Notes from a Camping Trip

I took Little Bear on a camping trip coordinated by her preschool a couple of weeks ago. My partner stayed home with our one month old, so it was just Little Bear and me. We had a great time setting up the tent, eating outside, drawing a giant mushroom we spotted, hiking, playing with other families, making new friends, roasting our vegan marshmallows, and going on a star walk in our pajamas.

I love getting to see her grow and discover who she is, and getting to watch her interact with her peers especially when she thinks I’m not watching is (usually) delightful. She did a great job asking if she could hug other children, or hold their hands, and listened when they said no. Children’s conversations can be so funny. “J, do you like dancing?” “I do like dancing! I like dancing in the forest!” “Let’s dance in the forest!” “Yeah, let’s be dancing robots in the forest!”

Our shared campsite was with two other families: one kid was in her class and one is a little younger and in a different class. The kid who isn’t in her class has two moms, and it was great to camp next to them. Their kid and LB might be in the same class next year. It’s always funny trying to signal to other LGBTQ parents that my family is also LGBTQ without necessarily having to point blank drop the “oh, neither my partner nor I are straight, and I’m trans”  comment into conversation. Let me tell you there are rarely any obvious ways to bring that up on a preschool camping trip. There’s the subtle dropping of hints, the discussion of neighborhoods and activities, the mentioning of LGBTQ pop culture references.

I was also proud of her for standing up to an adult. She was talking to another child about his younger sibling and asked “is your sibling a brother, or a sister, or both, or something new?” The other child’s dad jumped in with a “the baby’s a girl, you can’t be both, you are either a boy or a girl, you don’t get to pick.” My kid give him this look of “you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about” and calmly told him “noooo, I think we all get to decide and then later we can change our minds” and then she scampered off to sing Into the Woods at the top of her lungs while parading around our tent.

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