Lately, our kids have been begging us to take them camping. Just for the record, Jay and I HATE camping.
Actually, I used to like camping.... when I was a kid, and even a teenager.... when I didn't have to do any of the work (that was my parents' and older brother's job), and sleeping on the hard ground didn't make me feel like I was a hundred years old the next morning. (However, I NEVER enjoyed using Mother Nature's restroom. Ewwwww.)
Though Jay did plenty of camping as a Boy Scout, I don't think he ever liked it.... probably because he had to do all the work.
Anyway, the kids thought we were such mean parents to not take them camping during spring break.... we only went to a lovely, comfortable cabin with soft warm beds, a fireplace that doesn't smoke, electricity, and RUNNING WATER.
To stop the complaining, I had the brilliant idea of putting the tent up (yes, we actually have some camping gear) in the backyard. Why not? The weather is great, the grass is soft and green, and the bathroom is handy. And I figured that one night of bad sleep wouldn't hurt since there would be no school the next day, hence no worries about grumpiness.
So, yesterday while I finished making dinner, Jay and the kids set up the tent. After we ate, the kids hurried into their pajamas, grabbed their pillows, and snuggled into their sleeping bags in the tent. It was only about 7:30.
Jay and I had decided that we would pretend we were going to sleep out there with them..... we would just wait until they were asleep, and then go inside to our comfortable bed. (insert evil laughter)
We had a couple of flashlights, though we really didn't need them.... the street lights provided plenty of ambient lighting. The street also provided something else.... plenty of background noise from all the traffic. I imagine plenty of people were stilled headed home from work.
The kids couldn't go to sleep with all the excitement of sleeping outdoors (and noise!), so we told "Mashed Potato" stories for a while. (In case you don't know what "Mashed Potato" stories are, that's your basic "add-on" story where everyone takes a turn... I don't know why we call it that.) It was pretty entertaining.
Mary was just silly and couldn't stop laughing whenever it was her turn... she thought everything she said was absolutely hilarious. Collin wanted everything to be scary and dramatic, which became a bit annoying. I usually followed him, so I always turned the story back to funny and light-hearted, which annoyed him. Jack was funny because he used this serious, dramatic, grown-up voice, but his parts of the stories were usually only about one sentence before he passed it on.
But Jay (if you know Jay personally, then you know that he could have had a successful career as a stand-up comedian) had us all rolling on floor (literally.... we were already lying on the ground after all) with laughter.
Finally, everyone was pretty worn out from laughing, and we decided it was time to go to sleep. By this time it was almost 9:00... long past our kids' normal 8:00 bedtime.... so I figured they would be tired and fall right to sleep. I sang a good night song, and everyone finally settled down and was quiet. No one was talking, but there was lots of thrashing around as we tried to get comfortable.
It had been pretty quiet for a while... long enough for the kids to have fallen asleep, normally. So, I quietly sat up and looked around. Everyone was sleeping, or so I thought. They were all doing a good job of pretending.
Suddenly, Jack said in a loud voice, "Mom, I don't like sleeping in tents." I thought for a second and said, "Who wants to go sleep in their own bed?" There was a loud chorus of "Me!"
And so we all slept soundly in our beds last night, and lived happily ever after.