It’s that time of year. The reading logs have stopped coming home. Parents are frantically collecting money for end-of-year teacher gifts. And my kids have begun the grand countdown to the Last Day of School. Even my preschooler, whose main classroom activities involve building forts with Legos and then pummeling them with toy dinosaurs, is bouncing around the house in anticipation of the sweet taste of freedom.
Everyone is excited. Except me, that is. Because the end of school inevitably means one thing. Camp. And while I love that my kids spend more time in the fresh air, instead of half-listening to their teachers while sneaking swirls on their fidget spinners, there are a few things about camp that drive me crazy.
The hours. What sort of schedule is 9-12? Yes, I know my kid is little. But Mommy has a full-time job, which barely covers the cost of therapy for all that guilt I feel whenever I imagine him hanging out with the sitter until I get home.
The cost. While daycare is a (somewhat) reasonable monthly cost, summer shifts to a weekly camp schedule, to give us flexibility for all those vacations we can’t afford to take. The weekly cost is quite manageable, should I decide to embark on that second career in white collar crime I’ve been considering.
The sunscreen. At some camps, counselors are not allowed to help the kids apply sunscreen. That means that I have to put it on them at 8 a.m., and hope that by the time camp lets out, my kids are not full-blown lobsters. Or, if they applied the sunscreen themselves, that half the bottle isn’t gone and that some actually made it onto their skin. Then there’s the whole dilemma: do you send them to camp with the toxic-chemical-filled sunblock that’s easy to spread, or the organic sunscreen that makes your kid look like they’re covered in toothpaste? It almost makes you miss winter.
The tick phobia. Inevitably each summer I’ll receive a notice like this: “Dear Parent, next week we’re taking your child on a special trip deep into the woods where she will commune with nature while rubbing every inch of her exposed skin on a tick-covered tree. Please check her when she gets home.” Can’t they just stay in the pool? Or sit in an empty room and stare at their fidget spinners?
The competition. I send my kids to the town camp. There’s lots of activities and they have a great time. I feel pretty good about it. Until I talk to Amy’s mom, who is sending her to a theater camp led by the cast of Cirque du Soleil…during which time Amy will also be taught to cook a five-course meal while defusing a bomb, making a robot, and learning croquet. There’s a camp for everything…and they all run from 9-12 and charge by the week.
Yes, there are many wonderful things about camp. And I do feel like my kids need and deserve a break from the school year. More than anything, I wish I didn’t have to work and could be home spending my summer making memories with them each day. But until I win the lottery, it’s back to work for me..and perhaps that second career in white-collar crime. After all, someone has to pay for underwater Sudoku camp.
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