Do you ever make a long term plan to do something with your kids.  Well long term is not the right word, but something in the distant future? You know, maybe buy them some floats with the thought of going to the pool, or buy a tent so that you can “in the Future” go camping.  Which is grand, you can prepare to do these things at “some-point-in-the-future” with no specific time frame in mind and you can spread the cost.

Which is all great until the kids find out; because then it’s “when can we go camping?”, “Can we go camping tonight?”, “Are we going camping this weekend?” and on and on and on…

For the last few months I was able to fob them off with we’ll do it “during the summer”. Then it as we got to the summer holidays it was “the tent is too big for our back garden” (it is) “We’ll have to wait till we’re in Granny & Granda’s or Donegal. Now it wasn’t a sudden aversion to camping which made me stall, but the knowledge that they would not settle well in the tent till late at night, likely would be up early and then cranky the rest of the following two days. I didn’t want them being tired and cranky, along with the school term.

Finally a few weeks ago in mid July, I packed the tent and new sleeping bags into the car to go and visit my parents. I did inform the kids that camping this weekend could only happen on the 13th July, depending on the weather and how things were going outside the garden (12th July in N. Ireland)

The 13th came along and it was dry and the streets were quiet, so the tent was pitched, mats rolled out and sleeping bags readied. My Mum seen it as her chance to mind Tomás for the night, but I argued that he’d be fine and that I wanted to see how he did sleeping in the tent before we tried taking him else where.

Camping out in the Great Outdoors

Camping out in the Great Outdoors

Aoife and Aidan were very excited. They were changed for bed and out in the tent long before I was going to put them down for the night. So stories were read,prayers said and they were left out there for a bit on their own to chat. There was no point me staying with them at that point, I’d get no peace and still had Tomás to get ready for bed.

Someone had already beaten me to giving him his bottle before bedtime, in fact they had given him two! As I settled down on the couch with his PJs and a clean nappy he clambered over to me with that look which can mean one of two things. Either he was very, very tired or he was not feeling very well and wanted a cuddle. Unfortunately it was the latter.

After a few minutes contently sitting in my arms he stood up, to climb on to me and promptly brought the whole two bottles up all over me. My dad fortunately was there to run and get some towels to clean up the sick off the couch and off my clothes. Dad then took Tomás to get him cleaned down while I went and changed into my PJs. Of course Tomás was now full of energy and wide awake again. So I got myself a bowl of cereal for supper, which I had almost finished when a well aimed swing of his arm and Tomás sent the bowl of cereal all over me.

So as soon as I was changed again, we were out the door for me to try and settle him in the tent, and miracle or miracles after tell him his story, he settled quickly in my arms. I was able to transfer him to his own sleeping mat and sleeping bag with out disturbing him. Aidan was still chatting and messing but gradually getting quieter and eventually asleep.

Tomás slept soundly all night

Tomás slept soundly all night

Eventually Aidan slept soundly

Eventually Aidan slept

Once asleep everyone slept well a part for an early morning run to the bathroom (Great Outdoors one) by one early riser.


But she settled back down quickly and it was after 8:30 before anyone started to waken.

Aoife had a great sleep too

Aoife had a great sleep too

The camping trip was a great success, everyone slept well and the kids had a great time. Much to my mothers disappointment Tomás slept better than he had when he was inside the house in the travel cot. Just goes to show you can’t always tell what they prefer.

So my only regret is that we didn’t go camping sooner. The fears that Tomás might not settle or that the kids would want to go back into the house as soon as it got dark didn’t materialise. So I’m all encouraged to go and take the kids to one of the many great camp sites around the country. That’ll be the next hurdle to cross.