Camping with a toddler, yes indeed. I should add too that I am also 8 months pregnant, so really really, what could go wrong?!
When I tell people that I live in Dubai, their immediate reaction is usually to ask about the glitz, the glamour and the champagne lifestyle. Yes, once upon a time in our pre-baby world, there was certainly some of that (and yes, it was awesome). But being the adventurous types, my husband and I would also spend many weekends packing up and heading into the great beauty of Dubai’s natural treasure – the desert.
We’d take the dirt bikes and have a good evening and morning ride, while setting up a BBQ and slowly getting drunk to some favourite tunes. Just fab and exactly what I love to do! We also spent many weekends away across the border in Oman trekking Wadi’s and falling in love with the country’s mountainous landscape.
Who has time for glitz and glamour when you have all of this on your doorstep?!
(Camping in Wadi Dam, Oman)
Of course, babies happened. And honestly, who has time for anything when you’re a parent?! Our weekends now seem to be spent trying to re-kindle some energy while our toddler verbally abuses us!
It’s my hubbie’s 37th birthday this weekend, and while we are indeed planning a trip to a fancy hotel as both a birthday treat and a babymoon, the weather has been so off that we decided not to risk it and to instead try camping with our tot this weekend! As mentioned – 8 months pregnant – we thought it might be now or never (for a couple of years at least) to let Zachy get a taste of camping life.
So we packed up and set off!
First thing that went wrong?
#1 – Rain
Ironically, you just can’t seem to guarantee good weather in the UAE right now. Hilariously it started spitting as soon as we turned the engine on. But did it deter us?! We’re Brits – of course not! Hubbie reminded me of a “wonderful” rainy camping trip we had in the Lake District, where the sound of the ducks quacking in the morning got progressively louder as the lake itself moved into our tent. A real grab and go situation that we still chuckle about! Luckily it only rained on and off for our camping trip this time around, but still bloody typical!
#2 – Toddlers and fire
So, at 2.5, our son definitely knows that fire is hot and dangerous and that he should not touch. It’s just human nature to be fascinated by flames though, isn’t it?!! He did very well to keep away, but as any toddler parents will appreciate – he must RUN everywhere – he literally seems incapable of walking. As a big clumsy oaf of a boy, I was terrified he was just going to run into the fire by accident! Honestly, I do question how the human race survived sometimes – we’re so accident-prone as babies!!!!
#3 – Poo Situation
Zachy kept doing very smelly little “President Trumps” which led me to ask him several times whether he needed a poopie. “No Mama, no mama, no mama” “MAMA, I NEED A POO POO”! Hubs dug a hole and attended to him (in the dark) while I rummaged the car for nappies and wipes. Once in hand, however, I heard my husband shouting expletives “OH MY GOD BOY, NOOO, WHHYY?!” – turns out Zachy thought it might be hilarious to stamp in his poo, covering his trainers in his own excrement (did I ever mention what a joy boy-toddlers are?!) No spare shoes, they took ages to clean, and he smelled mildly of poo the rest of the trip…
#4 – Stressed Daddy
Well, end of the working week, drive to desert, set-up of camp, poo-shoe-situation, and hyper-running-fire toddler led to a rather shouty couple of hours from Daddy. Don’t worry, he finally got some beer in him and mellowed down. Such hot-heads, these boys!
#5 – Sand In Food
I love a good BBQ, and the BBQ master did not disappoint. Being out in the desert with a clumsy toddler and the inevitable did happen – sand in food. Yum! He even brought me half a bread bun he had been munching at one point and said ever so kindly “this is for you” me – “oh thank you baby” as I chomp down into what I then realized was a half-sand covered roll (it was dark and it was brown bread!) – the good intention was there…I guess?!?!???!!!
#6 – My Poor Back
So yeah, back to being 8 months pregnant, one of the things I really suffer with right now is back and rib ache when sat up. I think there is just no space left, so especially when I eat and fill my tummy, the space gets even more limited. Hubs also decided to pump the air-bed to “rock” level, so it was not the comfiest of nights… Zachy, luckily, slept like a dream.
#7 – Filthy, Just Filthy
As morning came, I looked at ourselves and decided we were beyond help. Zachy was covered head to toe in sand and ketchup and juice and chocolate and poo-shoes. I had at some point smeared ketchup down my top, my eye-makeup was smudged and I had developed a rather beautiful camping-zit on my forehead. Hubs probably looked the best with his tufty hair and stubble. Can’t decide whether to wash or burn the clothes!
#8 – An Overall Fab Time
Zachy thoroughly enjoyed his camping trip – he is an outdoor lad through and through and at his absolute happiest in muck and dirt. Camping did not phase him at all – in fact I commented to my husband that I seriously doubt he cares where we live, as long as the two of us are with him! (Probably a good thing since we live between 3 different countries!!) And even I, despite a few quiet concerns, had a brilliant time. Pregnancy camping, yup, seriously recommend it (kind of). I have loved the fresh air and the space, the sunshine and even the rain!
(Mr Cool in his new shades)