I have grand plans for our summer wilderness chasing. I got a new family tent for my birthday and other camping parafanalia and have spent blissful evenings researching camp sites near and far. My basic plan is to sometimes plan and other times not to plan – just see the weather, and the two of us will blaze off into the wilderness.
So I thought I’d try putting up the tent. Then I thought why don’t the 2.5-year-old and I really test it? Adele thought I was mad. I reassured her that we were right there, could come back in any time if things got hairy. Or too cold. But introducing her bit by bit to camping in a safe environment appealed to me. But perhaps this sensible idea was off set by the madcap idea of doing so at sub zero.
The weather forecast looked good for two days so Talitha and intrepidly headed into the garden. She loved unpacking the tent, and didn’t really have a clue what was going on, but gave me a hand when directed.
She really started to get excited as it went up.
Once the tent was up, she wanted to spend all day inside it, jumping about, pretending to sleep, even doing some ballet (such is the vastness of our new Vango Beta 450XL), I had to pry her out to take her to some boring adult thing we were making her go to.
She took the idea of sleeping outside completely in her stride. I guess everyday different things happen at that age? They’re so open to everything.
We got seriously kitted up. Layers are key to staying warm in sub zero camping. She wore tights, vest, pyjama top (I would strip her down to this incase we bailed back inside), her fleece Tigger suit, fleece hoodie and her fleece snowsuit. I wore thermal socks, long johns and long sleeve top and one lambs wool jumper and another heavy knit jumper (loads of pockets of air). I also doubled up our summer sleeping bags. Ideally we should have shared a sleeping bag, but we’re not yet kitted out for that.
We went outside, she undid the bottom zips, I the top. We climbed in and started our normal bed time routine of reading three books, praying and then a song, she was obviously a bit hot and wanted to get out of the sleeping bag. I persuaded her to semi stay in, as it’s good to get some warm air into sleeping bags (some people say it’s good to blow inside your sleeping bag to warm it up). She fell asleep instantly which surprised me. I put her wholly hat on, most of her heat loss would be through her head. And sorted her sleeping bags.
She slept and slept and slept and slept. I didn’t! I was cold, I was worrying that she was cold, I was constantly adjusting her sleeping bags and beanie. To make sure she didn’t loose to much heat. I pulled my sleeping bags over my head, which was blissfully warm, but that only kept me up more as I worried that she couldn’t do that. I was distracted by our cat in the garden poring at the window. But I slept a little.
At 3am I was a bit fed up and thought I might persuade her to come in, I gently woke her, I needed to put her back on anyway, but she was adamant “No! I sleeping in the tent.”
Next thing I new she was talking to me and it was light. We’d made it.
The enduring thought is that kids can sleep anywhere. Next time I won’t worry. She WILL sleep.
In the morning we opened the door and wondered what the dust was on the outside, my sleepy head initially thought it was ash and realised it was frost. A first for me.
We headed inside, me feeling smug, Talitha wanting to have porridge and do puzzles.
Later on we took the tent down and she thought this was also a great game. My first tip on this blog… Go round and half pull the tent pegs out, then show them how to use the hook of one tent peg to pull out another, the loosened tent pegs come out easily for her, and pulling the pegs out can be her thing for years to come.