Thursday, June 18, 2009

It counts as camping, even if it ends with brunch

At least nobody crapped on my kitchen floor today. OK, technically, when Barky crapped on the kitchen floor while Mama was busy with 3B, he was crapping on my kitchen floor, but I wasn't here to see it or have to clean it up, unlike unlucky Mama.

I was here, however, to take Barky out twice in 30 minutes this evening, for which I was serenaded with sounds that no civilized ear should ever be subjected to--the sound of a whoopee cushion full of jello being stomped on repeatedly came to mind. As I desperately sought for any other thought for my brain to latch onto, I remembered how 3B had observed, apropos of nothing, this week that "when you go camping, you poop in the woods."

That reminded me that we had indeed gone camping and I had indeed meant to scribble down some reminisces about it here or on a gum wrapper or dried out baby wipe before I forgot them entirely. As I stood on the lawn as far from our building as possible, listening to Barky's internal struggles, I recalled in no particular order:

  • I am not as good a dad as I would like to be. Sure, sometimes I think I'm the Zen-hug-it-all-out dad master, but the reality is much more spotty than that. Setting up the tent proved that. This was our first time setting up our new family-sized tent in the wild, where there are, of course, obstacles that weren't present in the living room early in the morning, such as wind and an excited boy. A boy who wanted to lean on, lay on, jump on, roll on and run away with every piece of the tent. Repeatedly. Let's not even get started describing how inflating the new air mattress went. You know, the new one since the old one sprung a leak because we let someone jump on it too much...yeah, that one. Anyway, my reaction was to pretty much directly oppose him every step of the way. Ever try that with a two-year-old? It's about as successful as asking Kim Jong Il very politely to please not launch that missile right over Japan--you can do it, so long as you don't care about getting what you want. However, despite my total lack of parenting skills in that moment--and many thanks to Mama who distracted and amused 3B while I was trying to figure out contact points A-M between the tent and the rain fly--I did manage to set up the tent without anybody resorting to tears.
  • I love nature; I love quiet nature more. Our night was uneventful--dinner, a walk to pay our fee, settling everyone into bed (us on the air mattress in the main tent, Barky on his bed in the vestibule)--until we tried to sleep. At that point, a bird started, calling isn't the right word. Shrieking is closer. Now we are not ornithologists, so I can't give you the Latin name of the bird, but we decided, Mama and I did, laying there on our backs in the middle of the night as 3B and Barky slumbered, that the common name of this bird is the Car Alarm Bird. Seriously. I have no better way to describe its call than to tell you to go to a parking lot, kick a Beemer and press your ear to the hood to get as close to the alarm as possible. At some point, some other campers finally rousted and tried to chase this bird off, causing it to call more excitedly and then fly around the campground calling vociferiously. I don't blame them for this, as I was already awake. At least I had something amusing to listen to.
  • It does count as camping, even if it ends with brunch. As those of you who follow me in my life as a twit know, we got up in the morning and headed out to brunch. I know you know that, since many of you snarked at me about that. Let me clarify a few things: it was Mother's Day, it was our first time camping with 3B, and it was Mother's Day. We weren't sure how 3B would take to camping, no matter how much he loves to play camper in our living room with his little tent from IKEA. The good news: he loved it. We also weren't sure how much we would love it, given 3B's propensity for sleeping perpendicular to us and Barky's propensity for running, groaning and baying in his sleep. More good news: we loved it. We also thought it would be a nice casual Mother's Day treat to stop at the Silver Diner on our way back home, which we did. We might have taken casual a bit further than most other Mother's Day brunchers, judging by the little boy in front of us in line who observed loudly about 3B, "That boy is still in his pajamas!" Hey, at least he had his Crocs on. And at least that boy didn't observe that after sitting around our campfire, we all smelled like we'd rolled in the ashes from Burning Man.
Well, in the 30 minutes it took me to write that, Barky hasn't made a move for the front door or the kitchen floor, so I'm going to bed. Perhaps next time I'll tell you about 3B's poop milestone at Grammy's.

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  1. Two thoughts:

    1) Not as good a dad as you'd like to be: Note that your dad thought showers were pretty neat, and (for all his many excellent points) never expressed any regret at not wanting to set up tents for the family and "rough it." So give yourself some points for venturing where one man had not gone before.

    2) Car Alarm Bird: Shotgun. PETA? No, never mind. Shotgun. Remember, slapstick trumps moral just about every time.

    Congrats on an excellent first time out with the crew!

  2. If he is so fascinated by going to the bathroom in the woods.....

  3. If you sleep in a tent, or anything other than a bed, it is camping. Sometimes the food is better than others. You obviously found the right place to eat.

  4. Anonymous1:53 PM

    We just stocked up on tents, sleeping bags, etc. in anticipation of our first family campout. I'm hoping car alarm birds only live east of the Rockies.

  5. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Love your style! Just wanted to let you know I'm sending my readers your way for a good chuckle (


    Jean B. in SC