Vacation · August 15, 2021 3

Elliott Meets His Cousins

Elliott is now 2 and a half years old and has barely met any of his family. This is partially thanks to the pandemic and to the fact that we live so far away from everyone. The last time he saw any family was at least a year ago, maybe two years. He last saw his Lolo and Lola when he was 7 months old and only met his Nanny and Granddad once when he was 4 months old!

Now that the pandemic seems to be calming down a bit, my brother who lives in Quebec decided to come to Alberta for a visit and see the mountains for the first time.

My brother now has 5 sons of his own and this trip would mark the first time any of them got to meet Elliott.

The boys all loved spending time together. My nephews couldn’t stop leaving Elliott alone, and Elliott would ask to see “The Kids” every time they weren’t around.

My family arrived on a Saturday evening around supper time and spent some time getting reacquainted with each other. The next morning we packed up our cars and headed out to spend the night camping in Banff.

I was a little bit nervous because my boyfriend was unable to join us on the trip. It was about a 4.5 hour drive to the campground which is the longest drive I’ve done on my own, let alone with a toddler. Also, Elliott had never been camping before so I wasn’t sure how that was going to work. And it was supposed to be a little bit cold overnight so I was scared he was going to get too cold.

But it all worked out for the best. Elliott slept in the car for about 3 hours so I didn’t have to deal with a cranky toddler much of the drive. His cousins kept him occupied while I sent up the tent. I did however forget how bad the mosquitos would be. Also I happened to choose a campground that was right beside some train tracks, which drove by every few hours blowing its horn.

Elliott went to sleep without any issue. Maybe because I also went to bed at the same time so he was never alone. I didn’t sleep well though. I was so worried that Elliott was going to fall off his air mattress, so anytime I heard him move I would wake up to make sure he was okay. The first few times I checked, he was fine so I started to relax. Then one time I woke up due to something else waking me and found him on the ground!

I found him on the ground twice that night but it never seemed to wake him up so I guess I could have just left him.

I was also kept up by a neighboring camper who was shining lights around for about an hour, which kept shining into my tent, so that kept me awake until 11pm. Then there was the aforementioned train horn. Finally there were people with alarms set on their phones which started going off at 5am. Oh, I also forgot to mention that my air mattress was broken so I was sleeping on the ground most of the night.

Thankfully Elliott slept in until 7:45am and had a great time sleeping in the tent.

That morning we got up and had breakfast. We drove into Banff and had lunch at an Indian buffet. Next we rode up the Gondola to view Banff from the top of a mountain. By the time we were finished there it was time to go back to the campground for supper.

My brother lent me one of his air mattresses for our second night of camping. And I tried setting up Elliott’s bed slightly different in hopes that he wouldn’t fall off it again. I was hopeful that I was going to get a better nights sleep. But I was wrong.

Elliott fell off his bed at least 4 or 5 times this night. I got even less sleep because of that. I think the problem was that he was trying to flip over onto his stomach, but then the sleeping bag would slide off the air mattress or he would crawl out of the sleeping bag altogether and end up with his head on the ground. But again, it never bothered him at all.

And of course, the phone alarms went off at 5 and 6am again. And Elliott decided 6am was a good time to wake up that day. At least that allowed me to get an early start on packing up the tent in preparation to go home.

All in all I would say it was a successful camping trip and I’m glad Elliott got to spend time with his cousins. I’m looking forward to doing more camping next summer along with his dad.