I wanted to try to come up with a nice, well-crafted piece over-viewing our 2 week vacation. I have a feeling that if I wait to do this, it will never get done. So in the interest of expediency, I will try to forgo the literary excellence to which you have all become accustomed.
The camping was great. I was so worried about being in a tent for 2 weeks with 2 preschoolers, a guy who doesn't handle lack of sleep overly well, and myself who will bottle up frustrations instead of dealing with them until I become quite unpleasant myself. Night one, the boys snuggled into their sleeping bags and then out of their sleeping bags. They talked and giggled and fought and tickled until finally they fell asleep. The first few mornings M would get up between 6 and 7. After a few days though, the later nights kept both boys asleep until well after 7am. There was no way we could adhere to the normal 7pm bedtime routine.....it was still far too light out.
The trip was hardest on M. He is the youngest, and at 3 years old he was quite preoccupied with missing his toys. He was also missing a routine. He would not eat much at meal times, but then whine incessantly through the day that he was hungry. Nothing makes you feel guiltier than having your child proclaim to everyone within a kilometer radius that HE IS HUNGRY! I believe he was actually homesick/bored/tired/out of his element and he expressed this by saying he was hungry.
I was surprised that L handled it so well. Perhaps because he has been looking forward to "going camping" for so long. This is a kid who does not always do well with change. If something is different than normal, or even just not what he had imagined would happen he becomes very upset. Sometimes it seems like he is just being difficult, but when he gets into one of these irrational stand-offs, it is easy to see that he is quite viscerally upset. So, for a vacation with something new each day, he did very well.
The driving up and down mountains was good. I quickly became accustomed to all the shifting up and down mid-turn. Thankfully I had my "Aussie-bubble" and didn't care (too much) if there was anyone behind me waiting to pass. I even passed one or two slow drivers myself! I learned the hard way that it is best to gear down rather than use your brakes all the way down a pass. The squeaky brakes got a little bit squeakier after having taught me that lesson.
C was also great. He was wonderfully supportive the whole time. As he is the one with the kids 24/7 at home, the increased exposure of 24/7 and ALWAYS together (no playing quietly in a separate room) was harder on him, but he managed the extra stress very well.
While the kids got less sleep, we adults actually got more. Unlike North American campgrounds, European ones are essentially an open field of tents and campervans. Open fires are not allowed. Without a nice cosy fire to sit in front of at night, we usually went to bed ourselves shortly after darkness fell.
So the general synopsis is: we all survived, we even enjoyed ourselves. The boys loved it.
I will do some future posts more on what we did in the coming days. I will try hard to keep them as succinct as possible, but I do have the propensity to go on, and on, and on, and on...