Archive for July, 2008

Okay, well, about that passing on of the award, it’s like this – what I wanted to do was go beyond the usual suspects who I always say are mavelous. I need to branch out my blogging a bit. This seemed like a good excuse to do so. But, shockingly, I actually got work – writing and editing people want to pay me to do. So it’s suddenly a bad time to go wandering through the blogverse. Especially as this is the only week for the rest of the summer that I actually have all three children amused elsewhere.

Boo is loving her swim camp. That kid is a marvel to me. She happily went off to a camp when she knew no one else and then just made a friend. She just picked one girl and asked if they could be friends. My older two could never manage such a thing when they were little and, in truth, neither could I.

The older two appear to be having fun at camp. J phoned the camp after two days to see how Asher was doing, which was something I’d have never done. I am happier figuring that if I don’t hear anything, all is well. And mine is the wiser way, because the head of camp said he was doing pretty well during the day but was very weepy in the evenings and hadn’t seemed to have quite found his way yet. But he phoned back Sunday to say that Asher had definitely made some friends and is now doing great. I could have definitely done without those couple of days imagining that he’d be miserable for 12 days and never again voluntarily leave home.

Maya is doing great, but then I knew that.

And now, it is back to work!

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Isn’t he just dreamy?

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I’m brillante

I was just surfing around to my favourite sites and I see that knitnut just game me a nice, shiny award. And I’m betting she didn’t even know it was my birthday yesterday.

Okay, according to what she said, it is now my job to pass it on to 7 more people. And I swear I am going to do that. Really. Just as soon as I get back. We are on our way up to the cottage (again) for the weekend and I haven’t the time and capacity to do a proper job of it beforehand. But I will. Really. No, really. Stop looking at me like that!

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When J was a kid, he attended a camp near here that he just loved. It was the seminal experience of his childhood. His kids, he was determined, would go to the same place. At first, I was completely against this, mostly because of the stories he told me of his camp adventures. One of my favourites was of how, every year, he’d help a good friend pass his swimming test by letting that friend hold onto his shoulder, unseen in the murky lake water, while they treaded water for the requisite time. So? you figure. Big deal – he helped a friend get a swimming badge. But no. The test was to be able to go water skiing.

I happy to report that the friend is still alive today.

As the kids got a bit older, he started telling me about how the camp had changed over the years and is now much safer. When my eldest nephew started attending and not only survived the experience, but loved it, I softened my stance.

So that is where Maya went to camp last year, and she too loved it. The stories she came home with demonstrated that it is safe, but in many ways is still the camp of J’s youth. It isn’t the sort of place where the kids are structured 16 hours a day and have archery and horseback riding, etc. There’s a fair amount of hanging about and goofing off. I actually consider this a good thing.

Not many kids from our city attend this camp. Last year, we showed up in the school parking lot looking for the bus and were surprised to see the place filled with parents and campers. Thankfully, we quickly determined that they were all going to a different camp. We finally found one other family. Their two and Maya made 3 kids in total. The ‘bus’ was half an hour late and turned out to be a minivan with a trailer for all their crap. The driver was an Israeli who worked at the camp and drove like an Israeli, so our kids were relieved to make it to camp alive.

This year, we arrived in the parking lot in time and quickly found the other family again. We settled in for a chat as the scheduled 10 am pick-up time arrived and the bus from the other camp roared in to disgorge and reload campers. No minivan, but we weren’t surprised.

The parking lot cleared and we continued to wait. To our surprise, another bus drove up. The driver wore a cap with our camp’s name on it. A whole bus for four children. As the other parents and I told our kids to hop on and chose which 6 seats they’d like to claim as theirs, J briefly got all adult-like and responsible and phoned the camp to see how many kids they expected. They couldn’t have sent a bus for four kids, could they? The person who answered the phone told him that they expected “eight to twelve” children at the pick-up. “Don’t you have a list of who is coming?” he asked. They said they’d get back to him on that.

So while he waited for the return call, he headed over to the other parking lot to look for the missing 4-8 kids. There were no more kids. The camp guy called back to say he could not access their database and had no more information, so we waved off our children, amid jokes about their large personalities, or perhaps split personalities, turning them into 8-12 children.

From now on, J says when people ask him how many kids we have, he plans to answer, “Two to four.”

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What did we do with all our time, back when we only had one child?

Oh yes, now I remember. She was extraordinarily demanding.

Maya and Asher are off to sleep-over camp for 12 days and 3 weeks respectively. I’m a little worried about Asher, who sometimes perceives the world differently than his peers. I really, really, really hope he has a good time, because if he doesn’t, I’ll probably never get him to leave home ever again. This is his first year at camp. Can you tell?

So Boo is having a brief stint as an only child and she’s actually being pretty darn demanding herself. Mostly, she just talks incessantly, which is really nothing new for her. The new thing is that I actually have to do stuff for her, like feed her or help her reach something or play Old Maid. We are both used to having her siblings do all that. When I offered to play a game with her today, she said, “But it’s boooorrring playing with you!” That’s the difference between first and third child. I’m convinced that Boo and Maya are exactly the same child, the only difference being that they were born into different family positions. For Maya, there is nothing better than doing whatever she wants to do with me. Her siblings are a distant, distant second.

So, I figure that in theory I should spend next week engaging in some serious mother/daughter bonding time, since Boo rarely gets that, but instead, I signed her up for day camp. I listened to her alternatively yammer on at me and complain about how bored she was, coming up with names of playmates that stretched back two years that she begged me to call for her to play with (and, it appears, ever damn one of them is on vacation or in camp themselves) and decided that it would be best for our relationship if she had what one friend of mine kindly called ‘structured playtime.’ (She told me she signed her twins up for camp because she believed they needed some structured playtime, rather than just saying that they were driving her nuts and she needed them gone for a while.)

So I signed her up for a swim camp and told her, prepared to have to sell it to her a bit, but there was no need. She is delighted. Thrilled. Happy, happy, happy. Can’t week for this week to be over already. That certainly takes some of the mother guilt out of it. Actually, there was only a smidgen of guilt there anyway, so now it is gone. And everyone gets to be happy, happy, happy. Including, pleasepleaseplease, Asher.

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Card Sharks

By the way, those poker chips are casino weight – a gift for J’s birthday a couple years ago and not cheap, but playing poker is much better with those chips.

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Out of the mouths of babes

J just came from putting Boo to bed and told me that as he was reading bedtime stories to her, she reached over to his naked chest and slapped him solidly. “This,” she told him, “is a great example of man-boobs.”

For the record, he actually has a very weak example of man-boobs, but it is damn funny anyway. We had no idea where she got the concept of man-boobs. The thing about having a kid who is the youngest of 6 cousins by over 3 years means we have gotten used to hearing many strange things coming out of her mouth. Before this, there was, “Let’s get naked and smoke.”

She’s getting pretty good at Texas hold ’em too.

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