Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Summer Sizzle

We are well into week 2 of summer. Week 1 was a short one as the kids had 1.5 days of free daycare school.  We had  Canada Day celebrations, some family time, a day with our former Nanny and bingo bango bongo, we are 10% through the summer.

Summer is all about getting to the end of the summer before I get to the end of my sanity.  While I freely admit we all could use a break from school by June, the summer has it's own challenges.  Husband and I don't get 10 weeks off so we need to find a)childcare for the kids and b) something to do so c)Jackson does not get bored and so d) Sydney does not spend the entire summer on the couch watching TV and asking for more pretzels.

We've had mixed success finding the balance of activities and downtime. Two years ago started off close to an unmitigated disaster and was up and down after that. Last year wasn't bad, but we had some low points here and there

Largely because of last years modest success and because by now I have largely memorized the calendars of every place that has a camp, class or lesson around here, I was uncharacteristically laid back about getting registrations in.

I asked the kids in about February what kinds of things they wanted to do this summer. I'm all about upward feedback and taking into consideration their preferences.

Sydney said "I liked EVERYTHING, but my favourite was Camp Sasamat".  This was the day camp they went to last August while Husband and I golfed and had adult conversation. 

Jackson said "I'd like to play video games all summer."    When I told him that wasn't an option, he told me he liked everything last year and would do any of it again. Except Camp Sasamat.  He would not reveal the reason for his reluctance.  I am guessing all the group time and lack of individual freedoms didn't exactly ring all the bells for our introvert.

But the thing is, I wanted to send them BOTH to Sasamat. It is hard to coordinate the kids going to different camps the same week. Drop off times and proximity have to coordinate. It's not impossible, but it's not easy. 

Jackson had previously agreed to go to Camp Sasamat for a day during spring break.  So, my mommy-manipulation plan was set. After the one day at spring break, I was pretty sure he would have a good time and then would agree to go to summer camp.  While the camp does fill up, I wanted to send them on the last week of summer which is the least popular. And for Internet stalkers like myself, the camp actually have online the diminishing availability. So I could easily check how many spot were available for the camp the week I wanted.  I checked at least once every week in March. 

After Jackson went to Sasamat during spring break in late March, he said he had a great time, but didn't want to go in summer.  I used the worst of the dark art of persuasion but could not get him to agree to the Mommy plan.  Sending the J Boy against his will is just not something that ever works out. Trust me, I've tried.

When at last I gave up my attempts at coercion persuasion, I figured that I'd better sign Sydney up since 25 spots remained when last I'd checked. I didn't want to leave it to the last minute.

Most will have guessed that when I logged on to register, the freakin' camp was full for the whole, entire and complete summer.  The guilt weighed heavily on my shoulders. I put Sydney on the wait list and called the camp hoping to get some reassurance that she would get in.  She was 14th on a list where almost no one gets called. This is what the J Boy would call epic failure.  I did not get the Girlie Goo into the one thing that she most wanted.

I think it was that guilt that pressed me to register Sydney for fancy art camp this week. Jackson is at Legomation -- making stop motion animation movies with Lego. It is super cool and right up his alley.  Last year, I put Sydney in a very cheap and equally lame day camp intended for preschoolers. Blasted September birthday.  It's easier in this town for a 14 year old to get a case of Coronas than for a 6 year old to get into  camp meant for 7 year olds.

So fancy art camp it was.  It is totally up her alley. She loves the complicated hands on crafts that her mother is not only not good at, but despises the mess of.  Girlie Goo actually got to choose which classes she wanted.  So she is making a paper mache puppy, weaving a blanket, creating a mask, writing and illustrating a comic book and making something she can't quite describe out of clay. She is in seventh heaven.  I am thinking of holding a garage sale to make room for all her projects.

The thing about this week though, is Legomation is 5 minutes from our house.  Art camp is 15 minutes in a different direction.  And Sydney's camp starts first and ends last. If you're the kind of person who works out the logistics in your head you'll know that means Jackson is the one doing the extra driving in the car.  I think we all know about Jackson and car rides.

To give us a little extra challenge, Jackson doesn't like being late for things so he watches the clock and no matter what time it is he'll say about 10 times in the 15 minute trip "Mommy, it's 8:42. I'm going to be late".  Even if we have plenty of time. 

On Monday there was a conference at the school where Lego camp is.  I knew this ahead of time, but it's a big high school with lots of parking. I wasn't too worried.  As we were heading up the hill toward the high school, I notice the  longest line of cars parked I have seen in the 4 years we have lived here.  I did not how I would find parking and escort the J Boy to his camp all in the 4 minutes before Jackson's brain combusted from stress over being late.

As I circled the parking lot, I floated the trial balloon "do you think you could make your way in and find the class yourself?"

"Huh? What did you say?"

"Do you remember where the room is? Room 300, the same as last year. Do you think you could find it?"

"Yeah, I remember Mommy. Room 109."

Scratch that plan. 

We then bequeathed a gift from the parking gods as a spot opened up right in front of the school.  I got him to class just in time.

As we remembered from last year, although Jackson does love the unique and creative ways he gets to blow stuff Lego characters up and make movies, it does cause a certain amount of stress.  There is a deadline. He is working with a partner, someone he doesn't know.  And while he hates not quite knowing how to do something, guessing how to do it or doing it the "wrong way", he is loathe to ask any questions of his teacher. 

He bottles all that stress up and brings it home to Mommy.  Especially when he experienced an epic failure in his movie making as he did on Tuesday.  Still, he's having a good time , he's just a bundle of nerves.

Sydney on the other hand came away from the first day of camp and said "Mommy, I have four words. FUN. BEST. DAY. EVER." 

Maybe now would be a good time to tell her about Camp Sasamat.

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