I couldn't decide whether to go on our family's annual camping trip this year. The thought of tent camping with a three month old baby seemed overwhelming, sticky, and scary. I mean, this is NOT glamping. We have no running water and our bathrooms are latrines. If Andrew became uncomfortable and inconsolable, I wasn't sure what I'd do.
Up until 3 days before, I planned to have Tim and Margaret go while Andrew and I stayed home. But, as I may have told you, Andrew can be a real fuss-pot, so I started weighing whether I wanted to be alone 24/7 with a fuss-pot, or roughing it with that fuss-pot where I'd have family support.
I made reservations at the closest motel to the campground so Andrew and I could stay there at night. If you've ever slept in a hot tent, you know it's sauna-like, but in a bad way. When I found out the weekend was supposed to be VERY HOT, the idea of a cool room was the only option, I figured.
So off we went on Friday, heading 3 hours away into the mountains, at which point I picked up my motel key. The additional 50 minutes on the world's windiest road to the campsite made me reconsider the feasibility of going back and forth to the motel. Andrew does not like the car, and I didn't want to put him through that.
Here's a towel from the motel gift shop:
I hoped the trip would be good enough for a few stories, but not EPIC enough to make it to dish towel status.
For reasons that are too boring to discuss, I should let you know that I've been pumping milk for Andrew since he was 4 weeks old, instead of nursing him. He showed a strong early preference for the bottle, so I just rolled with it. Or, as I like to say, twice the work for none of the fun. I was overwhelmed thinking of pumping and storing breast milk at a rustic camp site, but I was determined to make it work. We had bottles, coolers, and ice packs. But as I was pumping milk in the car, on the world's windiest road, we started to smell something burning. The portable pump, plugged into the car charger, shorted out.
Thankfully, I brought formula as a back-up, so I knew the baby would be fine, but I was now in an isolated spot with quickly filling boobs and a broken breast pump.
We set up camp and I tried to interest Andrew in nursing. He acted as if I were trying to feed him a Twinkie covered with dog poo. Uh-oh!
The hours passed, and my window of opportunity to drive back to the motel closed as darkness set in. Tim borrowed an air mattress for us, we unzipped his sleeping bag to make a blanket, and I wadded up a t-shirt to use as a pillow. I hadn't packed those things for me as I thought I'd be sleeping in a motel. Soon we settled Andrew into his Rock and Play.
My big fear was that he would cry all night, keeping everyone else awake. I dreaded not being able to console him if the new surroundings threw him off. Instead, he had the audacity to sleep through the night.
While this might seem like a good thing, to someone who pumps 4-5 times every day, it was troubling. I tried to sleep, but it was like having throbbing balloons full of hot rocks attached to me. By two in the morning, I was desperate. No pump. A sleeping baby who would not wake up to nurse. A husband snoring blissfully next to me. I had no choice but to start expressing milk by hand. For the next hour or so, I milked myself like a cow, soaking an entire beach towel. Good times.
The next two days, Andrew was more receptive to the boob, and he proceeded to help his mom out by nursing a bit to take the edge off.
Being outdoors all day kept him relatively fuss-free. Yes, it was hot, but we stayed in the shade and appreciated the strong breeze. The best part was having plenty of people to entertain him. The last day was actually cool enough for long sleeves!
Hi! I'm Andrew, and I slept all night in this tent!
We ate copious amounts of deep fried food, from chimichangas to funnel cake and fried oreos, told stories around the campfire, and watched some awesome wiffle ball. We even made Andrew his own little bathtub/swimming pool to keep him cool.
As Jack's BFF cousin and his girlfriend were packing up to leave, a huge bird swooped low over the campsite and kept making higher and higher circles until their car pulled out of sight. Hard times, good times, holy times.
I still can't believe we took a baby camping. I mean, I haven't even been brave enough to take him to Target yet!
Next year should be even more interesting as he'll be toddling around.