Saying goodbye to camp

On Friday, dd will finish her last day of her first summer camp experience. Kindergarten starts next week, and it didn’t make sense to keep her in camp for half of the week, with Kindergarten intruding midway through the week. DH and I are splitting the duty; he’s got her for a few days and I have her for a few days, and between the two of us we’ll now begin doing this comical dance that somehow provides us with coverage for days when she’s not in school while simultaneously keeping us from running afoul of the dregs of our paid time off pools.

It’s been a strange journey. I thought I’d write more about it, especially when she was such a sad panda for those first few weeks, crying about not wanting to go to camp before we’d even made out of the house, clinging to my leg like a wet leaf as I signed her in every morning. But somewhere around the 4th week, things went past clicking – and she really fell in love with it.

By then, she knew all the counselors’ names, and they all clearly knew her. They loved playing off her humor and they knew how to push her buttons to get her to smile or interact with them, and this increased my comfort level dramatically over the course of the summer. We’d originally been very hesitant to send her to this camp, since though most friends gave it decent reviews, we heard bad things from one friend whose daughter is a contemporary of dd. There were anecdotes of her dd coming home from camp still in wet clothes (they swim daily) and too-young, clearly inexperienced people tending to my friend’s child. But when I sent in dd, whether it was that she was a year older at the time that she went or whether it was just the difference between the two girls, dd just didn’t have those issues. She never came home in the wrong clothes, or in wet clothes, or in anything other than what I expected.

She came home happy.

She never face-planted into her dinner plate, as I’d been warned that she might, but she did come home tired every day…worn out from playing outside in the lovely summer weather and swimming in the pool.

And now she’s leaving it behind, for terra incognita. She’s off to Kindergarten, a whole new adventure.

We knew that things would change come the Fall; one drop-off would become two, breakfast and lunch would be on-us rather than served up at day care, and a backpack would be the norm rather than a rare exception. Camp was our opportunity to get everyone into that new routine a bit early. Our ds also needed some time to adjust to not having his sister RIGHT THERE when he wanted her, since day care allowed them to visit each other pretty much whenever they wanted. Camp set a serious geographic boundary between them that forced him to handle the day all on his own, and he’s done well with it. Oddly enough, when I come in to pick him up in the afternoons, his sister in tow, he blasts right past her with yells of “Mommy! Mommy!” and gives me the biggest, awesomest hugs ever.

It’s been quite the summer. It’s whisked by in a blur of trips and parties, with camp, daycare and work as the only things not on some kind of orbit. They were fixed points. And now one of them is changing – again. I suppose it will actually get easier; the elementary school is closer to home than camp. Still, it’s all more changes to the routine and somehow we just need to get into the new routine without somehow losing our collective nut.

So expect that I’ll still struggle some with lunches and snacks and the inevitable “OMG HER NEW MORON FRIENDS ARE GETTING HER INTO {name something I’m sure to hate}“. I suppose every parent goes through this at some point or another. It just seems like the summer raced by and I don’t know how it happened that my little girl, who it seems I only just put into day care, who only just became a big sister, is now staring down turning six in a couple of months and is starting Kindergarten in a week. ONE WEEK.

It all seems rather incredible, and yet I suppose I can believe it. So we’ll say goodbye to camp for now – with plans to return next summer (perhaps with both kids this time). And I’ll still think of her as my little girl, because (deep inside her) she always will be.

No Adventuring this week: What Gives?!

It’s a crazy time of the year in our household, and the CSA boxes are most definitely part of the insanity. Seeing as how I’m getting ready to attend my first BlogHer conference in a few weeks, I’ve had to practice my elevator speech when faced with the inevitable question: “What is your blog about?” Really, my blog is about four things:

  • CSA and learning about eating local
  • Cooking, heavily focused on crock pot and recipes featuring CSA box items
  • Fitness – which will get louder as my marathon walk approaches, and…
  • Balance (which also includes my random musings about parenthood, things that bug me, etc.)

