Last week, I took Peatuk camping without Nikola. The idea was that Nikola being officially tied to his work full time (the dangers of being a business owner) does not make me automatically tied down. I can still travel on my own and with friends.
Honestly, the idea of traveling on my own with Peatuk scares me, but then, I am the type of mother that felt very lost and confused when they actually let me check out of a hospital with a little human of my own. Back then, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep such a tiny being alive. Now, I am fairly confidant with basic survival, but I still worry about the temper tantrums and the utter exhaustion that comes from chasing a toddler around.
But, I was ready to give it a try, and I have a great sister-in-law and a friend who agreed to help me watch Peatuk, so I wasn’t completely on my own.
(Photos by Rain)
Our intention was to camp for 1 week at the Beglik dam and then meet up with Nikola. He would spend the weekend with us at the scout camp and we would stay for the week. Plans changed, though. We spent the first week at the dam, but Peatuk was very insecure and unhappy with Nikola when he saw him again, and he would not let me or Nikola out of his sight, so we scrapped the second week and came home.
Still, in one week of camping, there are many things I learned about myself and my son:
- Peatuk is quite adaptable. He can pretty much sleep anywhere, as long as I am there.
- Camping creates unique problems. Example: I always have to urinate first thing in the morning. The sound of the tent zipper wakes Peatuk up, and he will cry if I leave him there, but I often do not have time to wake him up fully and get him dressed. This can definitely be a problem if I ever end up in my own tent.
- Toddlers need way more food (snacks) than babies. Peatuk is not exactly picky, but being away from the large amount of choice he usually has is stressful for me.
- I am definitely not a “free range” parent. I thought I was. Then I saw the other parents there letting their children run all over the place without supervision and I realized that I actually very closely supervise Peatuk. Sometimes, maybe, too closely.
- “Ultralight” camping and backpacking is a thing of the past. So is easy train travel. I understand why parents have cars. Kids have a lot of crap. I would like to have less crap, but honestly, all of the crap makes me feel more secure. I mean, I am sure he doesn’t NEED 20 different toys, but when he gets fussy on a 4 hour car trip, I am sure glad I brought them.
- He doesn’t need as much camping clothes as I thought. I was thinking 1-2 outfits a day. That is insane. 2 outfits (1 hot weather, 1 cool weather) for every 2 days is fine. And, layers are key.
Overall, it was a positive experience, and I am glad that I exercised a little independence. It made me feel a bit more in control of my life. However, when Peatuk saw Nikola on Saturday morning, he refused to hug him or even look at him. He was so angry with his father for not being there, and that broke my heart, so I am not sure if we will continue our trips on our own until Peatuk is a bit older.
However, he loved being in nature. He loves playing with animals, having space to run, play, and explore without so much being off-limits, and he loves picking (and eating) berries. I want to encourage that excitement, so I definitely hope that there will be more camping trips in our near future.