Camp Mom: Week 1

There are 68 days in this particular instalment of family togetherness known as summer vacation 2014. We’ve successfully conquered 10 of them. And during said 10 days we went to the library approximately 3 times.

Fortunately – or should I say, presently – my boy-children enjoy going to the library and checking out 30 books at a time, two of which they fail to return on any given excursion, which causes me to spend an inordinate amount of time on the library website ‘managing’ my account. In much the same way one might manage a bank account. Except instead of transferring money from this account to that, I’m playing the renewal game; trying to grasp which books have been left under beds or in the basement and therefore need to be renewed while we ‘look’ for them, before the fines start accruing. It helps that the library names most of the books ‘Children’s Paperback’ so you don’t even know what the book that is now three days overdue is called.

Summer in Calgary is a glorious, if perpetually daylit, affair. And, much like the time off from school, also lasts for approximately 68 days. The sky is blue. Everything is green and the temperature hovers in the mid to high seventies, which is ideal for the Johnsons who start wilting when the thermometer hits 80. (As the Gort mentioned in one of his school journal entries, ‘I would not like to visit India because I am not used to extreme heat.’)

The only sticky coincidence to this meteorological splendour being that one has custody of one’s children for 15 hours of every one of those 68 summery days. Trust me, I counted. Some nights it’s 10:30 before all the boys are asleep and 7:30 by the time they wake up, which, if one is able to stay awake until 11pm, results in approximately 30 minutes of tranquility each day; when no one is fighting or trashing your home.

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Exhibit A

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Exhibit B

This is, of course, why parents fork over thousands of dollars to place their children in summer camps. They’re trying to retain a semblance of sanity. As for my deluded self, I joke that I’ve enrolled my kids in ‘Camp Mom!’ whenever anyone asks what camps the boys are doing this summer. I try to say it with confidence and intention but I suspect the accompanying nervous laughter gives me away.

For some reason I can’t quite identify, I think it should not be that difficult to navigate a summer together without losing one’s sanity, or booking one’s children into week-long camps. On paper, if I structure the day a bit and maybe do crafts and art lessons and excursions and research projects and hand-writing practice and cooking lessons, shouldn’t summer be entirely doable? Assuming my children are willing to do crafts and art lessons and research projects, of course. (And isn’t that what Facebook told me to do? All those links to articles about ‘giving your kids a 70’s summer’ which, from my cursory reading, seemed to mean letting them play with the garden hose. Check!)

It should. Be doable. And I fully intend to start doing all of those things……very soon.

As for the first week at Camp Mom, I could say it was entirely doable. But maybe that’s because I ended up being gone for two of the days and there was Canada Day and VBS and harvesting the inordinate amount of spinach in my community garden box, and the 3 trips to the library and a stampede breakfast (and lunch) to fill the time when I was home.

And then there was Sunday. Bloody Sunday. And all I really wanted to do was maybe clean the hovel that is my home, or at least wash the mud off my walls, and maybe read my book or, you know, just do anything from start to finish without having to stop to referee yet another brotherly spat about backyard soccer, or pillows, or who’s not helping with clean-up. Or having to field requests for food while I’m making food or trying to clean up the kitchen so I can make more food.

‘How looong, how long must we sing this song.’

Really, what I need is Sunday Camp.

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No, it’s not tbt remembering Halloweens past, this was yesterday. Before they stuffed their costumes with (clean! put away!) clothes and deposited their ‘dummies’ in various places all around the house (below), including, most memorably in front of one of the soccer goals in the backyard during a game – in loco goalis.

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Forgive me if this is a jumbled mess, I had to wake up at 3:50am just so I could write this without people yelling around me. (Truthfully, the 4 year old woke me up at 3:50am and I couldn’t fall asleep again.)

Today’s gonna be a good, good, day.

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