I'm a Girl Scout troop leader. So, it was bound to happen. I would have to go camping. Don't get me wrong. I love the outdoors. I love fresh air. But I really, REALLY, don't like sleeping on the ground. Plus, I don't like snakes and have a barely tolerable relationship with bugs. The girls were thrilled with the idea, so off we went.
When I've camped in the past, I help my husband pitch the tent. I've never done it by myself. We had to have a whole tutorial in our living room, where my husband guided my daughter (age 8) and I through all phases of putting up, storing and taking down the tent and all its accoutrement. He expected me to remember everything, despite the fact that his voice sounded like the Charlie Brown teacher. We have two tents. One is a palace with two bedrooms and plenty of standing room. You could throw a cocktail party in that one, with tons of space for queen size blow up mattresses. When my daughter was a baby, her Pack 'n' Play easily fit in the corner of one of the tent rooms. That is not the tent we took.
Instead, my husband suggested it would be much easier to use the two person backpacking tent. See the photo above. Guess which one is mine? That is not a two person tent. That is a coffin. When you sit up, you have to duck your head. I had to do a weird snake roll to be able to reach my backpack that was stored down in the little 6 inch high foot well. My daughter and I were supposed to sleep in that together. My daughter, who thrashes, kicks, punches, sits up and talks like someone possessed, and loudly grinds her teeth. Sounds fun. The other moms immediately felt sorry for us.
I did not even bother attempting to sleep. I stared at the top of the tent, mere inches from my face, while the rain beat down on the vessel of claustrophobia. The land was at a slight incline, so I kept slipping down, around, and out of my sleeping back. It was super comfortable. My daughter started her nightly sleep routine of violence. At one point she flipped herself and got her head down in the foot well. I try to spin her back around and she opened her eyes, noticing the tent so close to her face. She gasped and started pushing on the tent with her hands, horror in her eyes, the total motion of a person being buried alive. That was a hard look to digest. She will probably need therapy, without even realizing why, as she was not really awake. I will definitely need therapy from seeing my daughter in that state. It took me a while to calm down.
We "woke up" the next morning (I just crawled out of the tent, she actually got to wake up), and she was refreshed and raving about her great night's sleep. Seriously? All of the girls wanted to know when we could go camping again. On the inside I said "never." To them, I smiled and told them we would get planning. My plan includes sharing one of those bigger tents and purchasing a cot.