We went on the world’s shortest camping trip this weekend, because it was Monkey’s turn to have his him-and-a-friend trip, and his friend decided that one night away from home was enough for him; and Monkey, of course, concluded that staying without his buddy for another night would just be boring and wrong.
See, Otto and I like to do the following when we camp: Sit around and read, go on nature walks, take pictures, play Scrabble.
Monkey and his friend, however, opt for: Running around in circles, reenacting every Pokemon battle there ever was (including several new ones they just invented), piling up gravel and naming each of the stones and involving them in an epic story about aliens, devouring freeze pops and then using the empty sleeves as lightsabers, making up word games with as much body part and potty humor as possible, and showering with their underwear on.
It’s a different set of priorities, I suppose.
I can’t be certain, but I think the boys had a good time. Of course, I never had a chance to ask because they didn’t stop talking from the moment Franklin was dropped off at our place Saturday morning until we pulled back in on Sunday night. People say that girls are chatty, but that is obviously only because they haven’t been trapped with a couple of 9-year-old boys for 36 hours.
When we took Chickadee and Swan on their trip, there were long periods of blissful silence. It was occasionally punctuated with giggling, sure, but the girls worked on several “projects” together without constant yammering.
Monkey and Franklin not only never stopped to gulp air, they also have no volume control whatsoever, which meant the entire weekend sounded like this:
“WHAT IF, WHAT IF, WHAT IF YOUR PUFFLE ATE MY CHARIZARD, BUT IT MADE HIM SICK, AND HE PUKED IT BACK UP, AND THEN IT PUT ITSELF BACK TOGETHER, AND THEN IT BEGAN TO SING EVEN LOUDER?”
“YEAH! LIKE AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOO!”
“RIGHT! AND THEN THEY BOTH GOT THE HICCUPS! AND STARTED FARTING!”
*Hysterical laughter and armpit farting ensues.*
“AND THEN AND THEN HE SAID ‘STOP, IT’S TIME TO GO CRUSH THE ENEMY WITH OUR BUTTS!'”
“STOP! IT’S TIME TO GO CRUSH THE ENEMY WITH OUR BUTTS! NOW YOU SAY ‘BUT FIRST I HAVE TO PUKE.'”
“BUT FIRST I HAVE TO PUKE!”
*Hysterical laughter and retching sounds ensue.*
Otto and I huddled close to each other and tried to pretend we didn’t know them. “My eardrums are bleeding,” I whispered to my love. “I mean, I’m glad they’re having fun, but MY EARS.” Otto merely nodded. I suspect he was wearing earplugs.
We did make a few rookie mistakes on the trip, too. First, I made the boys shower BEFORE we settled in around the fire to make s’mores, because it had been a long, sticky day and I figured s’mores in pajamas would be fun. When we’d done it that way with the girls, it was fine. But I forgot that they’re, y’know, BOYS.
[Sidebar: Yes, my child actually did shower in his underwear. Rather, he stripped down and stepped into the shower and was completely soaked before he realized he was still in his undies. His explanation, later, was simply, “I forgot.” Franklin kindly reassured him with a tale of a time he’d showered in his socks. Otto—who’d been tasked with marching the boys to the bathhouse and supervising—shrugged as if to say that I should’ve been pleased he took off any of his clothing at all. He’s probably right.]
Anyway. Two freshly scrubbed boys and molten marshmallows. What was I thinking? Obviously I wasn’t. They had their fun and then got sent back up to the bathhouse to clean up and brush teeth.
My second error was that I forgot to explain the middle-of-the-night bathroom routine to Franklin. Monkey has been camping enough to know, but I didn’t think to go over it and I ended up feeling awful. See, our camper has a tiny little bathroom, but when we camp somewhere with a bathhouse nearby (and we were practically right next to it, at this campground), we don’t use it—we use the public facilities (preferable to flushing out the blackwater tank). Poor Franklin woke up in the middle of the night needing to pee and having no idea what to do, and was (I think) afraid to move. Fortunately my Mama Radar alerted me and I woke up to a small whimper. I scrambled to the rear of the camper and “rescued” Franklin—we walked up to the bathroom together—and the poor kid spent the entire 6-second walk saying, “One night is enough, I want to go home tomorrow, I need to go home tomorrow.” I felt terrible. (Can you imagine waking up somewhere strange, in the dark, needing to pee, and missing your parents? And then having to deal with me and my bedhead hair? Child’s probably scarred for life.)
Fortunately the next morning all was forgotten, and as we walked a nearby trail, the boys began an alphabet game of “There’s a _____ in my ______,” where the first item was an animal and the second, a food item. So it started with “There’s an ape in my apple” and “there’s a bear in my brownies!” and was fine for about half the alphabet, until it degenerated into more potty and body-part humor. Yep, there’s nothing like a stroll through the woods, taking in the scenery, and listening to two boisterous 9-year-olds come up with bigger and better things to announce are stuck in their butts.
We packed up late in the afternoon, and as I conferred with Franklin’s mom via phone, I informed the boys that we’d head back to our house and Franklin would be picked up. The boys barely glanced up from their Nintendos, but Monkey immediately asked, “And then can I go over to Franklin’s to play?”
I guess they weren’t done, yet. There’s a WHOLE WORLD of items yet to be discussed as hilarious wedged-in-your-butt props, inbetween plotting the next important Pokemon battle, of course.
Last night I asked Monkey how his week as an only child was going.
“It’s GREAT!” he said. “But, um, are we going to do anything fun this week?”
Then I wedged a 2×4 in his butt. The end.