I went to a parenting talk last weekend and on the request of a few mamas from my community babywearing group I decided to do a quick write-up on the presentation. This will be a quick job, in the interest of posting something while it’s still fresh, as opposed to a fully researched job. If you are a Kim John Payne/Simplicity Parenting fan, please keep in mind that I did not know Kim John Payne until I went to his talk and have not read the book (although it is currently in my Amazon shopping cart). I am writing this post off the top of my head while my four youngest children are enjoying breakfast on a Sunday morning (and possibly watching some mindless tv, yes, there, I said it.)
I was privileged to be interviewed for a Globe & Mail piece on childcare. You can find the piece here. When Roma Luciw interviewed me, we were pulling into Rivière-du-Loup Qc after 10 hours on the road. I wasn’t sure what the article would be about but I hoped that I sounded sane. The daycare tipping point, or the decision to stay home or go to work from a daycare cost perspective:
When does it make sense to put your career on hold and look after the kids versus going back to work and forking out the money for child care?
It’s a directed look at childcare and I am always in support of more public discussion about women, family, children and society. But the decision to work for a pay cheque is rarely as one-dimensional as the piece’s angle. I propose this series of posts as a reflection on childcare beyond basic math. It’s not about assigning blame or responsibility where no blame is deserved or responsibility owed. It’s a reflection about how we can do better for our sake and for our children’s sake.
We just left for our 3-week trailer adventure, towing our little house (emphasis on little) all the way from Ottawa to the maritimes with some fun stops along the way. One of the challenges of fitting 10 in a trailer made for 9 (on paper, reality is more like 7) is what to do with the babies. The trailer is either in eat mode or sleep mode with strictly enough room to do one thing at a time: prepare food or sleep. The outside is dirt.
Before going any further, let the record show that camping with babies is a royal nuisance and should be avoided. But if you can’t avoid it because, like me, you have other children for whom the definition of a good time goes beyond napping at regular intervals in their own bed, then you may need to find ways to compensate for the sheer lousiness of camping with infants.
(Some people camp with baby because they love camping and want to share their love of sleeping on dirt with their unappreciative infant/toddler. There is nothing I can say to help these folks.)
(As another aside, my 3 year-old just fell asleep singing “I want to go home to sleep” on the tune of Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift. So there.)
But yes, so you have to camp with infants or toddlers because you have ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER CHOICE and you are looking for tips to make your life more pleasant or at the very least less miserable. My first tip would be to get a cheap wading pool (cheap as in $15 is too much) and bring a bag of toys. The wading pools are the first things out of the trailer and the twins have a clean dry place to play. They can also be filled with one inch of water and placed in the shade at the splash pad on a hot day.
Sleeping in tents with babies can and will be a pain in the neck. And the lower back. Co-sleeping has been our saving grace. For Lucas especially, home is where the boob is. And it may sound like a drag at home but it’s a boon on the road. Here he is snuggling-up to Sarah in the queen size bed we share.
Of course, co-sleeping can be dramatic especially when you wake-up with your 3 year-old violently throwing-up on you. This morning’s shower was the best ever and it is with little sleep and some unplanned laundry that we hit the road for the second leg of our RV extravaganza!