I had a deal with my sister that when my nephew turned 3, I would take him on his very first camping trip! We would start with backyard camping in their backyard – the same as I did with my other nephew. I figured if we did everything the same, he would love it as much as his cousin right?
We picked a nice evening that wasn’t too hot, and I brought my big tent and JoJo over. He helped put the tent up the best he could. He brought out the sleeping bag I got him for his birthday (side note when he opened it and my sister asked “what did Dana get you?” he shouted excitedly “A BED!!!!!!” LOL)
They got a fire-pit and we roasted some “pores” AKA smores (he can’t quite say S yet – it’s soo cute).
When it got dark we went into the tent. He kept asking his mom if she was gonna sleep in the tent too, but she said no (neither one of my sisters is into camping). Finally when we said it’s time to go to sleep and he realized his parents weren’t coming he said “ok” and hung his head down like he was headed to his doom. This was such a different reaction than my other nephew who was soooo excited to go camping. My sister said goodnight to us and zipped the tent up. He immediately said how dark it was. Then he asked if he could get up and play a little bit – he brought his 2 best buddies Woody and Buzz. I said sure! I didn’t want him to be scared so I wanted him to do whatever he wanted to have fun.
After awhile he tried to lay back down and asked if I could tuck him in. About 30 seconds after I tucked him in he got back up and started walking around the tent. I let him walk around and play for a bit and then he asked me to tuck him in again. Repeat that over and over a few times and then I told him it was getting late and we should try to go to sleep. He snuggled back into the sleeping bag with Woody and Buzz and was quiet for a bit.
“What’s that noise?” he asked.
“Sounds like a car going by.”
“What’s THAT noise?”
“Sounds like an airplane.”
“Umm – what’s THAT?!”
“A motorcycle I think.” Man I never realized how noisy it was at my sisters house.
Eventually my nephew said, “I’m a yittw bit scawed.” (AKA I’m a little bit scared.) I will remember that sweet voice saying that so matter of factly for the rest of my life.
I talked to him for a bit and told him he was brave for trying something new and for telling me he was scared.
“I want to sleep in my bed.” He finally concluded.
“OK!” I said, “No problem! Let’s go inside.”
We walked in and his parents were waiting for him because I texted my sister as soon as he told me he was scared. We were inside chatting for a bit and I was surprised when my nephew announced that he wanted to go back in the tent.
So we went back outside, I tucked him in, Joey and I laid back down – and as soon as I did he sat straight up and said, “I want to sleep in my bed!”
Back inside we went and I again told him I was proud of him, but there were other people sleeping so we can’t keep going in and out. He decided to stay inside. My sister told me I could sleep on the couch if I wanted, but it takes forever to set that giant tent up, so I may as well sleep outside.
Joey and I went back out and laid down. I suddenly started thinking of the cemetery they put in not even half a mile away from my sisters house…and then I started hearing noises – like a horse whinnying when there aren’t any horses around that I know of, and someone randomly screaming.
“Now I’m a yittw bit scawed!” I said to JoJo, but she was already sound asleep. I realized my nephew left Woody and Buzz on his sleeping bag when he went into the house. Not gonna lie, I grabbed them and held them close as I drifted off to sleep.
In the morning I had to get up and tear the tent down FAST because a storm was rolling in. I got everything away just in time.
When my nephew woke up I asked him if he would like to try camping again – to which he told me;
Next time I will make sure my other nephew is available to camp out too because I think the little one will be more comfortable – and hopefully Woody and Buzz can make it too.