The down time was good but certainly had some challenging moments. Some friends camp with their kids, others just drop by for an afternoon, this year there were anywhere from 5-12 kids running around ages 10 right down to a visiting baby. The one challenge with this kind of extensive time with other peoples kids is that I get a little annoyed with some of them. It becomes clear to me, I'm not going to be a fun mom. I'll be a good mom and there will be lots of love and fun moments, but I'm not going to be a fun mom. My kids are going to hear no, and I am going to mean it. When I read about adoptive parenting, I see the need for consistent and firm parenting. I suppose with longer exposure to other families while camping, I see what happens when any child doesn't get that. When no means maybe, or not yet, or someone else will say yes. I see the manipulation that goes on and how often the kids win when no doesn't mean no and it irritates me over the weekend.
Sunday afternoon, I was making dinner. Jambalaya in my cast iron dutch oven on the fire. It's a bit fussy only because it's hard to tell just how hot the coals/pot are but I'm getting better with practice and burning the bottom less. I brought little silicone pot holders with me to the fire, they look like frogs and worked pretty well with the hot cast iron.
|From Cilantro Cooks|
Mr. Lina was wearing my pot holders and chasing kids around the camp site while the jambalaya simmered. It was pretty funny as he stomped around snapping the frogs open and shut. One of the (non-chasing) kidlets asked me for s'mores. I'm not sure what made her think I was the owner of any marshmallows, chocolate or graham crackers as I watched my dinner cook. I said no, she should ask her dad. Which is also the answer I gave when asked if she could have a drink the previous day, and when asked for a snack earlier in the day. You see the pattern? She wandered off and came back with a huge bag of marshmallows (which I'm pretty sure did not belong to her family) and pestered me again to make her s'mores. She wasn't the only kid around, another parent was giving his 3 kids popcorn as a post-dinner snack (hoping salty snacks would make for better bed time than sweet). The middle kid (about 3 I think) in that family had been the focus of the Mr. Frog-a-Lina chasing and wanted in on the marshmallows, more because Mr. Frog-a-Lina was there and they wanted to feed the frogs popcorn and marshmallows. At this point, Mr Frog-a-Lina got silly about the desire for popcorn s'mores, knowing I did not pack any of the required ingredients and could not fulfill what he was asking me to do and in my head I wasn't sure how well hot melted marshmallow, chocolate and popcorn were going to work on small fingers. The popcorn wasn't going to offer much protection from the hot parts. I got tired of being pestered for stuff they should ask their parents for and knowing that at least one father probably didn't want his kids having popcorn s'mores and my inability to actually do what they (or I) wanted to do, and I lost it on Mr. Lina.
Thus popping the bubble of happy fun time for Mr. Frog-a-Lina and the kidlets.
We went for a walk so I could get away from the s'mores insanity and apologize for my behaviour. I knew I was snapping at Mr. Lina because he was there and an easy target compared to the kids that weren't mine to discipline. I don't lose my cool often so it has more impact when I do (at least on Mr. Lina, I don't think the kids were all that phased). A few tears were shed and oddly not by me. Mr. Lina loved running around and being silly, but it was also leaving him feeling sad that those weren't his own kids he was chasing after. And boy, do I understand that. Popping that happy bubble was pretty bad timing.
After a little walk around, we went back to the site, we had dinner. I had a little alone time while I changed into warmer clothing for the evening and prepped the tent for bed time. Mr. Frog-a-Lina returned for more chase, with even more kids involved. I could hear him (and the kids laughing) 4 sites down as I walked to the washroom. I ended up with a 3 year old frog-chaser snuggling up with me as the sun was setting. Not surprisingly, Mr. Lina fell asleep at the fire at dark o'clock (camping is not about clock watching). Who knew pot holders could be such great exercise? And did you know they come in monkeys and dogs and pigs and roosters...