Thursday, 21 April 2016

Camping Therapy

It's school holidays here right now, so I decided it would be nice for us to go camping with some of Felix's older siblings. We're really lucky to live ten minutes away from a forest in a national park, which is absolutely beautiful and, once there, you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. Usually we would go further away but we had too many people to fit into our car so needed to do a few trips. The forest was the perfect solution!

Felix has been camping before and really enjoys it. I think there is something magical to a 5 year old about playing out in the open, digging in the dirt, poking things with sticks and being able to pee on a tree. There's something fun about getting back to nature. Personally, I love it too (although a lot of my friends weren't as excited as I was about the long drop toilet and won't be camping with me any time soon).
A boy and his dog

On this trip, we were happy to have Felix's nephew (our handsome Grandson, Noah), join us again. Felix and Noah are only a year and a half apart in age and get along really well. It was nice that they had each other to play with. We went for a big walk to try and spot some kangaroos and found a few, although we found a lot more roo poo than we did actual kangaroos. There were reminders on the ground that there had been some deer close by too, but we didn't see any during the day. The boys enjoyed listening to the kookaburras in the trees, and looking for bugs and insects in the wood pile. Our puppy spent one of the days out at the campsite with us, so Felix and Noah got lots of exercise playing with her too.
A bit of bush painting

Due to Felix's hypotonia, he tends to tire very easily. This is something we constantly work on with therapies and, although he is a lot stronger now, he still has a long way to go to have the stamina of his peers. Camping was a fun type of therapy for him. He did lots of walking up and down hills, he helped carry things when it was time to unpack, and he ran with the puppy. Unfortunately, when he gets physically worn out, he can tend to become a bit clumsy and trip over things; a sure sign that he needs a rest. One night, he tripped and smashed his mouth against a wooden bench. His teeth bit his tongue and his top lip and there was blood everywhere. He cried for a minute but calmed down quickly so I could inspect his mouth and clean it up. Thankfully, his teeth were all still intact and, by morning, he had a slightly puffy lip, but he was fine. What's camping without at least one injury, right?
Noah and Felix

Felix is a perfect sleeper.....IN HIS OWN BED. If he is away from home and we're staying with friends, in a hotel, or anywhere where he doesn't have his own room, he sleeps terribly which means I do too! The first night camping, he was overtired and very unsettled. I lay down next to him and, between midnight and 2am, endured little whispers saying, "Mum, wake up! Mum open eyes!" He also spent time stroking my face and whispering, "Aaaaaah." He then pointed out my eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, lips etc. Just the education I needed in the middle of the night while laying half on, half off a tiny mattress. Sleeping next to Felix is not for the faint hearted. The kid does not lay still for more than a couple of minutes at a time. He kicks and thrashes and, if you're lucky, you might even get a ninja kick to the face! I managed to get a total of two hours of sleep that night, so felt slightly haggard while cooking bacon and eggs in the morning. Felix, however, was at full speed like he had slept deeply all night. Incredible!

I took a lot of photos while we were camping and, one of my favourites was of Felix sniffing a tiny little flower he found on the ground. I know I talk about it all the time, but I love how Felix makes me stop and look at the things I would normally miss in the busyness of life. He always points out the moon when it is still in the sky during the day time. He hears a plane flying way before I have heard it. He notices little bugs crawling on the ground and squats down to have a look. He works to his own time frame and I have learnt (for the most part) to let him set the pace. Patience really is a virtue, and it is something Felix teaches me every single day.

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