The Bad Mommy

I work only to pay for his therapy later.

Location: Novato, California, United States

Monday, August 21, 2006

Summer Vacation Has Changed Since I Was Kid

What the heck happened to summer? School starts on Thursday. (And may I just say: It is so totally WRONG for school to start before Labor Day. I still haven’t gotten used to that.)

(And I finally looked at the school calendar and figured out why school starts on a Thursday this year: Instead of giving the kids Weds-Fri off during Thanksgiving week, this year we have the ENTIRE week to keep them entertained. But I digress.)

I love summer vacation. I’ve always liked it, but it’s been since C entered “real” school that I’ve learned to love it in the way I did as a kid. The main reason: NO HOMEWORK. It’s entirely possible that I hate homework more than C does. It’s close, but I think I hate it more.

The secondary reason I love summer vacation: Camp. Admittedly, this is a vicarious thrill for me, but I takes ‘em where I can get ‘em.

I don’t have a huge number of memories of camp as a kid. I did a few overnights with the Girl Scouts. I remember learning how to cook Blushing Bunnies (Velveeta melted into a can of tomato soup and poured over soggy white bread). I remember learning camp songs (99 bottles of beer, anyone?). There was Vacation Bible School and I went away to church camp a few times. I was lucky to have a stay-at-home Mom during my younger years, so day camp wasn’t the necessity it is for my little guy.

Day camp opportunities for today’s middle-class kid are a whole new story. I’ve learned that it helps to start planning in about March. Seriously. How ridiculous is that? And yet – it’s what I do.

This summer, we really mixed it up and C was able to spend time at Cub Scout Camp at the Marin Headlands, Science Adventure Camp, Steve & Kate’s Camp, the Marin Humane Society’s Animal Care Camp, Camp Nana, and – his and my personal favorite – Sur La Table’s Kids’ Cooking Camp.

Cooking Camp was courtesy of my BF, C’s Auntie K, who learned of the camp and sponsored C’s enrollment. Special Thanks go to my mom & dad (proprietors of Camp Nana) – C stayed at their house that week and they ferried him back and forth to camp and otherwise kept him entertained during the off hours.

He LOVED it. I got a call every single day after class let out and my child who generally speaks to me in one word sentences on the phone deconstructed each and every class at length. He came home with recipes for everything they made (at least 25 different items) and has been recreating them at home, as well as making up his own recipes for things – including a killer marinara sauce he makes to go with his from-scratch pasta. (SO much better than Blushing Bunnies.) Last week, he made a different dinner every single night. Really. Auntie K, you have our undying love and devotion forever, just for that.

The real measure of how much he loved it: He’s decided that maybe he’ll be a chef instead of an inventor when he grows up. Although, as he notes, “they’re not that different.”

Here's hoping that school will still seem fun and interesting after a great summer. And that we all survive homework re-entry.


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