After our glowing testimony about infant camping a few weeks ago, new parents and friends Dan and Emily put in a request to join us for the next trip. It just so happened that we were already thinking about heading up again before the summer was over. The four of us settled on a good date, and with anticipation we all worked on the logistics and eagerly looked forward to spending two peaceful days in the country together with our darling children.
Okay, maybe that’s just a little embellished. What actually happened is that Dan sent a clandestine message expressing his desire to join us, while warning that it would take some skilled persuasion on his part to get Emily to agree. I did all I could to assure him that there really was nothing to it, even with baby. Somehow he worked his diplomatic magic and, accompanied by a detailed list of stipulations and contingencies, got Emily to say yes.
So, were we right in our assurances? Or have we simply been blessed with an especially patient child, rendering our experiences an exceptional, if fortuitous, edge case? Kinda both. Little Eleanor was a fun little camper through all the waking activities, successfully abating her mother’s fears. She giggled and snuggled with her boy toy Ezra while the adults swam, set up campfires, cooked and grilled s’mores. We succumbed to no mosquito swarms, no attacks by wild vermin, no cooking mishap-induced fasts. Where Eleanor did not excel was at the sleeping part. Emily and Dan spent much of the night trying to encourage their crying, pooping, out-of-sorts baby to go back to bed. By sunrise, they’d each gotten just a few hours’ sleep. The bylaws stated it clearly: it was time to go home.
We enjoyed a lovely breakfast together in town while it rained, then we parted, they back to Minnesota and us back to the park for another day. We could hardly blame them for packing up, and we’re really thrilled we got to spend the day with them. Even though Eleanor’s not ready for the camping scene quite yet, I sincerely hope she grows into it, and that her parents give it another shot next year — even if it means we up the stakes from Clinton and cognac to Obama and thirty-year-old Scotch.
Meanwhile, back at the campsite alone, we came up with some special ways to pass the time…