I read an article a few years ago that compared social media to a slot machine. People spend time scrolling purposelessly and endlessly because sometimes it pays off and you encounter a great post. Lately, I had been noticing myself do this, scrolling Facebook for no real reason and not encountering much that I cared about. Once I realized this I started to cut back and be more mindful, but I was still feeling overly connected. When the weather started to warm up in May I started to daydream about going camping. If I was out camping surely I would be disconnected and would return well-rested and relaxed.
When friends invited me to go camping with them, I immediately said yes. A few hours later I started to have second thoughts. Will is a great sleeper, but he is a creature of routine. He falls asleep in his crib on his own at 6:30 each evening and then sleeps there until 6am. We have attempted some other sleeping locations over the past few months: our bed, his stroller, his car seat, but none of these have worked. “How am I going to get him to sleep in a tent?” I wondered and worried.
We left for our camping trip in the early afternoon. Will had a blast running around the campsite, being carried on a walk, and eating in a camp chair. Eventually he started to stumble and rub his eyes. Time for bed. We tried cuddling him in the tent, but that was unsuccessful. So then we laid him down in his sleeping bag, left the tent, and zipped it up so that he couldn’t see us. Five minutes later he was asleep and Kyle went to tuck him in. Phew, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now the relaxation could start.
We visited with friends for a while around the campfire. Eventually, Kyle had to leave since he had work the next day. Kyle is the only one that can get Will back to sleep in the middle of the night, but since Will was already down for the night I figured everything would be fine.
Things were fine for a bit. Everyone else put their kids to bed and we all chatted around the campfire. Around 11pm one kid woke up crying. By the time her dad got to her tent, the children in the next tent over woke up crying too. A minute later, I heard Will’s cry alongside the others. Sighing, I put the food and lawn chairs into the Jeep and then headed into the tent. Will had his pacifier for the camping excursion and he had lost it in the sleeping bag. He calmed down when I gave it back to him, but had trouble falling back asleep. After an hour of crawling all over me and poking my face he fell asleep.
Then, it felt like I had just fallen asleep, but it was probably a few hours later… Bark, bark, bark. The dogs were going crazy. Will and I both startled awake. I thought about popping my head out to see if there was an animal, but after listening for a bit I realized the dogs were far off. Then I began the work of getting Will back to sleep again. I gave him his blankie, his pacifier, and his Pooh Bear. I tried having him in his own sleeping bag. I tried putting him in my sleeping bag. I tried singing to him. I tried rubbing his back. Nothing worked. He wasn’t crying or upset, he just couldn’t fall back asleep. After an hour he finally fell back asleep.
….Only to be awoken again a few hours later by the dogs. The process of getting him back to sleep began again. At this point I actually considered just loading Will into the car, driving home, sleeping at home, and then returning for the tent the next day. The only thing that stopped me from doing that was I knew that the noise of the car starting would wake up all the other kids. Finally, he fell asleep and we both slept snuggled in my sleeping bag until seven the next morning.
As I was groggily eating breakfast I looked over to see one of the dogs cowering by a tree. Oh, so that’s what the barking was about, he had gotten into a fight with a porcupine and had 16 quills stuck in his nose.
After breakfast, the rest of the group got ready to go for a hike, but I started to pack up instead. “We’re just too tired,” I explained. Will and I then drove home. When we got home we each napped for hours.
My dreams of a restful night of camping were quashed, but it was actually very relaxing. My to do list was temporarily suspended. I didn’t pointlessly scroll through social media. I now can’t wait to go camping again this summer.