Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Adventures of Dirt Girl and Bubble Boy

We went camping this weekend at a beautiful spot in Big Sur with five other families from our kids' preschool. And while I joked with my colleagues that if I don't show up for work on Monday it's because I had a nervous breakdown and wandered off into the wilderness muttering about Thomas the Tank Engine and poison oak, it was actually one of the best camping experiences we've had with the kids, if not the best weekend we've had ever. They were incredible. There were eleven kids altogether - six boys from preK plus four younger sisters and a younger brother. The moms in this group have been getting together about once a month since the beginning of the school year, usually at Sue's house, for wine and whine and this camping plan was hatched back in December. It couldn't have landed on a more perfect weekend. Apparently there was a terrible heat wave in the whole SF bay but we were living large in the low 70s with no fog. Unprecedented for Big Sur.

We got there around 6:30 on Friday evening and set everything up while trying to feed our kids. They were happy to see their friends and try out each family's "jumpy house". They went from tent to tent jumping on mattresses and having a ball. When it started to get dark my son asked if he could get ready for bed. Again, unprecedented. So we set them up in the same tent with the intention of moving my daughter later to sleep with her dad in the little tent and I would sleep with my son in the big tent. My daughter had never seen her sleeping bag but nothing phases this girl. She just jumped right in. I started singing them their songs and my daughter was snoring by the end of the first song. My son was still awake by the end of my repertoire but I told him I would be outside, we said goodnight and within ten minutes he was asleep at which point I joined the other parents at a neighboring site for dessert and drinks. And they slept the whole dang night. I was amazed.

The next day we went to an amazing beach but of course, I forgot their bathing suits (in fact I thought we were going on a hike so I didn't know to bring them). But my daughter ran around in her diaper and my son was in his underwear. Early on he got his undies wet and wanted to take them off but I got the feeling that some of these parents weren't super keen on naked kids everywhere, so I told him to wear his t-shirt (and take off his undies). Well his shirt got wet too and after a little bit of anxiety and discussion he decided he could handle having a wet shirt. Unprecedented! My daughter on the other had went out of her way to smear wet sand all over herself and then do a downward dog in the sand to get it all in her hair. She refused to wash her hands off when it was lunchtime so she ate what we now refer to as the sand-wich. And it occurred to me that these two kids could not be any more different. Same parents. Same home. Same preschool. Two completely different kids. Dirt Girl and Bubble Boy. But Bubble Boy impressed us with his ability to shake off his beach discomfort (he isn't always thrilled with the sand/seawater combo) and thoroughly enjoy himself.

That night both kids were out by the end of the first song. It used to be that we went camping just because we knew it was good for the kids but we didn't actually enjoy it that much. I mean, in all honesty. Because it's so much work! Just packing the car is like an 8 hour activity. And getting them to sleep at night and nursing in the tent...uch, terrible. The days were usually fine but it was always more exhausting than enjoyable. But now it's a pleasure. Which is why I'm not having a total come apart that we're doing it all over again this weekend with different families (bad planning - back to back camping trips) because I actually love it. And so do they.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had such a great and rewarding weekend. r.l.

Dana said...

sounds great!!!
next time in Isreal
:)

Daniel Son said...

Susie,
This is hilarious- I loved the "sand-wich".
Hope this weekend is as great.

Dan

DR said...

so funny. and they have such gorgeous hair.