Parenting: Camping with a survivalist and a toddler

One day camping will be relaxing again, right?

My husband and I are avid campers.

Most weekends in the summer and even into the colder months we can be found in a campground somewhere. We started off camping in a tent with nothing more than blankets, a few camping supplies and our fishing rods.

While we both have a slightly different opinion on what camping is, my husband would prefer walking into the woods with an axe and playing survivalist for a week or two.

I prefer sitting by the campfire or lake with a good book a cold drink. We both finding camping very relaxing.

One time I compromised my way of camping for my husband and we tried the whole survivalist thing.

The compromise was that we would take a tent and minimal supplies but we were going to catch our supper.

At the time I thought this was a crazy idea because I’ve never seen a S’more frolicking in the wild or a pack of jiffy pop enjoying a stroll through a meadow and I eat both of them on every camping trip but I was willing to try things his way.

We spent all afternoon and evening of the first day sitting by the lake, rods in hand to no avail. We didn’t even have a bite. Every time I reeled my hook in and there would be weeds attached I would joke that at least I caught the salad portion of the meal.

Later that evening we walked back to our campsite defeated, until I pulled a pack of hot dogs out I had hidden on the bottom of the drink cooler.

Moral of the story? Always pack an alternate food source. I may not hook a trout but I can catch a hot dog every time.

Then a few years ago we had gone up north for a camping trip and it poured rain. It rained for two straight days and our tent, blankets, clothes, everything was soaking wet.

I spent two days feeling damp and cold and I knew I was done tenting. While sitting in my tent in the pouring rain I could see other campers who didn’t resemble drowned rats actually enjoying their camping experience.

Right then and there I informed my husband we would be getting a holiday trailer next camping season, to which he replied, “Oh, so we’re going to be glamping from now on?”

Glamping is a term referring to “glamour camping,” not the traditional idea of camping or camping with too many amenities.

He wasn’t sold on getting a trailer and I really wanted one so the next year we purchased a small holiday trailer and camping in the rain and cold has become a much more enjoyable experience for me.

Fast forward a year or two and we are now camping with a toddler, a very mobile, very fast, very busy toddler. I thought camping would continue to be a relaxing experience, I was so wrong.

My days, which were once spent sitting on the beach sipping something cold, are now spent chasing Speedy Gonzales around a campground and trying to stop him from chewing sticks.

My son does not realize that when camping you are supposed to slow down and enjoy nature, not eat it. I don’t even remember what fishing is, my son is so busy running around to look at and touch everything I can’t even cast because he is running off somewhere.

My son finishes each day camping exactly the way I feel a child should, exhausted from playing and fresh air, covered in dirt and sand and sticky from marshmallows around the campfire.

And as he sleeps in the trailer my husband and I finally get a chance to sit for five minutes and relax and my husband will talk about when our son is little older and has the patience to sit and fish with him.

I look forward to those days as well because it means I may get the chance to once again sit on the beach sipping a cold drink while watching my husband and son catch our supper.

Christina Komives lives on a farm outside of Wetaskiwin with her family.

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