Do you want to know what the very best thing about a toddler is? Anything can be totally exciting. And the very best things about two toddlers together? Everything is totally exciting.
Really, what other age person (without the presence of mind altering substances) will see a tent and instantly start running around like a dog chasing its tail? And continue to do this regularly for the next 24 hours? Who, but two toddlers, could explain with completely straight faces that they are mosquitos as they smash up against the side of the tent until, that is, they decide that this game is too pedestrian? Who else cold then transform into seals and swim around on a deflated blue air mattress.
But don't think that they felt the trip was all fun and games. No, the boys knew the fire wasn't going to start itself, so when Ed gave them the go-ahead, they tossed logs in the fire pit and then looked at their work with pride. I'm certain they would've lit the fire as well, had Ed given them the opportunity. They were happy to pile sticks, wash dishes, set up and take down tents. After a few more of these trips, I'm assuming the adults can just sit back and drink adult beverages while the boys take care of all the details.
Helen was not so interested in helping out. She was quite happy to sit in her pack-and-play, shielded from the toddler tornado that was ongoing, and play with her toys.
And now do you want to know the worst thing about toddlers, well, my toddler, anyway? He may have been exhausted enough to drop to sleep pretty quickly, but true to form when he sleeps in a strange place, he howled loud enough (and long enough) to wake Helen up, who had managed to sleep through his entire nighttime ritual which included reading books a few feet from her head and Connor waving the flashlight everywhere. Connor seemed to be half awake and half asleep, and it took a while for Ed to get him to realize that even though he was in a tent, we had not abandoned him to the wolves.
And then, in the middle of the night, he made this commando leap from his mattress to mine and buried himself next to me - with his feet conveniently placed at my face and his head at my knees. So I covered his bare feet with my fleece, and remained mostly uncovered myself. Why didn't I turn, you might ask? Because my sleeping bag has a special place for my feet, so if I would've put my head down there instead, I would've suffocated - or had my knees and beyond completely bare, if I put my head next to Connor's head. I couldn't cover up because doing so would have suffocated Connor. So, I lay there awake for quite some time, freezing, until finally I went over to Ed and told him to give me Connor's sleeping bag - because Ed most definitely did not deserve a mattress to himself and TWO sleeping bags. I used that to cover my cold body up, but I still didn't sleep all that well because I kept waking up to make sure Helen didn't seem cold.
When asked in the morning why Connor jumped into my bed, he said "because Daddy was hogging my bed". Of course, Ed was only over there because Connor had woke up a second time and we figured he would sleep better with someone - and since I have Helen duty, Ed drew Connor duty.
Helen woke up sometime around 6, I suspect (no watch) and was the happiest little camper in the world. So happy, in fact, that I couldn't contain her babbling, so I took her on a long walk and let her chatter so the others could continue sleeping.
The last one awake in the morning? You guessed it. Connor.
So, here I am 1 day later, with the worst cold of my life - the cold that has attacked every other family member but left me unharmed until a cold, sleepless night in the woods. sniff sniff.
Will we do it again? Most definitely!