Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy Campers

Remember back when camps were basically all the same? The camp had some name that evoked nature; Camp Porcupine Mountain, Camp Lake Vulture, Camp Meadow Chrysanthemum;  or it had some faux-Indian name that the owners had to change in the 1990's (yes, summer camps are more progressive than the NFL). And the activities at these camps were all basically the same: swimming, weaving lanyards, singing campfire songs, eating s'mores, drinking bug juice, and trying to eavesdrop on the counselor's conversations.

Remember this classic summer camp movie?
"Little Darlings," starred Tatum O'Neal (left, front row) and Kristy McNichol
(right, front row). Believe it or not, that's Cynthia Nixon (Miranda from SITC)
next to Kristy. Another bit of trivia: Matt Dillon played Kristy's love interest.
I was waaaay too young to understand the plot when I watched
 this on video at a friend's birthday party. 
Now there are all of these camps where children can explore their most arcane and specialized interests. When I was making our camp plans for the summer, I was floored by all the options. Here are a few camps that didn't quite make the cut for us:

1. Junior Exterminator Camp - Junior Exterminator camp provide the opportunity for kids to learn about animals in their natural habitats! Enjoy up-close animal encounters with roof rats, squirrels, possums, mice, and raccoons! New for 2014: Campers will love exploring our simulated attics, basements, chimneys, and crawl spaces and hunting for their favorite rodents. Camp mascot Billy the Bat will be giving out our fun, "I literally killed at Junior Exterminator Camp" shirts to the campers \with the most captures. Please make sure your camper is up to date on all of his or her vaccinations and sign up for Junior Exterminator Camp today!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Appreciation Fatigue

Last week was "National Teacher Appreciation Week," which is conveniently followed by "National Parents of School-Aged Children Nervous Breakdown Fortnight." This is a festive time during which copious amounts of alcohol are consumed, prescriptions for sedatives are renewed, and emergency rooms log a marked increase in the number of people coming in with hot glue gun burns. The end of school is nigh for many of us and this means that everything between now and June 1st will be a blur of recitals, field days, tournaments, end of year celebrations, moving up ceremonies, volunteer luncheons, teacher gifts, assistant teacher gifts, coach gifts, and assistant to the coach gifts (for reals - I'm collecting for this one, care to donate?). It's just all.so.much. I certainly appreciate all the teachers and coaches who have taught my children this year, but I feel like I would appreciate them even more if the appreciation week was in, say March. Further, I would appreciate the ceremonies and performances and tournaments more if they weren't all crammed into a two week period. It's like tragedy fatigue when one disaster happens on the heels of another disaster, people get overwhelmed and are less likely to donate to victims of the subsequent tragedy. I feel like I have appreciation fatigue, so that by the time that last school-related event on the calendar (the Boy's end of the year ice cream party) rolls around, his class will probably receive whatever I already have on hand for ice cream toppings. (Why yes, dried basil flakes and pepper are delicious on vanilla ice cream. And they're certified peanut and gluten free.) Luckily, the Boy is indifferent about my presence at his events. Sometimes he outright requests that I don't come. Maybe it's in how I ask him:

Me: Do you want me to come to the second grade lunch?
Boy: I don't care.
Me: What if I promise to sit next to you and hold your hand?
Boy: Mom, stop!
Me: I'll play with your hair and sing to you?
Boy: No! Please DO NOT come.
Me: Are you sure?
Boy: Yes.

It's all in the ask.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Play that Funky Music

I'm not one of those parents who believes that my parental responsibilities include making sure that my kids have decent taste in music. That's for parents who want extra credit. I'm just trying to get by with supplying food, shelter, and transportation. Some of my friends have taken their children to carefully selected concerts and play their kids classical, jazz, and world music to make sure that they know a wide array of music genres. Other than some baby music classes that I forced upon the Boy (currently the least musically of the children, coincidentally I am sure) I have done nothing. This has worked out fine until recently when the girls both independently decided that they are interested in music. The Baby has "Let it Go" on repeat and has listened to it so much that she has memorized the entire song. This is most shocking when you know that this child often asks me at 3 pm whether she's eaten lunch. (I'd like to note that even in the sorry state of affairs that my life has become in the last year, the answer to that question is usually yes. Eight out of 10 times, anyway.) By the way, I would post a video of her rendition, but I figured that would be the equivalent of telling you about a dream that I had. There is a very slight chance you would find it interesting, but there is a much greater chance that you would want to tear out your eyes and ears. I will share this picture of her in full Elsa costume:

In case you haven't seen "Frozen" (Echo, echo, echo), the crown and cape are vitally important to the Baby's performance of "Let it Go" because Elsa tosses her crown away, symbolizing her abandoning her former life as the queen of Arendelle. Likewise, she dramatically flips the cape prior to entering the ice castle she has created and slams the door behind her at the end of the song. The Baby incorporates all these little flourishes into her performance, with that weird rainbow dreadlocked headband getting tossed across the room (often hitting someone). The deer blanket I used to decorate for the K's white trash birthday party last year is obviously her cape. I was shocked when it ripped because it seemed such good quality (sarcasm font). Instead of slamming the door to her ice castle, the Baby has to settle for slamming the door to the laundry room. I promise that when she's finished, there's not a dry eye in the house.