would in turn drive me completely nuts.
So when Cindy and Roger invited us to camp, I felt apprehensive but I also knew we had to say yes. I made Dan promise that if it all went south on Friday night, we’d abandon ship and head home to recover on Saturday. But all did not go south on Friday. Yes, it took an hour of crying and rocking to get him down on Friday night, but then he slept pretty well (except for that time he was awake from 5 to 6 a.m., but it’s all a distant memory now).
On Saturday, at 7 a.m., I zipped James into his soft white bear suit and brewed coffee while Dan built a fire. Then the three of us sat around the fire together. And of course everything I love about camping was all around me–the chilly mountain air, the smell of evergreen trees and campfire, a perfect cup of coffee, being outside at such an early hour. All of it. James seemed pretty happy about it too.
That night, he fell right asleep at 7 and I drank a little too much wine around the fire because it was my birthday and why not? Did it suck waking up for his little 5-6 a.m. stint again? Yes. Was I utterly exhausted on Monday and still on Tuesday? Yes, yes I was. But you know what? We all came out ok and it was totally worth it and awesome! Honestly, the worst part of the whole thing was the drive, during which he wailed. But we survived that too and I think James has forgiven us. I mean, he hasn’t run away or anything like that. Like the travel thing, I think you just have to go for it and see what happens. I’m still nervous about the camping trips we have planned for this summer. All my books are telling me that my baby is becoming less portable. That he will only sleep well in his own crib after four months of age. They tell me taking trips will ruin any and all of the sleep progress we make (which does not bode well for the three week trip we have planned in July). It’s not that I don’t believe them- but are we really supposed to stick around the house until he’s done napping at five years old or something? Maybe I will eat these words later. I might. But I want my son to see the world. I want him to have a sense of wonder and the wide world. I want him to sit under trees, beside lakes, beneath mountains and the sun. I want him to be well rested and happy too. So maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle. We’ll see, my friends.