With six weeks to fill between the time our family left our old
home and the date we can move into our new home, we are trying to manage the crazy and increase the fun. After spending a few weeks at my in-laws (who very kindly have taken us in for the summer), I was feeling like our relationship with our little ones was suffering. Every day I was telling them “No don’t touch
this!” “No running in the house!” “no, no, no”, it just felt like instead of parenting I was becoming an enforcer and it was horrible – for all of us. So a decision was made. Time to stop enforcing and time to start adventuring!
For our first adventure we left the house and moved into the woods – Nickerson State Park to be exact. We
were lucky to be camping with our wonderful friends, who are experienced campers, and make setup easy and camp very comfortable. As soon as our tent was set up – the kids ran into the woods. They were soon catching frogs, finding wild blueberries, and building fairy houses. We all were starting to relax and the “no, no, no” refrain was quickly replaced with “yes!” One night turned into two and we couldn’t leave, we added on days to our stay. In fact, I’m still at camp at the moment!
My eldest especially is flourishing in the woods. I feel like there’s a certain breed of kid who was meant to survive in the wilderness. Her reflexes are highly tuned and her sensory perception is always on high. In a
domesticated environment this can prove challenging, but out in the woods she is in her element. Catching creatures, climbing trees, testing her strength and endurance, it’s a joy to watch!
The little one is less certain but she is still having fun putting on “fairy dance shows” with her friend and singing us songs about nature. I am revisiting all of my camp past-times and passing them along. My
daughter is finger knitting a scarf for her stuffed rabbit at the moment.
Spending all day together with all the time in the world to fill was at first a bit daunting but quickly became an amazing relationship recharger. My kids have been craving time with their parents while we have been in the middle of all the moving chaos and it seemed like it was so hard to make happen with everything that needed to be done. Suddenly they have unending access to us and it has made them relax and stop the frantic (though justified) attention seeking. Instead, we spend the day swimming, exploring, reading, building, S’more-ing, and enjoying one another’s company.
That’s not to say there haven’t been challenges! My kids can not
fall asleep when there’s any light in the sky. My friends’ children settled down beautifully at bedtime and quickly fell asleep exhausted from the days activities. My exhausted children screamed bloody murder and fought me tooth and nail to the point I almost drove us all home, as I was convinced the police
would show up at any minute to see who was torturing children in Nickerson.
After finally collapsing into their sleeping bags well after 9:00pm, I knew we needed a different plan. The following nights, while our friends’ kiddos went to sleep, my husband and I took the girls for very long walks around the campground. By the time we arrived back at the camp, it was dark enough and they were tired enough to settle in and go to sleep. As a bonus, we’ve been having some very sweet, end of day conversations during that time. Questions that have been brewing during the day are asked and discussed, hands are held and the day ends on a much sweeter note.
So now we are in a nice routine and we have only one night left. I am not ready to return to civilization. I am not ready to return to the “no” routine. I am determined to find ways to say “yes” more and let my wild child spend more time in the woods. I am actually considering buying a pop-up camper and spending weeks in the woods next summer. Am I crazy? Sure, that’s already been determined. But I think this time I’m on to something.
Has anyone else spent extended time camping with kids? What do you think, should I get a camper? Where do you like to camp? What are your favorite camping tips? Talk to me people, I need to convince some “non-crazy” family members that this is a good idea!
We have another adventure coming up soon, we are heading to Story Land in New Hampshire next week and staying at the Mountain View Resort in North Conway. Not quite camping, but another fun escape from reality! If you have tips about Story Land, Mountain View Resort, or North Conway, I’ll take those too!
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