She says Aidan’s little project was a welcome light. “In all the doom and gloom with the news, it’s something uplifting.”
“It makes me feel like I’m camping, and it keeps my mind off the lockdown.”
And Aidan is a seasoned camper. Since he was eight weeks old, the family has ventured all over Victoria and even as far as outback Hay in NSW, Uluru and Birdsville.
In September 2020, Aidan and his brother Jack spent two weeks sleeping in a caravan in the front yard of their house and having a ball, so this year the family suggested camping in the backyard together.
“We hadn’t been away in the  School holidays in July,’ says Paula. “My father-in-law had passed away and we didn’t go on our regular camping holiday.
“We needed something to break the monotony of lockdown, give them something else because they have nowhere to go and nothing to do.”
But while Jack returned to his bedroom after the first two weeks, Aidan continued.
“Aidan says, ‘I’m never coming in again,'” says Paula. “We have the tarpaulin up, which keeps the rain out. And he likes the cold, so there were no dramas along those lines. I think it’s something he’s doing to take his mind off the lockdown.”
She says Aidan never collapsed and slept in his room. “It’s been out every night. He loves it.” Paula says, when they hear about it, “people say, ‘Really? He sleeps outside, alone?’
“But we’ve been to such remote places, this is nothing. And in the swag it is quite warm. “People go, ‘What’s he doing? He can’t watch TV’ and I say, ‘My kids have never watched TV in bed, so it’s no different.’ ”
Aidan can read a book by torchlight “but usually he jumps in bed and goes to sleep”.
Paula says sleeping outside has given him confidence and some much-needed pleasure.
“What could be wrong? It’s a little adventure of his own that he can always remember…”
Aidan says, “I thought it was a good idea because I just like sleeping outside.”
He would recommend it to other children. “It is fun to do. You don’t have to stay inside all the time,” he says. “You can sleep somewhere else.”
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