Photos courtesy of Perry P. Perkins
By Perry P. Perkins Having spent much of my f-f-fifty years camping, hunting, and fishing, I have gleaned a number of essential skills and tips on the subject that I feel it’s my duty to pass on to the next generation of outdoorsmen and women . . . assuming we can wrest the X-Box controllers from their pale little hands and drag them outside. So, when I finally had my own child, I was really excited to introduce her to the joys of being outdoors. In fact, she went on her first camping trip at three weeks old. Of course, at three weeks old, she was basically a big loaf of bread dough with eyes, plus we brought approximately forty-seven thousand baby-care items with us. Unfortunately, that first camping trip created a false sense of security that camping with babies was easy. Which, honestly, it is . . . as long as you bring a tractor-trailer load of diapers, wet wipes, and onesies. Flash forward two years . . .
O u r adorable little bread loaf is now an ambulatory, self-aware ankle biter, and I’ve discovered that camping with a toddler is like overseeing a chain-gang of escapeartist sociopaths, except you’re not allowed to use shotguns and leg irons (except maybe in Texas . . .). Toddlers on a camping trip have one simple goal: to kill themselves. THE CAMPFIRE The campfire is the siren-song of the toddler. It’s their El Dorado, their Pied Piper. The dancing flames put them in a zombie-like state that makes them lurch toward it at every opportunity. You will spend 50 percent of your time trying to keep your child from tossing things (trash, your purse, the dog) on the flames, and another 70 percent pulling them back from the edge before they swan dive, volcano-virgin style, into it. continued on next page
Vancouver Family Magazine • www.vancouverfamilymagazine.com • April 2019
The magazine for Southwest Washington families.