Never Say Never

One of the nevers I have said, and repeated to myself my whole adult life was “My children are NEVER going to ride bikes in the desert! NEVER EVER”. Now when I said these words the image I had of “my children” were preteen or teen kids standing there with looks of annoyance on their faces.
I could taste the words as I swallowed them down while my not yet 5-year-old J rode an impossibly small 4 wheeler bike in circles around me. My in-laws had a great show of watching (hearing) me running around like a headless chicken, shouting instructions and warnings at the child who was basically no more than 3 meters away from me at any time. “SLOW DOWN! SPEED UP! COME BACK! TURN AROUND! DON’T RUN INTO ANYONE! STOP STOP STOP! OK, GO” etc.

S was in heaven! We arrived at the camp site before everyone else and so he got to go on the 4 wheeler (a slightly bigger, but just his size one) before the rest of his cousins. (Who had mostly all been on one already). I didn’t realize he was going to drive it on his own. Once we got all the safety gear on him and he sat down I kept wondering how my husband was going to find room to sit behind him. I mean it seemed way too small. But because the thought of S riding a bike on his own was not anywhere in my consciousness it was not as obvious to me as it would have been to any other sane person watching. Once I did catch on to what was happening I re-strapped S’s knee pads and elbow pads and helmet and let him go!

He followed his father for hours! He loved it! M had J on his big bike for a while then she wanted to try it herself so he left her under my supervision to ride circles around me literally.  She kept trying to go off but the second she got a few centimeters away from where I was comfortable she would come back in fear of her mother making a bigger fool out of herself than she was already making. At some point S came back and asked me to loosen his elbow pads cause they hurt. When I looked at his arm it was kind of turning blue because I had cut off the circulation so I obliged without admitting, of course, that I made it too tight in the first place.

The kids had a great time. I sat there for the two days praying for sun set to come sooner so they could get off their bikes! S didn’t stop riding till his hands went numb and his thumb hurt him from pushing the accelerator (right? is that what it’s called? excuse my ignorance). He had two falls. One because he was looking behind him and ran over a bump which sent him flying, the other was just bad luck. No injuries but a small scratch on his back. Better he learns now, when I have enough control over him to put helmets, knee pads and elbow pads on him and enough sense now to listen to our warnings and learn how to ride properly than later when we are not with him and he’s speeding like a maniac. Not that he won’t speed like one when he grows up anyway, but I guess if we at least give him a good foundation and try and hammer in common sense he will stay safe.

Baby B enjoyed the sand. He picked everything up, not necessarily a good thing, but surprisingly only put sand in his mouth once. I think that was all it took for him to know that sand was not on his list of yummy things. I am not a desert person. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but I spend most of my time panicking about the people who went driving, the children who are on the bikes, the insects and scorpions and a whole manner of ridiculous things I found to worry about.

When night came the children played for hours in the sand. They dug holes and built little hills they called mountains. Then they decided to have a hole digging competition. S said “we will call it Baba’s Deepest Hole competition! and Baba can be the judge!”. Then J chimed in saying “Baba’s hole of Death!” then S said: “Baba’s hole of Death and Darkness!” Not sure if that should worry me. Told them no Baba’s hole of death and darkness. Just keep digging. (all the while thoughts of a story I read about a child who got buried in a hole he had dug in the sand at the beach were running through my head) So I stood there, like a crazy person going “DON’T DIG TOO DEEP! DON’T STAND THERE! DON’T JUMP OVER THE HOLE!”


  1. Slmz- if u don’t mind,then please tell us more about the camping. Did you sleep in tents/cook on fire etc? What about toilets/showers?? Would be very intersting to know all this cos many of us have never done this!! Do you go often? Have you tried driving the 4 wheeler?

    • We didn’t sleep in tents, we went for the less than authentic caravans actually! Running water and electricity. But when we were younger we used to sleep in tents, all huddled up on the floor in traditional wool tents. I don’t go so often, but many people do. Especially during the winter. We do cook on fires (we not being me since I am a terrible cook). But the men usually cook traditional meal of rice and meat or chicken over a fire. I have never spent the night in the dessert without a caravan with a toilet! But have vague childhood memories of not being close enough to use them and having to improvise. I used to go duning as well (Driving or riding in a car that is being driven like crazy over dunes) but I have become boring in my old age. I also used to drive bikes or rather sit terrified behind the person driving. The problem is there have been so many accidents over the years that have resulted in serious injury or death that i am put off the whole thing and was praying to God my children would hate it. But I cannot keep them wrapped in cotton wool all their life, all I can do is prepare them! But going to the desert is an amazing experience, especially at night. I highly recommend it. Next time I go I will take more pictures and elaborate :-) I warn you, you might have to wait a while till next time.

  2. If they dig deep enough you might have to come for dinner! LOL
    I don’t like our boys on quads either, and they love them and motorbikes – and they have a freakish ability to manage them. We’ve said they can’t have their own until they’re 10…but even that feels too soon now that the Hare is nine. (It does look like fun though.;))

    • That would have been nice! You would have had a bunch of very filthy tired kids for dinner. Need to remember the terminology, quads. Seriously considering editing the text so that it’s not misunderstood. And you are right, they are really in control of them! Especially the little ones who have been riding them a while.

  3. Its been really a long time since we had fun in the desert. My kids love it, but honestly I hate everything related to desert. I hate the sand and the cleaning up afterwards. but I guess its one of the things I need to do for the sake of the kids and my Hubby who like to Barbecue.
    Your trip looks fun, and the weather these days, I’ve been told is very pleasant for camping.

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