The main rule when taking children of any age camping is you have to be resolved to the fact that they are going to get dirty. Very dirty. Within minutes of arrival Kaitlyn was covered in mud, eating rocks and trying to wander away from camp. Luckily it stopped raining and I didn't have to deal with mud the entire time but the first night's clothes are ruined. When either Kaitlyn or Teagan felt that their hands were too dirty they just wiped it on their shirts. A habit that has to be broken.
Camps do not have bathtubs. You are lucky if they have nice showers that do not cost money to use. Our camp did have nice free showers but that point was lost on the bears. They HATE showers. Now I tried to prepare them for this for a couple of weeks before we went. At home it was okay because they still had the bathtub to be in while the water came down. Not so much love at the camp shower. We used the handicap stall because it had a pull down bench which I sat them on as I scrubbed them down. Both girls screamed, not cried, not whimpered, screamed the entire time the shower was on. As they were being dried off. And basically until I opened the main door to leave the restrooms. The next night it was seriously considered to just let them be dirty. Unfortunately I wouldn't have been able to live with it so I decided to use our dish tub. Daddy boiled some water and added it to lukewarm water in the tub. Kaitlyn was first and complained a little to the sponge bath but sucked it up rather well. Teagan even stood by the sidelines and tried to help scrub her down. When I put Teagan in she just plopped her butt down and assumed it was her little bath. Certainly not an ideal way to get them clean but neither is being partially deaf because of their caterwauling.
I've never had a campfire around the bears as I felt they were not old enough to give it respect. They now understand "no" and listen to it as well as a 1 and 2 year old will, so we made a campfire. They stayed away because of the smoke even more than me telling them to be careful.
You know having a campfire means you have to have s'mores. Teagan and Kaitlyn were completely under foot as soon as the chocolate bars came out. "Chalkit? Chalkit?" over and over. Hubby toasted the marshmallows to a golden brown, took out the graham crackers and put down the chocolate to make little s'mores for the bears. They didn't even get a full bite into them before they spit it out. Not marshmallow lovers. So I took out the chocolate and left it at that.
Overall the girls were extremely well behaved and listened to us. I gave them more freedom to roam and play than usual so it was a give and take adventure that I think they understood as well. But we ran them everywhere. Up mountains, into gorges and down rivers. But that’s tomorrows post.
The special moments I’ll remember the most are morning bottles in their director chairs, the girl’s first watermelon slices with rinds, huddling in one bed to watch Monsters, Inc. on a laptop and witnessing the exploring spirit budding in each of my little bears.