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News From The Nest: Campfire fun tests creativity of little one

My family and I recently went camping at Itasca State Park in Minnesota. The weather was good, scenery beautiful, and company even better. My kids had a blast! First off they thought it was so cool that all four of us got to sleep together in a tent, a small tent. Though my husband and I complained about sore backs and waking up every half hour through the thunderstorms, the busy days and fresh air made the kids sleep great.

Each night we would start a campfire around 9 p.m as the sun started to go down. Our little girl, almost two years old now, would stay up for another half hour or so and then would fall asleep in our arms. I would allow our son to stay up a little later to enjoy the fun times around the campfire, which of course included Smores. I would always set ground rules in advance. He and I would discuss and agree upon the number of marshmallows and chocolate he could have. It turns out he doesn't like the entire Smores sandwich, just the inside components of the treat.

On this particular night we agreed he could have two marshmallows and one row of chocolate (which is three chunks for those of you who are not avid Smores-eaters.) By the time his little sister was ready for bed he had already reached his two mallow, one chocolate limit. As I was laying his sister in the tent I heard him in deep conversation with my husband. When I got back to the fire my husband finished their discussion by saying, "wow buddy, you're gonna have to talk to your mom about that one."

Having no clue what was coming, I kneeled down so I was eye level with my son and listened closely to what he had to say. He began by explaining "every time you or Dad give me a treat by the campfire I forget the flavor."

My response, "huh?"

He started to get very, very serious and restated "every time I have a treat by the campfire I forget the flavor!"

My reply, "the flavor? Of what?"

"Of the marshmallows and chocolate," he said almost sniffling now because this was obviously very tragic for him.

"Oh, so you can't remember what marshmallows and chocolate taste like?" I asked him.

"No, I can't," he said, sniffle sniffle.

Ah ha! This kid is brilliant! His little, tiny brain came up with a way to get Mom to give him MORE marshmallows and chocolate.

So to reward his Oscar-winning performance I agreed to one more marshmallow. I made him sit in my lap and take the smallest bites he could, then told him to let it sit on his tongue and really think about the taste so he would never forget again.

What a little schemer. I was amazed at his creativity and presentation, but also a little concerned as to what precedent we just set. Oh well, at least I stood my ground and told him he would have to wait until the next day to remember what the chocolate tasted like.

Lauritsen from West Fargo enjoys writing, in particular, sharing her insight into parenting issues that present themselves daily in the upbringing and nurturing of her two small children.