"a camping date!" said the middle child


She's only 6. She's in the middle. And sometimes being in the middle is tough.

When she heard that big brother was getting to go on yet another sleepover, the tears of injustice began to well up. I can't believe that in the midst of a wild 7 month old on my hip waving around a rattle like a pair of nunchucks, my observation skills were plugged in enough to catch this would-be crisis and go in for the save. I heard myself saying on instinct and pure survival mode:

"I have a really special night planned just for you and me tonight!"

...the river of emotion that was about to spill over just seconds ago seemed to slow, and she turned looking up at me with her innocent, greenish-blue eyes and she whispered excitedly...

"Yes! how'd you know?!"
(OMG. I looked like that owl in the tree.)
"Yessss!" (sounds more like yethhhhhhh with her lisp that seems to be th-ticking around th-till)

From that second, I knew, that the next 8 hours that she was at school were crucial. They had better produce something good, something that resembled camping, and something that would make her feel special.
*side note* We have never gone camping, so I don't know where this is coming from but I figured it would work to my advantage.

Here's my word association related to camping:
fire | smores | blankets | games | wildlife | hot chocolate | snuggles
And so that's what I went on.
The process was bound to be painful with a wanna-be crawler in the house who has an ear piercing alarm screech when I am anywhere past 48" from his body. Plus, the added task of concocting this 'camping date' with only the things I already had in the house. I applied my word association here like a champ. Apparently we are always camping, I just didn't know it.

(world market, my go to store for old school games with great packaging)
Camping date success, complete with happy camper, who had the whole house & both parents all to herself!  
It turned out to be a fun night for everyone. It's always hard for us to find the time for one-on-one with each child, but when we get the chance I'm surprised at how much I miss it and I wonder why we don't do it more often (insert irrational guilt here). I love these moments.
Feel free to download and print the camping owl art for yourself!  All you need is Acrobat reader and a printer. Enjoy!

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by mlekoshi