The doubt clouds hovered closely over us last week, particularly closely as we eyed the Pembrokeshire weather forecast. Not because it had too many clouds; because of the night temperatures. “Am I being really irresponsible going camping with a 7 month old?” I asked the imaginary health visitor who lives on my shoulder. I made the mistake of uttering the question out loud when talking to my mother, The Queen of Keeping Warm Enough. Exclamations of fear for the Precious-Grandson-Smallness to Wales-Is-North-Of-Us-So-It-Must-Be-Cold ratio suggested I was.
Husband took his usual approach; if you have a question, ask the internet. When Googling threw up nothing very definite, we were back to the official stance of shrug. After consultation with Pembrokeshire-dwelling friend who had previously camped with a baby (and partly based on her offer of caravan to sleep in if it was unbearable), we went for it.
We packed every blanket we own (18, of various sizes and thicknesses. We didn’t use them all) plus 2.5 tog Grow-bag, an extra layer than we’d normally sleep him in and his fleecey sleepsuit. Plus hot water bottes to warm bed and details of nearest Travelodge just in case the Arctic came to camp next to us or something. We checked the little man’s temperature when we got into bed and set an alarm to do so an hour after. I awoke on our first morning to all three of us being alive, sunshine and birdsong coming through the bell tent’s canvas, and the knowledge that there would be an awesome view outside.
The whole weekend was fun and beautiful for all of us. Baby Dylan was happy and peaceful on our walks, helping our friends plant things on their land and lying on the mat by the tent playing with the grass. He slept well and his soul seemed as lifted as my own by the fresh air, fresh scenery and refreshed joy at being a family that we all shared.
My camping tips: *
- Blankets- sandwich lighter ones between heavier ones. We put 2 lighter ones between our mattress and sheet too
- Check the weather forecast and not just the temperature- rain and wind can make it seem colder!
- Consider where you position your tent; can you get a sheltered spot?
- Have something decent to sleep on- and for baby to sleep in (eg, Gro-bag). Do you need spares?!
- Place baby nearer centre of tent to sleep.
- Warm bed with hot water bottles (but move away from baby when then get in)
- Have back-up plan (eg,friends’ floors, or have details of nearby hotels/B&Bs). Just knowing this is probably more likely to serve to preserve your own (and relatives’!) sanity than it is likely you’ll use it.
- Picnic blanket for rolling around.
- Somewhere safe and dry to put baby if everyone else is needed to put up/take down tent.
- Encouraging engagement in surroundings- this may require you to think about how concerned you are about what goes in baby’s mouth!
- Relax and enjoy your surroundings yourself!
* please, please, PLEASE make your own assessment of the wise-ness of any camping trip. This is not a definative guide!
Beltaine-tide….. some will have celebrated yesterday whilst others will do so/will have done so when they see certain signs in nature. I’ll be doing my celebrating at the weekend, to coincide with the full moon and the anniversary of when I met my husband. In May is also the anniversary of when we married.
For me, it’s a celebration of passion, nurturing, the faery world, fantasy, sexuality, partnership, beauty, and gestation (so an apt time to have met my soulmate!) The reported tradition of driving cattle between 2 fires at this time gives it a theme of protection too. It’s a time to reflect on those goals conceived at Yule and assess if/how they are blooming, and how to nurture them further if they are to survive. The colours I associate with Beltaine are pink and green, the foods asparagus and garlic and the scents vanilla, geranium and cinnamon. The symbols and themes for me are the maypole and crown of flowers, the yoni and the lingam, hawthorn, faeries, blossoms,the pregnant belly …and hearts!! ♥ ♥♥