I loathe camping. This is not a new revelation and we know Laura Ingalls, I Am Not.
The Fruit Loops, however, love camping. No, scratch that. They luuuurve camping.
This presents a major issue in the summer weather during prime “sleep outside under the stars, next to mosquitos, bears, rabbits and other outdoor fauna while inhaling latrine cleaner and reeking of campfire smoke” season.
They want to camp. I don’t.
They want to be bed buddies with crickets. I don’t.
They want to trudge in the dark with a full bladder. No fricking way, I say.
Like I said, we are at an impasse in the summer months, the Fruit Loops and I.
Yesterday, the 8YO came to me with puppy dog eyes and the phrase “Daddysaidyesandthatifyousaiditsokaywecancampoutside” coming out of her mouth so fast I didn’t know what hit me. I heard “Daddy said yes” and “camp outside” and “Daddy totally threw you under the bus because he didn’t say no first so now you are going to be the bad guy if you say no”. I swear, that’s what she said, right? I mean, you heard it the same way I did, correct?
Now, it must be said, that often, Hubby says yes and I have to be the bad guy because I’m the one who usually thinks ahead five or six hours. I’m the one who has the amazing ability to foresee the need for snacks on road trips, the uncanny ability to know that exactly six hours into a family party, one of the Fruit Loops will melt down from overstimulation and the recognition that deciding to let the kids camp outside will end badly.
Usually, my protestations are met with “Let’s just go with the flow” or “Ack, we’ll just see what happens” or, my new personal favorite Hubby espouses, “Be open to what emerges”. Uh, okay. But, when that bear emerges from the tree to eat our Fruit Loops, it’s your ass going out to rescue them, m’kay?
Against my better judgement, I caved (pun intended). I said yes to camping in the backyard. With bears. In suburbia. All with the caveat that I was NOT sleeping out there with them, that no one was to use the bathroom forty six times overnight and that I would lock the doors if anyone came in nine times for snacks. Amazingly, they accepted all of my terms. And by “accepted my terms”, I mean they had the tent halfway up from the basement when I sighed and said, “Uh, okay…”.
And thus, the Fruit Loop Camp Out 2014 began. Henceforth, FLCO 2014. Because acronyms are fun.
Here is the timeline, to the best of my recollection:
5:00 pm: Tent construction. Takes Fruit Loops over an hour but they remain undeterred. Mommy watches from chaise lounge with a glass of wine and a “I’m sleeping in a bed tonight” smirk on her face.
6:00-8:15 pm: The tent stands empty for a few hours to allow for dinner and a Boy Scout meeting. Campers are unwavering in their desire to sleep all. the. hours. outside. Mommy remains unconvinced. Says as much to Hubby. Reminder from Hubby to be open to what emerges. Eye roll to Hubby’s back. Who actually says that crap?
8:30 pm: The FLCO 2014 is on like Donkey Kong. Sleeping bags are arranged. Pillows are retrieved. Snacks are fortified. Sleep buddies readied at their pillows. iPad is fully charged (because who goes into the wild without adequate communication tools, right?).
8:46 pm: Campers seem happy and chipper. Parents relaxing on couch, tent in full view.
8:50 pm: Influx of “We see you inside while we are camping!” texts, photos, and emojis.
8:59 pm: Reminder to campers that texting is not part of camping and that Mommy would like to read in peace. Texting ceases.
9:10 pm: Park Ranger Daddy takes first patrol and deems Fruit Loops secure and uneaten by bears.
9:50 pm: Park Ranger Daddy takes second patrol. All is quiet.
1015pm: Park Ranger Mommy decides to retire to warm, safe, secure, bear free bedroom. Glance outside reveals no bears actively trying to gain entrance to tent.
1030pm: Park Ranger Daddy gets out of bed to turn on all backyard flood lights “to ward off suspicious behavior”. To which Park Ranger Mommy replies, “This was your stupid idea to say yes. Thanks for that.” Park Rangers try to settle in for sleep.
1040pm: Park Ranger Daddy gets up out of bed to open all windows on the back of the house “so we can hear screaming or if a bear is walking around”. To which Park Mommy replies, “I’m starting to hate you hard”.
1045pm: Park Ranger Mommy relocates to family room couch, window open next to her head. Tent is visible if she puts her glasses on and she could break through glass window in two seconds if bear starts tent breach.
1050pm: Park Ranger Daddy declares loudly in dark family room, “This was a bad idea. I’m bringing them in”.
1052pm: Words are spoken between Park Ranger Mommy and Park Ranger Daddy. Most words not nice. Most phrases include, “Learn to say no so I don’t have to be bad guy” and “I’m not going out to get them with you”. Will refrain from further discussion of conversation.
1056pm: Park Ranger Daddy is observed unzipping tent and waking Fruit Loops up out of bear hibernation like sleep. Irony is not lost on Park Ranger Mommy.
1102pm: Park Ranger Daddy drags very sad 8YO and bewildered 11YO up to warm, safe, secure, bear free beds. Park Ranger Mommy smirks and thinks “I told you so” however, does not say it out loud. Is enough that she knows this was a bad idea.
1115pm: Park Ranger Daddy and Park Ranger Mommy roll over in safe, secure, warm, bear free bed with cubs safely down the hall.
1116pm: FLCO 2014 is officially over.
6:36 am: Fruit Loops in bathroom angrily discussing tent displacement with Park Ranger Daddy as he tries to shave. Park Ranger Mommy feigns sleep. Because she told him so.
Despite the events of last evening, the Fruit Loops have not given up hope that the Park Rangers will grant them permission to camp in the wilds of our backyard again soon. However, when that permission is again granted, Park Ranger Daddy will be nestled in between them so that this Mama Bear will be able to get her beauty sleep in her safe, secure, warm, bear free bed.
Because I loathe camping.