RR Hates Camp

Well, it had to end sometime. RR’s three weeks of bad-planning bliss have come to a close. You see, back in April (APRIL) when we had to sign up for camp, Debra and I were grappling with how to afford both school tuition and camp fees in July. June was okay, no tuition. But July and August are double months. Ouch. At the time, we were already on a shoestring (thank god for a raise) and so we made the decision to keep her home for two weeks. Turns out we didn’t schedule three weeks so Debra and I have passed RR like a hot potato since the fourth of July. Mostly that fluffy steaming pocket of goodness landed with my wife because work didn’t go the way it was supposed to go and not only could I not take her during the day, I missed several bedtimes as well.

This worked well for RR. This is a child who abhors organized fun. She loves the moment and is nonchalant about what’s next. She loves her mothers. She loves cool, quiet spaces. She loves drawing for hours on end. She loves to dance and run and hide and chase when she gets bitten by crazy. She connects with one person. She sometimes stutters when rushed by others who wish she’d spit it out already. She likes to take naps. She spends hours, happily, playing in her room. She wants to read, and add, and decode secret messages. She wants to play music and twirl.

She does not want your woven bracelet.
She does not want your bus songs.
She does not want your Boom Chika Boom.
She does not want your broken crayons or your markers on the high shelf.
She does not want your “time to go!”
She does not want your comfort, your chants, or your smiles.
She does not want your ball games.
She does not want to capture your flag.
She will not have your toilets. NOT A SINGLE ONE.

The rivers of urine, you guys. She came home soaked each day. She came home in tears, left in tears, and cried at bedtime. She sobbed that it was too loud. She sobbed that she couldn’t tell she had to pee. She held our hands and screamed at the bus stop. You can understand the agony we felt in sending her back.*

But send her we did. We sent her with headphones for the bus. Our miracle-worker physician prescribed a new medication and the accidents she had with us had almost stopped. Debra emailed the camp to describe the predicament. We bought a new backpack that matched the other kids’, replaced her water bottle so it didn’t leak, and got new shoes that didn’t reek of pee. We bribed the unbribeable child with a game of Crazy 8s, a lollipop, and dance classes. You’re six now, we said, you can do anything. You can do this.

Today is only Tuesday, which means we really only have Monday to go on. I’ll whisper this so there will be no karmic backlash**: She came home dry. She came home smiling. She didn’t cry herself to sleep. There were storm clouds this morning but no tears. Cross your fingers that when we pick her up today we’re on the same track. I’ll just take one of those things. Anything is a miracle.

*Nope. No other full day options that aren’t identical. No friendly neighbor or sister or grandmother. No way to manage another 4 weeks of having her at work. It has to be done.

**I know that karma doesn’t work this way, yes.


11 Responses

  1. Oh man. That’s so rough, and I have so been there–personally. I HATED CAMP. I had to go every summer until I was old enough to stay home, and man I just freaking HATED it. Camp is an extrovert’s playground–it’s hard on the introvert. I hope today is another good day and that it continues to get easier. Poor kiddo. That’s tough.

    • I definitely think there’s some introvert (me, yay!)/extrovert thing going on. The bath has been a godsend really. For a child that abhored baths when she was littler, they are now a decompressing time. Phew!

  2. I hope it continues to go better! I was okay with camp, but that’s because I learned where to hide from the other kids and read. It’s a difficult adjustment, though, but hopefully she can adjust. ❤

    • I’m waiting eagerly to see if she’ll be a reader. She can read right now but isn’t showing the sticktoittiveness (there’s no way that word/concept is spelled like that) to get lost in a book like I did. That said, I don’t remember what age I was when you couldn’t pry me away but I’ll bet it was closer to 8 or 10.

  3. We’ve juggled Edie all her summers. I’d take time off unpaid if I had to (one office I worked at told me my quiet, sit in her own corner and keep herself occupied child was far more disruptive than the smelly boss’ dog that ran up and down the hall barking), because man, she HATED camp.
    Small day camps, like Mrs Northington’s Art Camp, were perfect. But the larger ones that are essentially day care for big kids? HATED THEM. We’re feeling you RR.

    I do think karma works that way, BTW. Maybe next summer my girl could lend a hand.

    • I am grateful everyday for bosses that either don’t know or don’t care. The organization as a whole (not the whole of the university, I can’t say) is very understanding (which is amazing). Next summer though – I can’t even think about it. I’m only hopeful there can be more art camp and more talented kids who can care for her now and again. Fingers crossed Edie will be there either this summer or next! In any case, I can’t wait to introduce them.

  4. Bug, who is super extroverted and loves people, threw an absolute fit about the first camp he did this summer. All we could extract from him was “it’s TOO NOISY”. (Since I am UNEMPLOYED, we just stopped sending him.) I hope RR makes it through without driving her parents too bonkers.

  5. I want to click like, but I feel for RR. For all of you, really. I hope the rest of the week went well or at least as well as Monday, but hopefully better. I don’t understand how Summer’s can be so short and so long at the same time.

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