As we looked over this week’s CSA box contents, both DH and I were meh about the whole thing. Dear Lord, do there have to be still more cucumbers that I don’t want to deal with?! (The cosmic punchline being that my sister handed me a bag with four ginormous cukes today, insisting that I should “do whatever [I] want as long as they don’t come back home with [her]”. Her garden is overrun by cucumbers of considerable size.) So, we didn’t order the box. And then, when dh went to the farm stand today with the kids, he returned with some more blueberries, some raspberries and a half-pint of their SO DELICIOUS cherry tomatoes (which were gobbled up over the course of dinner). I queried him about whether we were going back tomorrow to do a MYO box, and he responded that the selection was only so-so. There wasn’t much that he was excited about, and the selection “wasn’t that good”.

Well, hmm.

This is an interesting turn of events. We’re not required to work from a box, because we didn’t purchase one, and there’s not much that’s exciting at the local farm. Sure, I could hit up the grocery store, but they’ve already telegraphed what they have that’s local, and the list is short and undistinguished. I could go to Whole Foods and hope they have more to offer, but I’m just not feeling it this week. I think it comes down to three problems:

  • The opt-in weekly program doesn’t require us to participate
  • The selection isn’t inspiring a MYO
  • My head’s so far into BlogHer that it’s, ironically, not into the CSA game

And this is where I laugh a bit. While it’s going to be a bone of contention with some PR folks at the conference, I’m sure, that I haven’t selected only ONE core competency to make the focus of my blog, the blog really represents who I am. I’m trying to figure out what it means to eat more local foods – what the cost is to our budget versus the cost to the greater good (health, the environment, the local economy, etc.). I’m a food-lover, and I grew up in a culture that places very high importance on good-tasting food. So, of course, if I’m going to talk about what will become ingredients for recipes, why not talk about the recipes, too? Thus, the cooking.

What about the fitness? Well, I’m sorry if it seems a bit silly, but I think it’s a big deal to walk 26.2 miles, and it’s not something I think anyone should attempt lightly. I learned quite a bit from web sites and friends about what I need to do to prepare, and I’m trying to pay back some of that goodwill by posting about my experiences training and walking, so some other n00b doesn’t go into their first marathon completely unprepared.

And “balance”? “Blather”? Yeah, yeah. My head is filled with all kinds of knowledge, both potentially classifiable as useless (such as how the Washington Redskins came to be known by that name) and useful (such as the critical differences between the European Union and the United States that will make it easier for the US to weather continued global recession). Sometimes I just feel the need to get stuff off my chest. If it bugs you, don’t worry. Just go look at the Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe or something, and all will be right with your world.

In other words there will be no CSA post this week…but I’m still very busy lining things up for BlogHer such that I should (hopefully) very soon have even more interesting things that will help bolster what I’m already doing. So, stay tuned…

Coping with the changes of camp

This morning was one of the tougher ones to drop off dd at camp; she was nearly inconsolable. Clearly, some of this is related to her being SO INCREDIBLY TIRED from running around all day. She’s used to the more quiet, academically-focused day care environment she spent the last five years cloistered away in. Now, she’s in a day camp that spends the majority of its time outside, playing sports or swimming. It’s not that she’s led a completely inactive or sedentary life; she had some measure of time outside playing back when she was at day care. It’s just that this is so much more concentrated active outside time, and her brother’s still at day care, so she can’t see him whenever she wants.

So, while I have yet to see her do the legendary “face plant into the dinner plate” I heard so much about, she’s coming home beyond tired, and that exhaustion breeds a massive sensitivity that seems to turn her into a great melty mess. Of course, this has then gotten her into whining extensively about how much she wants to go back to day care and how she doesn’t want to go back to camp.

I’m hoping that some of this will be fixed with some sleep, and I’m trying to see if I can work from home on Fridays during the summer so that I can let both kiddos sleep in a little and get picked up a little earlier. There are no guarantees that this will fix everything, but it may make coming into the weekend a little easier. Since it took me nearly 10 minutes to dislodge her iron grip this morning at camp drop-off, I have to figure that there’s more we can do.

We also need to find a way to get her to bed earlier. It’s tough when both parents work full-time and you’re struggling, as it is, to give the kids enough time to eat their dinner and get a bath or some play time before bed. To have to try to push bedtime up to an earlier point is difficult without sacrificing something on the other end. We haven’t yet figured out how we’ll do this, but we need to do something.

I’m open to hearing from those who’ve been through this before, the transition to camp (and kindergarten) after a long stay in day care…maybe we can pick up on something that’ll be a magic bullet to solve this problem, even if it’s only temporary.