Yes we were. We were that family that people got frustrated at, that people talked bad about, that made people groan. And really there was nothing we could do about it.
It started innocently enough. We had the opportunity to go camping as a family for the first time this past weekend with some good friends. In the past whenever Clint and I have gone camping, we have hauled everything on our backs for 8-12 miles and then set up camp at some little site in the middle of nowhere completely alone. Well at least with no visible other human around. This was a bit different. We loaded the van with everything we could possibly need (except we managed to forget fire starters and matches….) and then some and drove up to a camp ground. We were far from being alone or by ourselves. With two little boys we didn’t really mind people close and were glad that our good friends were just a camp site (or secrete trail walk) away. We got our tent set up, let the boys play, made fajitas, found a hidden teepee in the woods, and went for a good walk. I put Caedmon down as the guys and bigger boys got the camp fire going. He did pretty good, took a little extra rocking but was then down for good. We roasted marshmallows and talked around the camp fire until we were all nodding off (it was 9:20PM after all).
And everyone was sleeping pretty good, as good as anyone can on the ground in a sleeping bag. I was up a number of times during the night checking on the boys making sure they were sleeping ok and warm enough. It was during one of those checks that I made the mistake. I found that Caedmon had wiggled himself up against the side of the tent and my pillow (a luxury never known to me on our previous camping trips sans kids), I wasn’t exactly sure that he was able to breathe in that position. Being the good mom and doctor that I am I have learned that breathing is one of those vital aspects to life. And so I made the big mistake of gently nudging Caedmon a little so that air could at least reach his mouth, it’s not like I tried to move him a foot, I was going for a couple of inches at most. Clearly that was the wrong thing to do. He started screaming. And screaming. And screaming.
Now that wouldn’t have been that big of a deal if we were in the middle of nowhere camping. Or it if was well after the sun had come up and the rest of the camp was awake and moving around. But it was not even 4:45AM. And when I say he was screaming, I don’t mean whimpering softly, I mean he probably wouldn’t have screamed louder if I was nibbling off his toes with my teeth. We tried rocking him, we tried holding him, we tried giving him multiple pacis, we tried walking outside the tent, we tried water, we tried milk, we tried graham crackers, NOTHING worked. For 45 minutes he screamed at the top of his lung.
And then he settled down and fell back asleep.
For 10 minutes.
And then the screaming began again. And continued some more. I’m not sure he even knew at that point why he was upset.
Looking back, I’m trying to see the positives that came out of this experience. We got to see the sunrise (and the many minutes (hours) of pure darkness SLOWLY fading into the sunrise), and think of all the other campers that got to experience that gorgeous sunrise as well. I’m sure they were deeply thankful that we provided them such an excellent alarm so that they would not miss it. I’m sure that’s what they were thinking.
In fact, when we got back from “fishing” (which consisted of 95% of the dads untangling fishing line and 4% pulling boys out of mud pits and about 1% of the time in an activity that remotely reassembled fishing) later that morning, I was surprised to find that all the other campers had packed up and left, we had the entire section of our camp ground to ourselves (luckily our friends were brave enough to stay another night with us, which clearly defines true friends). And guess what? Caedmon slept the entire night (granted part of it ½ way under my pillow but I figured oxygen was over rated anyway), and didn’t make a peep until well after the sun was up.