Summer is here and in my teaching profession I have more time on my hands to write. It’s something I still love to do but mainly for me as these days I forget to promote via social media and in the last 2 years of being a working single mummy I just don’t have the time to keep it up. But can you make time? I’d like to. My daughter is increasingly wonderful and challenging in her ‘tremendous twos’ and I’m bonkersly in love with my newish boyfriend. This means that I’m feeling that urge to write more: about her; about us. So- if you’re one of those folks who reads via Facebook, if you can be bothered there’s a few backdated blogs I failed to promote. If you can’t be bothered back tracking, I hope you enjoy this one and continue to read a few tales from a girl who’s in a very different place to when she first started this blog when she was left ‘holding the baby’.

There’s a reason why the Scouts’ moto is “be prepared”. They know what they’re doing in the world of camping- a wealth of experience. My boyfriend and I, on the other hand, went camping like total amateurs. It’s not like we hadn’t been before but somehow we forgot the basics. Now, when I say ‘we’, I’m being kind and I mean ‘he’. He brought a blow up mattress with a hole in it and instead of a sleeping bag he accidently brought another tent. He also seemed to think during this mini heatwave we had actually turned into a tropical country and didn’t bring a jumper or anything particularly warm to wear. Now, any parent can tell you that leaving the house for a day trip is a military operation so as we were trialling a one night camp trip with my 2 and a half year old, I packed for every eventuality. Well, for her atleast. I still forgot proper shoes and only had flip flops for the occasion.

We didn’t let these little errors set us back. We arrived in Edale in glorious sunshine and the tent, which my daughter thought was the best den ever, was pitched in no time, courtesy of my lovely boyfriend. She ran around the campsite like a free spirit and we drank beer and chased after her. We then spotted a pop-up pizza oven selling divine stone baked pizzas and then supped on ale in a child friendly pub. Happy Days.

But then the reality of camping with a toddler and a mattress with a hole in soon were made deliriously clear to us. My daughter has a beautifully active imagination. For hours she rolled around her ‘den’ pretending to go to sleep, make us do the same and then wake us up. She shared imaginary food and spotted make believe creatures and pixies and continued to roll around on the mattress we were due to sleep on. All just in her nappy as she willfully refused to put pyjamas on.

“It’s like the bloody Titanic in here!” my boyfriend shouted as we sank to the floor at our end of the mattress, whilst my daughter was hoisted in the air on a tip of the other end that still had air. By this point it was late, nearly dark and I got a bit hysterical. I could not stop laughing at our situation, my daughters hilarious role playing and the reality of the shit night sleep that was ahead of us.

Needless to say she had to be walked in her stroller in the misty country darkness to get her to sleep and then parked her up in the tent. It was about 11 at night, so we were tired but atleast she was warm. My boyfriend, on the other hand, was trying to sleep in just a t-shirt, long shirt, a toddler’s blanket and a picnic blanket on him. Hardly snug and cosy in the English countryside, where the temperature was chilly and rain had been teasing us with making an appearance.

And then it did- with lightening and thunder which shook the tent and the atmosphere around us. It felt and sounded like the sky was cracking above us. Poor baby girl woke and cried and I managed to give her a cuddle to get back to sleep lying next to me. She slept through the worst but woke at 530am with the worst tantrum that must have woke the whole campsite:  “I don’t like the den anymore! I want to go home, now!!!”

To be fair, I don’t blame her. I felt the same. He definitely felt the same after being cold for most of the night. We both woke feeling like we needed a hip replacement after sleeping on the mattress that had well and truly sunk to the hard floor. And, after a storm that was impossible to sleep through it was time to go. My gorgeous boyfriend dutifully got up and we packed up and attempted to leave the campsite at first light.

But leaving was also not an easy task as baby girl’s tantrum had hit full crescendo and she would not get in the car seat.  I don’t have the strength now she’s bigger to get her in. All parents must have been there: body rigid, arched back, flailing limbs, eyes and voice like she needs an exorcist. It was at that moment I appreciated the extra pair of hands my boyfriend gave me, which I have had to do without for 2 and a half years and will therefore never take for granted. “Right- you take the keys and drive to the exit. I’ll walk with her to calm her down and meet you there”. It still didn’t work so after losing the battle my boyfriend drove home at 6 in the morning with baby girl sat on my lap instead. Not ideal- and there maybe people reading who judge me thinking how dangerous that is but you know what? We needed to get the hell out of dodge and get my daughter to calm. It worked. Although it’s a risk, I’m glad I took it and I hope that won’t happen again.

So, would I camp with a toddler again? Well, I don’t have much of a choice as this was a prequel to a music festival, Truck, we’re taking her to. It’s in 2 weeks. What was I thinking?I guess if I fix the variables and can guarantee no storms its doable. On the other hand, maybe my Mum and Dad can babysit……