Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our camping trip from hell

So the we went camping this last weekend for the first time with Mateo. One of the traditions Dave and I have been doing since before we even started dating is camping in New Hampshire, usually the North Conway area for you NH fans. So, despite my husband's better judgement, we planned a trip for 3 days and 2 nights of camping (tent camping mind you) in beautiful NH. Here is the run down of how what was supposed to be a relaxing, fun-filled, weekend of cherished memories turned into a trip from hell (or National Lampoon's, whichever you relate to better).

We started off deciding the best way to travel 4 hours with a 2 year old was to do most of the driving while he was asleep. So we left a 4:30 in the morning thinking he would sleep most of the way, then we would entertain him with music and sugary snacks. Well, leave it to my kid to defy all odds and stay awake from 4:30 AM through the entire ride except the last 30 minutes! This was definitely a huge problem for me. See, I don't do well without my 8 hours of sleep a night. Hence why I don't have a newborn. So my condition with this getting up early plan was that Dave would drive and I would sleep. But Mateo's idea of entertaining himself in the car was this, "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy, Daddy..." and so on. I'm not kidding you. It got to the point where, I'm not proud to say, I actually tried to order a 2 year old to go to sleep. I was clearly not in my right mind. Here's how it went.

"Mateo! Go to sleep right now! I am not kidding! Go to sleep!"

To which Mateo replied, "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama...." you get the idea.

So that was not the start I was hoping for. After we got to North Conway, everything went well for a little while. I'll skip over the good parts (booooring) and get back to the crappy stuff. Isn't it so funny when bad stuff happens to good people? Anyway, the main spectacle happened when it was time to go to bed.

The first problem was that we bought a new air mattress. We can all fit in our queen bed at home, although I wouldn't say it's roomy, so we bought a queen size mattress, thinking it would be the same. Well, apparently queen doesn't really mean queen according to the air mattress manufacturers. Apparently they think it's pretty funny to send people camping with an air mattress that is much smaller than expected and forces one adult (husband) to sleep in the car. Ha, ha, air mattress people. You got me!

So around 7pm, Mateo started signing that he wanted to go to bed. It was a little early for him, but we had a long day so we figured he was tired. Well, Mateo didn't really want to go to sleep, he just wanted to play on the air mattress. So after a half hour of trying to get him to settle down and go to sleep, I figure maybe it's too early and we should wait till it's dark. But, we had already cleaned him up, put on his pajamas, and all that. So what would we do with him for another hour? I can probably say that he's the only kid I know that still manages to watch an Elmo movie where I can't even get a cell phone signal (courtesy of our laptop). Yes....TV.... it's everywhere you want to be!

So an hour of Elmo's Grouchland by firelight and it's time to try for bed again. Long story short, he finally fell asleep at 10:30. And the real fun hasn't even begun yet. Since Dave was a the designated car sleeper, I was in the tent with Mateo. I should explain that because of complication with the cleft palate, Mateo is a very noisy sleeper. It sounded like I was lying next to a rhinosaurous with a bad head cold. And I couldn't sleep. So, let's say around midnight, I get up and run to the car to switch with Dave. Not a bad deal for him. He gets the air mattress and I'm stuck with the car. But at least it's quiet and I can try to sleep.

Having encountered bears in the wild twice before, you can probably say I'm pretty paranoid (I'll have to write those stories another time). Being in the car is actually riskier than in a tent because we store the food in the car. And I've seen a black bear break into a car effortlessly to get a little snack. So I devise an exit strategy should that happen. That's me, always prepared. Fast forward to 1:15 AM. Husband knocks...no, bangs....on car door. I about pee my pants. Husband says in an urgent manner, "He's screaming at the top of his lungs and won't stop!" Of course everything little sound echoes in a campground. So, Dave didn't know what else to do except bring him to the car. Lovely.

I take Mateo on my lap and he falls right back asleep. Dave and I argue about what to do next. We decide since he took sleeping pills (Dave, not the kid, although wouldn't that be nice?) he really couldn't stay awake even if he wanted to. So, now I'm stuck in the uncomfortable car and I have rhino boy on my lap while Dave is on the air mattress by himself having a nice quiet sleep. How did this happen? While I'm trying to make myself a little more comfortable, despite being in a car with a 25 pound snoring lump on my lap, Mateo wakes up, notices he's in the car and immediately wants to go in his car seat. Easy enough, into the car seat we go. Now some sleep. No, now Mateo thinks we should be going somewhere since we're in the car and he's overtired and completely unreasonable. So, knowing that this kid will be a bear in the morning if he doesn't get some sleep, I decide I might as well drive around, I won't be able to sleep at this point anyway.

So, I start driving out of the campground and down the dark wooded road heading in towards town. My plan was to drive until he fell asleep then park somewhere so I could sleep. But I was not about to park on the side of backwoods road. That's creepy even for me. So my only choice was to drive into town. I was driving no more than 20 mph and I felt like I was speeding.

When I got into town I parked in the brightest lit parking lot I could find and tried to rest. But Mateo in the car seat was disturbing. His head was hanging awkwardly and I was worried about his neck. Actually, I was worried about the chiropractic bill I might have to pay down the road. So I took my two pillows (my one and only chance for comfort) and made a little bed in the backseat for him. And then I pulled a Britney Spears. As I layed him down on the makeshift bed, he woke up and wanted the car to be moving. So, don't tell social services, I drove slowly around the parking lot till he went back to sleep. And then I nodded off sitting straight up in the driver's seat of the car.

In total I got about 3 hours of sleep that night. Around 5am I kicked Dave out of the tent and took the air mattress for myself. Dave drove Mateo around until a not-quite-as-ungodly hour in the morning before waking up for breakfast. Well, as I said before, I don't function well without sleep. I get very emotional. Apparently (my memory is hazy) I cried because the Dunkin Donuts line was long.

Needles to say we went home the next day. And obviously we will never go camping with him again. Not when he's three, or ten, or twenty. From now on it's timeshares, campers, or cabins. Our tent days are over!

On the way home, we all got to sleep. Mateo sitting in his car seat, me in the passenger seat with my pillows, and even Dave sitting in the driver's seat got a little snooze here and there. It was all good.



Mateo getting his beauty sleep in the back of the car


He, he, I just like his expression in this picture

1 comment:

Devan said...

It's always interesting.