One of the (few) good things about camping is our awesome tent. When we started fostering, we had to invest in a new tent. We knew that we would need a tent where the children could have their own sleeping pods. We had previously had a tent where we all slept in together, whilst this worked well for us with our birth children, we knew this would not work with a foster child. Until this year Annie and Lauren have been sharing a pod, but now they want their own space. We did not want to buy a bigger tent so we thought we would buy a small pop up tent to go inside the living area of the tent for Alice. It meant that we could have her much closer to us at night – without having her actually being in the pod with us, and this way the older girls would get their own space.
We have also invested in buying a porch for the outside of the tent. We realise that fostering a child with a physical disability means bringing lots of extra equipment. Having the porch means we can store her wheelchair and freewheel attachment safely outside of the tent. This works particularly well if it’s raining as it means we are not dragging in a wet and muddy wheelchair into the inside of the tent.
One of the more difficult issues with camping is keeping an area of the tent clean for changing Alice’s catheters. She has had a series of bladder infections this year so we are trying to be quite vigilant in keeping things clean. Easier said than done under canvas. One of the other issues is that whilst we have packed plenty of spare clothes for the week, when clothes get soiled – there is the little issue of where to store them until we can get them washed. Just when things had been going quite smoothly we suddenly had three sets of clothes dirty where her nappies had leaked.
Just when I was beginning to lose the will, my friend told me about a group that was running on site for children with additional needs. As well as running a morning and evening programme for the children, they provided a parents area with tea and coffee available all week. In addition to this, they had washing facilities and offered a clothes washing and drying service. I was so impressed with the care and attention they had given to ensure families with children who have additional needs would have a good week at the festival. I have to admit I felt slightly guilty dropping off Alice’s bag of soiled washing, though not that guilty when I thought of the alternative – the smell in the tent all night if I didn’t!
With such a wonderful service, some decent sunshine, and our girls really enjoying themselves, I almost find myself enjoying the camping experience. Almost.
A Less Ordinary Family Blog