Our First Month RVing
Well we are finishing up our first month of RV living. We still face challenges and the rig still needs a lot of help, but we are loving it. Since I haven’t had internet at this current RV park and the fact that my time has been limited as we all adjust, there is a lot of information and updates I want to cover. That being said, I am going to break all the information down into several posts that cover various topics and just post everything at once. This one though, is catching up on the triplets, the amazing changes with them, and some tips for those either camping or going for the RV life with toddlers. We have learned a great deal in a short amount of time and there is still much to learn. I can not believe how much the triplets have grown and changed this last month.
Not just the normal getting bigger but more mentally. Their vocabulary for one has really started booming. We spend a good portion of the day walking around the RV park, watching and feeding ducks, pointing out different animals and trees. They get so excited and have started calling out the names of everything they see. The ducks by far are their favorite though. We go down and feed them in the morning and evening most days. They kids call to them as they get to our usual feeding spot and I even think the ducks have gotten used to hearing them because they start charging towards them. They toss out all the bread/ food and then sit and watch them awhile. The kids always wave bye and say “Bye duckies” when we leave.
The kids were always very shy around other people before we came here. Now they wave and say hi to everyone we pass. There are a lot of older people who live here full time and seem to enjoy seeing the kids as we make our rounds walking. Triplets in this situation definitely seem to draw a lot of attention although I don’t get the same kind of comments or questions that we have gotten while running around town and in stores. Mostly people just ask if they are triplets and then start talking to the kids. One couple has been giving the kids old bread once a week to feed the ducks. Another couple had three toddler size outdoor chairs in their garage and brought them down for the children to have. The kids were super excited about that one. For the most part everyone knows them now, knows where our campsite is, and they have had several different playmates come and go while being here.
At first we used to take our Step 2 choo choo wagon everywhere. After about the first week though, the kids learned all the routes around the park, and what road led to where, and started refusing to ride around. They wanted to WALK everywhere. At first this made me really nervous because most days it is just me and the triplets. My fears went something like this in my head: “What if they start taking off in different directions? There are cars and golf carts driving around, what if they don’t listen or dash out in front of one? What if one gets too close to the edge of the lake and falls in?” and so on and so on. So I waited until my oldest daughter was around to do some test runs first. At least that way we have a second person if something goes wrong. To my amazement though, they have done great, and get better all the time. They know we need to stay together as a group. If one person gets too far ahead all I have to do is tell them to wait and they will. I have them watching for cars and when any of us see one I shout “car, get in the grass” and everyone moves to one side of the road and walks in the grass until the car passes. Even the kids will shout “car…grass.” It just amazes me and fills me with such pride. The downfall to all this though… They want to walk everywhere now. They won’t get in the cart at the grocery store anymore (or any other store). They insist on walking everywhere. The first couple of times at the store was a little crazy and getting them not to touch everything was nerve racking to say the least. Although the last two times have not been bad at all.
They are starting to get the idea of boundaries, what they can and can not do, and how they are expected to behave in those situations. For only being 2 ½, I think they are doing great! Our schedule was another huge change. I think perhaps it was harder on me then them though. They are still taking naps around noon but I usually lay down with them until they fall asleep. Bedtime was a whole other matter. Putting them down at 7pm just wasn’t going to happen. It was taking them over an hour to fall asleep. It was still super bright outside and no amount of blackout curtains was helping. In general though, it just wasn’t working. So we decided to let them go until they started to show signs or wearing out and then put them to bed. This usually happens somewhere between 8-9pm. It is not too late but they are falling asleep much quicker and sleeping a little longer in the mornings. Lunch is still usually around 11am but dinner has been varying between 5-7pm depending on what we are out doing. Snacks are given out when they are hungry and ask for them but no specific times anymore. I guess you could say we have gotten very laxed in the time area and are moving more towards going with the flow. The kids have been extremely happy though so it works for us. Really the two biggest pitfalls right now are issues with the RV that we are still fixing and the fact that Dad leaves for work everyday. Hopefully though, sometime in the very near future those will change too.
Now for some tips for those traveling/ Rving with toddlers:
- Toys: Toys and kids go hand in hand. One thing to keep in mind though is you don’t need a ton of them. We downsized the kids toys to one small tote that is easy to store when they are not playing with it. They also have small toys like actions figures, dolls, plastic animals/dinosaurs, leapads, books, and a bag of blocks make up the majority. These were the things they loved to play with most at the house to begin with. You will also spend most of our time outside playing ball, walking, and so forth so they don’t need tons of stuff, so keep it small.
