camping

Yesterday, in an attempt to get a cranky 3 year old our of the house, we set up our family tent (never used by our family yet) in the backyard. After playing for a few minutes, I asked Noah if he wanted to camp out. It was a resounding yes.

The following several hours were only about one thing: camping. I was a little unsure if it were really all that good an idea, but I figured at worst Noah would toss and turn for 30 minutes and then ask to go inside. I’d put him to bed, and then go to sleep in my real bed.

It didn’t quite play out that way.

We couldn’t get him to stop talking about it. We finally decided we’d have to put on a movie, or else we would end up out there at 7:30. He would stand by the back door, looking into the sun, asking, “Is the sun down yet?” “Does it looks like it’s down? Can you see outside right now?” He’d lie. “No. It’s dark now.”

So we tried to find something on Netflix Streaming about camping, but could only come up with an episode of Backyardigans, “Pirate Camp.” It wasn’t about camping. 15 minutes in and Noah was talking about being very tired. The sun actually had gone down at that point, and by the time it was over, it was definitely dark enough to go to sleep. Mind you, it was still only 8:30.

Noah and I made our way to the tent, and he instantly demanded lights out. I had brought 3 volumes of Red Star with me, with the plans to read all off them and still be bored out of my mind. See, I don’t normally go to sleep any earlier than 11:30. Often not until 1am or so. So laying in a tent in my backyard at 8:50 at night was not a very hopeful scenario for me. So, I brought books.

But Noah was having none of it. The flash light we brought was useless, as he demanded I keep it off. I couldn’t even turn on my phone’s screen without being chastised. “Book are for in the morning, Daddy!” So much for my plans.

So I texted Teresa to let her know I was camping out in the Gulag, only to be scolded one last time, and then I put my phone down and accepted my fate.

We lay back and listened to the sounds of our neighborhood. I decided to save time by describing all the sounds together as “crickets.” I couldn’t ID half of them anyways, so no harm no foul. We did hear a plan going by, and that’s when Noah let me in ona 3 year olds outlook of the world.

“Is the pilot sleeping, Daddy?”

“No buddy, ideally the pilot’s stay awake while they fly.”

“Why’s he not in bed?”

Now, I’ve never been very detailed with Noah about what Teresa and I do after he closes his eyes at night, but he’s run out of his room enough times, well into the night, to know we don’t go right to bed. Perhaps he’s just ignored this fact, and chosen to believe that, once his light goes out, the whole world goes to sleep shortly there after. I guess Noah is a Buddhist.

So I decided I might as well give up the fight and see if I can fall asleep at 9:10pm. Surprisingly enough, it wasn’t too hard. I didn’t realize it until I heard Noah wake up in a panic, and I had to calm him, remind him he’s in a tent with me. I guess he woke up in sheer terror, which is pitiful, but hysterical to know that as soon as he knew he was camping again, he fell right back to sleep, as happy as a clam.

I woke up a few times through the night, but didn’t have too much issues sleeping. Checked on the boy each time, and he was sleeping like the dead the whole night. I also learned that he doesn’t really use his pillows at all, much like his father at his age.

From about 3am on I had to pee really bad, but kept holding out, until 7am when I just had to get up. Noah woke with the sound of the zipper, and started the day super chipper and quite proud of himself for making it through the night. I must admit, while I use to hold the theory that any more than 7 hours of sleep put me in a bad place, getting out of my tent 11 after going to bed made for a pretty nice morning. Although I then fell asleep a couple hours later on the man chair…hmm…who knows.

All in all, the experiment was a huge success. Noah threw fits any time I mentioned taking the tent down, and before bed tonight he was planning our next camp out.