Please don’t judge that kid having a tantrum…

For the last 3 years our life has been ruled by nap times. We’ve been down to 1/day with my son for quite some time now. We have a routine, with is something very important in the life of a child, especially a toddler/pre-schooler. He’s never slept in a crib or pack-n-play. We’ve bed-shared since day 1. Nap time has involved cool, quiet (but some white noise too), and rocking until he’s almost asleep, then lying him down on our couch in the center of our wide-open downstairs where I can keep an eye on him him while I do other things. Every, single day. So, next to my concern for inclement weather while camping, nap time was my next greatest concern. But, I really wanted to get away for a week & make some great memories on a family camping trip. Weeks of planning & advanced prep went into preparing & trying to ensure we were as comfortable as possible, but at the same time took only the basics as our Forester is quite small with 2 car seats in it. Day 1: 4 hr drive, which of course coincided with nap time & I thought for sure he’d sleep, which he did. For 20 minutes. His Sister was sleeping at the same time (which she did for ¾ of the car ride), so there was a brief period of me being able to relax as I looked back at both my kids sleeping. Ahhhh, I thought, this is going to be all right. Everything will work out; he’ll sleep if he’s tired. 20 minutes go by, a loud vehicle passes us & he’s awake. And tired. Oh well I though, he’ll go to bed early. We had a nice afternoon, got our tent set up in the hot sun, but then evening came & it cooled down & we had a good time exploring our new surroundings. Being it was the day before the Summer Solstice, it stayed light so long, that it was 10:30 pm before he finally fell asleep in our tent. Hopefully he’ll sleep in I then thought. Nope. He never, ever sleeps past 7:30, ever, and there was no exception this time.

We had a fun morning exploring a beautiful state park, had a nice lunch & he started saying “I’m tired Mama”. I made a comfy bed in some shade under a big beautiful tree, there was a gentle breeze blowing, it was absolutely beautiful out. I tried to get him to lie down, he looked so tired. That’s when things started going downhill. I won’t go into detail, but he had the worst tantrum of his life. On a Saturday afternoon as this state park was starting to fill up with people. Others were staring, or some were trying not to stare. Why am I sharing all this? Because I have certainly been guilty of seeing a kid flipping out & being judgmental. “Wow, that kid has some issues” or worse thoughts about the parent even, have crossed my mind when I’ve witnessed the very behavior my Sweet Pea was now exhibiting. Now, I was the one installing my rabid 3 year old into his car seat kicking & screaming, there was no talking him down. He was asleep in the car within seconds. We went back to camp, tore down, threw everything in the car & made the 4 hour drive home. He is napping in his spot on our couch now, where he has napped every, single day for the last 3 years. SO, please, next time you see a child having a very rough time, please try not to be judgmental towards him/her, or the parents, it will happen to you someday, just about guaranteed. As for camping, I’ll be giving it a go again for sure! In about 3-4 years when nap times are a thing of the past. While they do rule my life now, I know they won’t forever, and I know that I will miss snuggling my Son & rocking him to sleep in the not-so distant future when that ceases to happen daily. The rest of my Summer will focus on short trips close to home. We live in the country & are surrounded by woods, hiking trails & plenty to do. Those of you camping with little ones this summer, I sure hope you have a more pleasant experience than we did. I know not all kids have such rigid nap requirements & can sleep anywhere. Good luck to you! I actually had someone tell me “maybe someday the fun will be more important than the nap” when I said I couldn’t do something that was mid-day. Sorry. Doesn’t work like that, not for my child anyway. There is NO fun if there is no nap…

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