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Day 49 - If At First You Don't Succeed

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How to camp with a difficult toddler.

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. 

This was our motto upon completion of our first camping trip with Hazel since she was 6 weeks old. When I say “completion” I mean removed ourselves and our belongings from the campsite that we’d booked for multiple nights (as a test run for an upcoming camping trip further away from home) after the first very long and very sleepless night. 

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So apparently when your child is a tricky sleeper on a good day and they are ONLY used to sleeping in a cot like a 90cm tall prisoner, you can not, I repeat you can NOT just toss them into a tent and think they will fall peacefully asleep in the great outdoors.

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After we went through our usual bedtime routine as closely as possible, we zipped Hazel into her cosy sleep sack and the tent and sat outside getting ready to relax, enjoy our tepid beer and some legit campfire roasted marshmallows. About 3 minutes into said relaxing we hear “mama, papa” along with some other chatter starting to arise from the tent. We tried to ignore her. That didn’t work. So we took turns going in to calm her into sleep mode. That didn’t work. So after I shoved 2 marshmallows in my mouth and chugged a beer I quickly brushed the sugar fuzzies off of my teeth and got in the tent with her followed by Nick. The sheer excitement of having both mama and papa in bed with her was too much for her little brain to handle. She spent the next 3 hours jumping around the interior of the tent like we were in the bouncy castle of a traveling fair while hopped up on cotton candy. It was actually a lot like being on an airplane with her except I didn’t have to say excuse me to 400 people up and down the aisle for 10 hours. 

Needless to say we didn’t sleep much. Hazel finally passed out from exhaustion around 11:30pm, 4.5 hours past her usual bedtime, and woke up promptly at 5:30am. She also spent those 6 hours during the night rolling around, punching me in the face and waking up to have a “cuddle” with me then quickly passing out again. Nick and I both woke up un-rested, un-relaxed and with bags under our eyes that could have held a load of firewood.

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But at least there is always coffee, or so I thought. We couldn’t be bothered to hunt down propane before the trip and it was decided (by Nick) that we’d be fine heating things on the fire. After an argument (or 12) about that it turns out that dewy, moist paper and a lack of kindling does not in fact turn into fire even when you are desperate for hot water to make a caffeinated beverage. Finally around 7 when I was nearing death we decided to drive to the closest village, thankfully only about 3 miles away, to find a cafe. 

Upon our return we went for a very clumsy walk where {someone} who had only 6 hours of sleep was hallucinating that dogs were trying to get her. No dogs were allowed on the camping grounds. I think it was all a ploy to get carried. That panic resulted in one young toddler who again refused to nap. So we decided it was better to quit before we had another sleepless night and give camping another try in 5 or 10 years.

We never did get that fire started. And we never did sleep. And we cancelled our upcoming camping trip and booked a house with a bedroom for Hazel’s prison cot to sit in so she can sleep peacefully through the night.

April Dautlich2 Comments