I went camping this weekend with some friends, and John had some one-on-one time with Kidling. I think it’s important to make space for one-on-one time between kid(s) and each parent; too often when it’s kid(s) and both parents, one parent becomes sort of the dominant, “caretaker” personality.
You know, the one who in the infant years reminded the other when it was time to diaper change, feed, or stop for a break. The one who remembered naptimes and carried the diaper bag. As the kid(s) grew, that dominant caretaker parent was the one to remember and enforce bedtimes and homework schedules and doing chores and (when on trips), the one to remind about potty breaks and time to stop and eat (little tummies do not equal adult tummies!) and time to stop and stretch. It breaks down, to some degree or other, in every couple like this. Sometimes the dominant caretaker takes on a lot more responsibility, sometimes the parents are almost equal in this regard — but there’s always one parent who’s a little more caretaker-y. In our case, it’s a pretty even split, maybe 60/40 with me being the dominant caretaker type. This has more to do with me being the sahp than anything. So I was really excited to have this weekend to take a break for myself and let John and Kidling have some much needed bonding time.
The ladies and I headed out to the Cougar Hot Springs in Terwilliger, Oregon. It’s gorgeous out there, really. We found a campsite, and I set up the 6 person tent John had dug out of the garage for us. Meanwhile, the others unloaded the car. Then we headed down to the hot springs, which are clothing optional. On the way up to the campsite and down to the hot springs, we saw someone the park ranger later referred to as “Nature Boy.” He apparently had not read the sign specifying the hot springs and general area within a 50-ft radius were clothing optional, but beyond 50-ft, clothing was required. He was just walking along the highway, balls swingin’ in the breeze, carefree as could be. It was a bit stunning.
At the hot springs, my friends stripped to their altogether. I wasn’t real comfortable with that, personally — it’s an all-ages, co-ed hot spring, so there were other bathers ranging from toddlers to old, old men . Most of the naked bathers were guys, but after my friends stripped, a couple other girls started getting in topless. I found it interesting how the guys seemed to have absolutely no inhibitions with getting up and wandering around buck naked, but the girls always had a towel nearby to cover themselves with when out of the hot springs. I wonder if that’s ingrained socialized modesty, or discomfort at the plethora of naked peen. For me, it was the combination of naked peen and all ages. If it had just been people in the 20-35 range, or just been the ladies, I would have been fine. But to have boys and girls, men and women, ranging from toddler to geriatric — well that was just weird. So I just wore my swimsuit and tried to avoid appearing to either notice or judge the nakedness. We stayed there for about an hour, then headed out.
Back at the campsite, we attempted to make fire, but the wood we’d bought was damp. So we mostly just made smoldering embers and smoke. Occasionally we coaxed a flame with balled up paper and the constant feeding of twigs. I made foil packets of potato, onion, and bratwurst, then fed the fire a steady diet of twigs to cook the food. We also roasted cheddar brats, marshmallows, and I made foil-wrapped bananas stuffed with marshmallow and chocolate chips. The other ladies took shots while I nursed a hard cider, and we discussed feminist theory and MRA’s and misogyny and chemistry (not relationship/ attraction chemistry, but actual chemistry. We had a science/ medical major in our group). We also discussed the depiction of LGBT and bisexuality in popular media. Oh, and we talked about books, literature, and how utterly evil Amazon is. And toilet zombies. So, the usual stuff.
Around 11:30 or so, we turned in. I heard the others still talking, but I conked out pretty quickly. We got up pretty early in the morning, and my friend went for a forest trail run while I fixed breakfast and the third member of our party slept in.
After we finished eating breakfast and packing up the campsite, we went to go home and . . . my friend had locked her keys in the car while we were packing up. We tried calling a tow truck or locksmith, but no signal (and also, insanely expensive for them to drive out there). So with the help of some nearby campers, we smashed a tiny little, like, half-window — the kind where it doesn’t roll down, but it might prop open with a lever? Smashed that, reached inside, and unlocked the door. Another camper took some video, which I will try to figure out how to upload. Fun times.