Recently we got a Christmas card from Aron’s brother asking “what do you all think about a canoe trip … in the spring?”
Once I got over my panic attack at the thought of taking FOUR small kids on a the WATER for hours at a time (and potentially even being pukey and pregnant), I posted on one of my Large Family groups on CafeMom to get some reactions from them to make sure I wasn’t completely paranoid. Here’s what I got:
“No no no and HELL NO!!!!! Even a calm, shallow river can be very dangerous for non-swimmers. Any child that is not a STRONG independent swimmer needs a (competent) adult dedicated to watch after him... that means one adult for every one young child at a bare minimum!!!
A life jacket keeps a child on the surface of the water ... for the most part … it does not always bring them up head first and has no way to protect them from things like sharp rocks in the middle of the current.
Sounds like you would have your self, husband and 4 kids in one boat? What if the boat tips over? Who do you grab? I’ve taken my 7- and 8-year-olds on float trips before and they are both super strong swimmers, but they panic when the boat tips. How are you going to keep yourself afloat while holding on to 4 kids while your husband tries to catch the boat, not to mention paddles and gear? You can’t hold that many kids, especially if they are in life vests ... so you grab 2 and hubby grabs 2 ... that means your boat is a mile ahead of you down river before you find all your children. So then you get to either put your kids in other people’s boats or walk a mile on the river bed with snakes and mud and rocks.
Honestly, how much fun would any of you have? They would be tired and cramped and sunburned and bored, and you would be in a panic about your children drowning the entire time. I don’t think you even need a tactful way to decline ... your children are too young, you don’t have enough help and it would not be safe or fun for them.”
It’s so nice to know there are other people in the world who are ultra-careful with children! I’m sure my mother is freaking out at this point. Don’t worry, Mom, I already let him know this was NOT a good idea, but that I’d be happy to hang at the camp site with the kids.