Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Post Camp Wrap Up (Part Two, The Witchlet)!

Dirty fussy baby
So, many of you are probably wondering how well (or poorly) Rowan did being away from the comforts of home at camp. His mommy and daddy were very occupied this weekend, trying to balance his needs (being parents) with the needs of the camp and its attendees (being clergy). Did he suffer? Is he the worse for wear?

Attaching the high chair
in the barn
Hardly. We didn't bring a lot of "gear" to the camp to keep him contained and/or occupied- we sufficed with a Bumbo chair (highly portable), an attachable high chair (that attached to a table in the barn, the main common building), and an Ergo carrier for schlepping him around the land. He did have a couple toys that he loves as well, mostly for naptime. But for the most part, he was carried from place to place, being attended by mom, dad, or someone else who volunteered. The beauty of Rad Fae culture is that it is decidedly tribal, and there was no question that Rowan was getting great loving attention from many uncles and aunties- frankly, he was getting more "hands-on" time than what he gets at home! I felt comfortable with all campers there, and they obviously loved hamming it up for a juvenile audience.

Mary, trying desperately not to look
at the squealing baby.
Rowan was constantly touched, hugged, kissed and carried and he ate it up. I was so grateful that people not only tolerated my son, but made space for him and embraced him being there. Papa and I worked hard to balance the schedule and who had primary Rowan duty while the other had priestly duties (Leading a trance = no baby!), but there were times when it was nice to get a break and the fellow campers offered that to us. For that, I am very thankful. He charmed the pants off of everyone there, too. (Did I forget to mention that I have the world's cutest baby?)

Chasing Mary off.
An adorable thing that we knew about Rowan before was that he likes dogs. What we didn't know until the camp was just how freaking much he LOVES dogs! Mary, the land dog, was a constant source of fascination and amusement for Rowan- and it freaked Mary out. Rowan would squeal like a velociraptor on caffeine and giggle like a madman and Mary was like, "Aaagh! Keep away, crazy thing!" (The dog fixation continued after we were on our way home, too- we saw several dogs when we stopped at a pub to eat on the patio. He was so manic and happy. He got to hug a puppy and have it lick his face, and that made him laugh and smile. Sounds like the kid has a dog of his own in the future- a very patient and tolerant dog!)

Bribing Mary to come near.
What were the downsides? First and foremost, the sleeping arrangements. Rowan is used to getting two-three naps during the day and being in bed by 8:30 at night. Because he needs to be within earshot as he is now newly mobile (and therefore a danger to himself and property), we had to try and get him to nap near us, in an area with lots of activity. It was hard and he was cranky sometimes. He fought naps to stay awake and see what all the fun was. The Ergo carrier was a lifesaver in this regard- we were able to stuff him in it when he started to look tired and by the time we got to our destination, he was asleep. Mama and Daddy felt like pack mules, but it worked for the most part. In the evening, when we were gearing up for ritual, it was harder. It would have been great if we had some sort of transportable nest for him to burrow into, but we made due.

Rowan was carried everywhere.
And while it didn't bother me so much, if you are taking your kid(s) to an outdoor gathering, you need to be OK with them getting dirty filthy. Rowan was caked with dust, ate dirt, leaves, and probably more than his share of bugs. And you know what? I'm OK with that. Eating dirt builds the immune system, being outdoors is healthy, and being surrounded by people that love him is as it should be! Eating nasties is a small price to pay for him being immersed in nature, tribe and magick, just the way it should be. But I could see how some other parents might go, "Ick".

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. And we attend a totally different type of gathering (A pagan convention in a hotel) in February, so stay tuned for pagan parenting, convention style!

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