Friday, May 20, 2011

Summer Camp Overkill

Before I get into today's topic, should I be worried that I got several hits from the Middle East yesterday and those readers appeared to have found me with the Google search "forged documents?"  Are bloggers supposed to alert the FBI?  I find it hard to believe that terrorists are looking for long-term employment at Chuck E. Cheese via forged baptismal certificates.

Moving on....
Two years ago, I had no summer plans for the boys.  I was still suffering a little post traumatic stress disorder from "the lost year" (when Joey screamed 24/7 and never slept).  One of my friends suggested the Chicago Park District.  It seemed benign enough, so I registered Daniel.  What I didn't know at the time was that a bunch of 18-year-olds would be taking my precious firstborn on a bus once a week for field trips downtown.  This warranted some advanced interrogation techniques of my unsuspecting preschooler:

"Now what happens if you get lost?"

"I find a lady."

"No!  A mommy!  You find a MOMMY!"

"Oh, right.  A mommy."

"And how do you know if she's a mommy and not just a regular lady?"

"Because she's old and fat."

"NO!  You look for a stroller.  Find a lady with a STROLLER."

This went on for about 2 weeks prior to camp.  At that point, Daniel was also suffering from a little post traumatic stress disorder.

For our second year of camp, I registered both Daniel and Jack.  It was a fairly relaxing summer.  I'd walk the boys to the park a block from our house and go for a bike ride with Joey on his German-engineered bike seat that almost gave my husband a stroke while attaching it to my bike. He of course did this in front of our house.  With neighbor kids listening.  Anyone see A Christmas Story?  Several neighbors won't speak to us anymore. 

I digress.  Anyway, I finally got around to reviewing the emails from other moms:

Hi all!  Just wanted to see what you guys had planned for your darling children this summer!  We're doing ballet camp, sculpting, AND build-your-own nuclear reactor camp.  Should be fun - email me if you're interested!

Our little Flloyd (not real name, but WAS the name of pet guinea pig in 6th grade class) just got accepted into the elite Northwestern gifted camp!  Hope everyone got their applications sent in time.  It does require a teacher recommendation.  Flloyd is so excited!

Bonjour!  Francesca (again, fake name) will be spending the summer in Paris with her grandma to supplement her French.  I'm sure she'd love to hear from her classmates, so please encourage your child to write her (in French of course).    

Fine, I might have stretched the truth a bit on the last one, but the first two examples are pretty close to verbatim.  These emails left me in last place of the Mommy Olympics.   

My panic set in. Park District Camp?  What was I thinking?  I should have investigated better!  I should have gotten a second mortgage on our house for brain surgeon camp!  I was a failure!

The voices of reason (my husband and my Atheist-friend-who-bakes) both told me to settle down.  For anyone who has read this blog longer than a day, "settling down" is really not my forte.  Unless of course you have a great bottle of Cabernet to back up that request.   

So this year I went all out.  I have already paid for 3 camps and am cursing myself for not holding out for violin/yoga/tennis/basketball camp, and if you think I'm making that up, go ahead and visit  I'm debating about a week of chess camp, but I'm going to need to come up with some creative financing so my husband doesn't notice I've spent more this summer on camps than I did our wedding. 

I do this not because I'm trying to rid myself of the children.  Sleeping in and packing lunches for the park are far more appealing.  I do this because of the inordinate amount of peer pressure I feel to keep pace with other moms.  My gut tells me to let them be kids and spend the summer playing in the sprinkler.  My inner Gold Medalist Mommy tells me to start planning now for the Mayo Clinic Summer Camp for High Schoolers.  Again, you can't make this stuff up.


  1. Was this the same 'Inner Mommy' that told you to teach the kids never to wake you up, stay downstairs, watch TV and eat granola bars until you were ready to get out of bed?

  2. Be quiet and go bake me something.

  3. I miss Flloyd. Check your front porch.


  4. Why, did you dig him up and leave him there? You're sick. Poor dead Flloyd.

  5. I know this won't help much with your worry but whenever I get worried about stuff like this I remember this story. When I was lamenting whether our school district's schools were good enough to propel our children into Ivy League schools my wise mother said, "Smart kids are always smart and it doesn't matter what school you send them too. You guys turned out fine without much help from the district." Your kids have good genes; try to obsess slightly less (good luck w/that, huh?). Although I must say, when we went to the pediatrician the other day and she asked Ellie what activities she was involved in, I started to get sweaty when Ellie just looked at her blankly and said, "I like to play Wii."

  6. Oh, and I love that today 90% of your ads are for camps. Around the world camp, "non-competitive" arts camp, robotics camp...

  7. Sara - Your mom is a wise woman. I keep telling myself the same thing, but the mother-madness culture out there causes me to question myself daily. By the way, I laughed my butt off over Ellie's "Wii" comment. I can almost see her face as she said it. Danny rats me out the same way without knowing it all the time. Once my magnets arrive, I will have your envelope already addressed, stamped, and ready to ship. I've got this sinking feeling I spelled my blog wrong on it. Fitting.