As Poeta Atlantiae, I felt like I needed to haul my butt south of Fredricksburg at least once, so early on I decided to sponsor a poetry competition on the theme of medieval romance. That was the "gotta go" reason for attending. Also, I was eager to camp.
The "camping with a toddler" thing was just not a lot of fun. He seemed to be confused at times: "Okay, Momma, it's been fun being outside, but I want to go in and play with cars and blocks now. Where are my cars and blocks?" Per his usual MO at SCA events, he did not want to nap, and so he got cranky. Per being a toddler, he was go-go-go-go all the time; once or twice, we got him to climb up into a Big Person camp chair and just sit in it for actual measurable times and that was awesome.
I skipped several very interesting-sounding classes because (having learned my lesson last Baronial Birthday) it is important to not do Too Much with the kid in tow. One thing - one stint of volunteering, one project, one competition - is it. In this case, it was the poetry competition: setting up, helping out some of the contestants, finding a third judge, judging, closing up, returning entries and judging forms. When not doing those things, I was in camp (except for the 20-30 min the Dear Spouse suggested I go shopping).
Between an hour of insomnia Friday night, a 5am wakeup to get to the site by 10am, and chasing the kid all day, I was too beat to attend the bardic circle that was conveniently located in our camp. I had told the Dear Spouse that if he wanted to wander the camp and look for bardics, I'd be happy to stay in with the Spud, but when we realized we had five performers just in our camp, an in-house circle seemed inevitable. Sitting 30' from the tent, I'd have heard him if he cried, so I could go too, right? Yeah! Except for that pesky reality thing. I crashed out when he did, around 9pm. (Which meant I was up at 6am, probably to the chagrin of those camping near me, although I really did try to make the coffee quietly.)
But it had its good points: we had three excellent entries into the competition; I had some nifty conversations with other folks; there were a few quiet, relaxing moments of sitting outside in the shade and the breeze when Mr Man finally consented to nap; the ham-lentil stew came out well.
But the Dear Spouse is not an enthusiastic camper. He was supportive, but he was clearly not having a good time. Given the hassles involved, it makes it hard to justify doing this again in the next 4-5 years or so. I foresee many events in our future where we skip court and/or feast to hit the road at 3-4pm when the kid(s) start to melt down.