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Smelly Socks: Loving the camping life - indoors

May 16, 2013 at 12:16 a.m.

Adam and Charlie camping in the living room.

My husband, Joe, is the outdoorsy type. He loves to fish, hunt and is forever trying to convince me to go camping.

I am the non-outdoorsy type. I have no desire to camp. The one and only time I did go camping was to the Boundary Waters Canoe area for six days with a group of five other people. It was what I consider hard-core camping.

We traveled by canoe, ate only what we could carry and didn't have a shower for five days. This was my introduction to the world of camping. So, of course, I end up with the boys who just at the mention of the word "camping" jump up and down for joy.

I figured instead of throwing them to the wolves, so to speak - I suggested that their first "camping" experience be in the living room, where they could at least get used to sleeping in a tent. And, of course, Mama could keep an eye on them (they are 6 and 3, after all).

And so on a Saturday night a few weeks ago, Joe and I set the tent up in the living room while the boys were playing outside. We have a nice North Face tent that can withstand the weather dipping to 45 degrees; however, I don't think we were worried about the weather that night. So we set up the tent, put in the inflatable beds and grabbed their blankies and pillows.

We called the boys in and instructed them to close their eyes and walk into the living room. Their eyes lit up as screams of joy escaped from their lips, and they hugged each other while jumping up and down.

Immediately, they wanted to go in, but we told them they had to take their baths and be clean. So they ran upstairs, took a quick bath, brushed their teeth and were ready for bed at 7:14 p.m.

We told them they didn't have to go to bed so early, but just the idea of spending time in the tent was enough to make them want to go to bed early.

They then proceeded to get some stuffed animals, their pillows, a Coleman lamp (because, you know, they're "camping") and some books to read before bed. I had to draw the line at making s'mores in my living room.

After about 10 minutes, they got bored and started wrestling with each other. By this time, it was about 8 p.m., and it was time to really go to sleep. They'd been outside all day, and I knew they would be sacked out as soon as the lights went off.

They asked me to lay in there with them, and I did, although one big person and two little people in a tent made for two is not a comfortable set up. So I laid there and read them some books, made up some stories and sang a few songs before Charlie was knocked out, covered up with his little blankie.

And Adam talked my ear off until he couldn't think of anything else to say and finally fell asleep. And I, too, fell asleep for about 30 minutes. Now this was my kind of camping.

Anita lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two boys and two dogs, one of which is a girl. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at smellysocks@vicad.com.

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