- Naps and bedtime: If you have small children chances are you are still dealing with naps. The good news is, with all the excitement and spending a good deal of time outside they tend to fall asleep for those naps much quicker and sleep better. Try and make where they sleep as dark and quiet as possible. The triplets have their room set up in the back and we put up blackout curtains back there. It doesn’t make it completely dark but shuts out enough light for them to fall asleep easily. Now before moving into our rig I would just put them down in their own room, shut the door, and watch them on our video monitor. For us that is not possible now. So I will go lay down with them until they fall asleep and then get up and do what I need to. Yes, it is a little more time but it works well and the kids enjoy the extra cuddle time. Now on to bedtime… If you are anything like I was, the kids had a pretty strict bedtime and would go down about 7-7:30pm every night. I found since moving into the RV, I have become much more flexible. They generally stay up until around 8:30-9pm since it doesn’t start to get dark until then. Again, the upside is they fall asleep quicker, sleep better, and are sleeping longer in the mornings (usually up around 7am). Everyone is different but try to be flexible and see what works best for you.
- Learning: Everything can be a learning experience for kids, it just depends on how we, as parents, approach it. When out walking try and get the kids into pointing out various animals and plant life. Try to give them proper names (like blue jay or oak tree) and you will be surprised at how quickly they pick it up and then start pointing everything out to you. Also teach them good hiking/ road etiquette. For example, cars are a big deal for me when we are walking in areas with roads. So I got the kids looking for cars and running into the grass when anyone saw one. They see it as a fun game, I see it as them learning that roads and cars are dangerous and they have to be aware of what to do when they see one coming. Kids will amaze you if you give them a chance. Making these types of lessons a game really helps them to not only learn what to do but also getting them to do it.
- Dirt: Lets face it, kids get dirty. When you are camping or at camp grounds, the kids will get dirty almost every time they go out. Don’t let it bother you. Do the general face and hands cleaning throughout the day and showers at night. Let them explore their world and as they get older, they will eventually get less dirty lol. Try to avoid any white or easily stained clothing, as it will save you a lot of headaches come laundry day. I highly suggest ALL free and clear or Tide as they seem to get the most stubborn stains out.
- Hydration: It is really important that kids have access to plenty of water, especially on hot days. Make sure they are drinking a lot and you are encouraging it. It you have more then one child and are going to be out walking for awhile either put the sippies/ water bottles in a small plastic bag or backpack to take with you. Sometimes kids get so excited they forget they are thirsty, so much sure you stop every now and then and encourage them to drink.
- Food: Depending on your child’s age will depend on how much they can participate, but if they can, try to have them help you cook. Especially if it is outdoor cooking or campfire cooking. Some of the fondest memories people have of camping is surrounded by camp fire food. Today there are many options for cooking. Most RVs have a stove, oven, and microwave for traditional cooking. Though if your adventurous and really want to go a different route I would say look into solar ovens, cooking outside in a dutch oven, equipment to do cooking over campfires, and small portable grills. For me, those are the routes I am taking. It not only gives the food a different flavor, is fun for the kids to participate with, but it also helps my energy cost in the RV since we want to be completely on solar and wind power.
- First Aid: There are all kinds of little first aid kits you can buy prepackaged, but being a nurse and a mom of 5 kids I have never found them adequate or stocked with the right amount of stuff. So a year ago (even before this adventure) I started my own med bag. I took a small backpack and store all medical supplies in it such as: ace bandages, a variety of band-aids, various sizes of gauze, medical tape, scissors, triple antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, sunburn cream, sunscreen, calamine lotion, baking soda (great to put on bee stings), children’s tylenol, IB prophen, Benadryl (child and adult), and alcohol pads. Every family is different but the above items should be in every persons first aid kit. So when someone gets hurt all I have to do is get our med bag and I have everything I need instead of hunting through drawers or cabinets to find it.
- Sunblock: I can not stress enough how important sunblock is for young children. Get SPF 50 or above. In hot weather a sunburn can make a child extremely sick and dehydrate them very quickly. This could land you in an ER or worse admitted to the hospital. As adults we don’t take it as seriously as we should but for children it is even more imperative.
- Stress: Getting used to new surroundings and all the ups and downs you will face on the road can really stress someone out. Just remember when your stress level goes up, so does theirs. Even in really bad situations try to find some good in it. Kids pick up on our moods very quickly and it effects theirs.
- Behavior: When toddlers act out by screaming, throwing toys, having tantrums and so forth, generally it is because they are bored. Instead of getting mad, explain what they did was wrong and immediately distract them with something else. If you are inside and they start going nuts, take them on a walk. If you have been out awhile and they have stopped listening, go inside and try a quieter activity. The more you react to them doing the bad things, the more they will do them because for a toddler they don’t really understand the difference between bad attention and good attention, all they know is that they HAVE your attention.
Keep your eyes out because there is a lot more to come from our triplets on the road!