Camping with a teething kid

When we booked a weekend camping trip at the Interlochen State Park, Gladys and I were looking for a relaxing family weekend.  We ended up with a ton of sand, a new tent and a bunch of cute memories.

The majority of the camping trips I've been on have involved rain, including the weekend jaunt Gladys and I took last year before we knew The Kid was on her way.  It threatened rain the entire weekend, so Sunday morning when the sprinkles started, we decided to throw everything into the car and head home.

As Gladys was unpacking the car and corralling The Kid, I started pitching the tent. I was in the home stretch when we realized we left the rain fly out to dry and packed it away later, but not with the rest of the tent.  As a result, it was still in our closet in Detroit.  Which is why we decided to buy another tent. As a bonus, I've pitched two different tents the past two years in the dark.  It's a skill I think deserves a place on my LinkedIn profile.

We ended up leaving our other tent up, giving The Kid her own playroom away from Mama and Papa all weekend.  It was an unexpected added perk to our trip!

The next day, I needed to finish my piece of the final paper of my final class for my Master's Degree. My poor wife wandered for three hours with a teething 18 month old through downtown Traverse City.

That might be the most amazing part of the entire weekend. The Kid is cutting her bottom two canine teeth. She was a little more tired, ate a little more, drooled a little more and cuddled a lot. I can't imagine cutting two teeth without a bottle of ibuprofen with a bottle of Bourbon to wash them down with. For her, it's a minor inconvenience that shouldn't slow anyone down.  Amazing!

After a full afternoon and our first meal cooked over a campfire, The Kid enjoyed her first S'more.  It was the most carefully eaten S'more ever, which I believe is due to the fact this kid loves her chocolate.

We capped our weekend with a trip to West Bay on a beach near my old high school, chosen mostly because few Fudgies know it exists.  This trip to the beach, The Kid was able to play in the sand and wade into the water without interruption from parental units.  She was so tired when we left, she slept for three hours in the car.    

Which leads me into my favorite part of the weekend. She's slowly discovering how to pretend, and the connections she makes with pretending are pretty comical.  At dinner, she pretended to scrub my hair just like we scrub hers in the tub.  She would reach down, grab her shampoo, and rub it into my hair until she thought I needed more shampoo. The Kid was full of giggles and pats on the back for my performance, and my pretend shampooing was the best part of the weekend for me.

Goofy pictures are a part of fatherhood too!
My favorite part of fatherhood so far is watching her discover things. Her penchant for saying Bye lately has been funny, but watching her study us intently to learn how to use the word properly was priceless. Picking up every pretty stone and examining it for color, cut, and clarity is pretty cute too. Watching her learn to pretend has heartening because pretend is an integral part of a well-formed imagination, something I hope she carries with her for a lifetime.  These are all things this Papa will never grow tired of observing.

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