4 Things that I’ll never do again while camping with a toddler
Instead of a family vacation to Sesame Place, a Sesame Street-inspired theme park in Pennsylvania, we opted to embark on our first camping trip as a family. After all, we’re Oregonians; Oregonians camp. But after spending five days in the great outdoors with my 2-year-old daughter, there are 4 things that I’ll never do again.
Photo courtesy: Alex Holt
1/Play complicated meals
My well-meaning wife really swung for the fences with our meals for the week. She made two great breakfasts – fresh cinnamon rolls and pancakes - and two great dinners – campfire pizza and chili fries. The meals were all delicious, but they took time: time to prep and plan before the trip, time to cook while camping, and then time to clean up. That was all time away from just hanging out with the family. In retrospect, we both agree, it'd be better to treat ourselves to one special breakfast and one special dinner and keep all the rest of the meals easy, easy, easy. Think bagels, PB&J, and hot dogs easy.
2/Leave trike at home
It would have been nice to have a trike or big wheel or something for my 2-year old daughter to ride around on. We didn't have any spare room to pack either of those things in our Subaru Forester, but next time, I’m determined to find a way, even if I have to bungy-cord it to the roof!
Photo courtesy: Rodolfo Mari
3/Reserve campsite close to others
Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if it’s at all possible, book a campsite that gives you a little breathing room from your fellow campers. Our neighbors were less than 15 feet away from us, and my daughter was going through her “screaming-ABCs-at-6:15 a.m.” phase. I officially apologize to whomever you were!
4/Force a toddler to eat s'mores
Ok, this one was a shocker for me to discover, and maybe it’s just my kid, but she doesn’t dig s’mores (insert gasp here). S'mores are a must for plenty of adults while camping, so by all means, bring the fixings. But my 2-year-old couldn’t have cared less. She wouldn’t even touch roasted marshmallows; she just loved eating the marshmallows straight out of the bag. Frankly, that did make clean up a whole heck of lot easier!
Writer Nate Baker lives in Oregon City, Oregon, with his wife and 2-year-old daughter. After having a kid, Nate and his wife figured that they should stop watching so much TV and start planning some childhood memories for their daughter!