Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Camping Paradox

Over Memorial Day weekend we went camping in northern Ohio with one of our favorite families in the world, the Parkers.

I wish everyone knew the Parkers.

And I discovered the Camping Paradox.

The first night out there the temperature dropped to the mid-30's. And despite my supposed 0-degree sleeping bag and double layers of clothing, I spent the night shivering and trying to sleep with numb toes.

Mary was dressed in 5 layers of clothing (nope. not exaggerating) plus a blanket and a hat and didn't make a peep all night. In the morning, in a panic, I felt her cheek to make sure she hadn't frozen to death. 

It was cold, and I almost fainted on the spot. 

Then she moved. My pulse gradually slowed to a normal rate.

I think she was far warmer than I was. Partly because of all that chubby insulation she has:

Having verified Mary's "still alive" status, I lay back down and tried to remember why people like camping. It's not the dodging mosquitos. It's not the greasy hair. It's not the woodsmoke perfume. And I don't think it's the latrines. 

In my hypothermic and sleep-deprived state, I hated camping with a passion unsurpassed by inflation, dill pickles, or mean people. I hated nature, I hated the cold, and I hated the people that rated my stupid sleeping bag at 0 degrees. 

As the day wore on and I thawed out a little, we went on a hike.

The entourage: 10 adults, 9 kids, and 3 babies

We laughed at the kids. We laughed at the dog. We ate a killer dutch oven dinner. We made s'mores. We stayed up far past our bedtimes talking around the campfire. We went to church smelling like woodsmoke. We shared recipes. We watched the kids put on a "parade". 

At the end of it all, we found ourselves asking when we were going to do it again. 

That, folks, is the Camping Paradox. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

To My Fellow Passengers

That child you hear screaming is normally an adorable, calm, and good-natured little cherub. 

The cherub. Smiling with her mouth wiiiiiiiide open.

You may be thinking to yourself, "Why didn't she keep that kid up during the morning so she'd be extra tired during the flight and sleep the whole time?" 

As a matter of fact, I did. That strategy bought me a whopping 30 minutes of nap-time during the flight.


You may also be thinking, "Her ears are probably hurting. You're supposed to feed babies during take-off. Don't you read "Flying with babies" blogs?"

I did and I do, and I learned that when Mary doesn't want to eat, Mary DOESN'T WANT TO EAT and will employ every means in her limited language regimen to tell me that: ripping off the nursing cover, screaming, arching her back, etc. 


I prepared for the 3 1/2-hour flight by giving her a double-dose of lactulose the day before. This was to clean her out and prevent the inevitable blow-out during the flight. Because every parent who has flown with a baby knows about the Airplane Enema.

I think you all know that was Fail #3, because you saw me carry her gingerly to the bathroom and return with her in a different set of clothes. And whoever the unfortunate sap was who used the bathroom after we did...I sincerely hope that the poop that seemed to cover every inch of her body and probably my elbows didn't find its way onto the mirror, faucet, or soap handle. 

I also hope you weren't planning on breathing a lot while you were in there.

I surprised myself by not regretting for even a hair of a second being this girl's mom. I also didn't break down sobbing, even though apparently that's what Mary was doing.

I did regret that, due to financial constraints, Isaac and I could not charter a private aircraft. That would have spared those of you who took shorter naps than you planned on due to the noise. Except the guy across the aisle, who was deaf. If that wasn't a Providencial seating arrangement, I don't know what was.

However, you surprised me by withholding glares, advice, and snide comments. If there were any, I didn't see or hear them, even though that's what I expected after such a flight as we had together.

What I did hear was four separate people telling me after the flight that Mary was a good baby, that Isaac and I handled her well, and that her smiles during her calm times were adorable. FOUR people. 

Sometimes I forget that a lot of people are also parents. And that a lot of people are just good people.