Tag Archives: summer camp

A rebounding balancing act

Mabel is at camp this week. Dash is not. The reason for this is that when I got her to say “Okay, I’ll do camp” and pick the gymnastics camp that Dash went to two years ago, I jumped on it and signed her up immediately. I was hoping that Dash would come around and decide to do it too. He never did.

This means that I feel as if Mabel thinks we’re packing her off to the labour camps of Siberia every day while he and I do fun and exciting things together. (I don’t know if she really thinks this, as I don’t want to put the notion in her head if it’s not there already.) Which gives me camp guilt.

She was brave the first day at drop off and seemed to have a great time, but by the next morning she didn’t want to go very much. Wednesday morning was the nadir, of course, and I had to leave her crying and promise I’d go back and get her if they called me to say she was still miserable by lunchtime. She wasn’t, they didn’t, they say she’s perfectly happy and doing fine. Dash and I are doing boring things like going grocery shopping and to the mall and to museums Mabel wouldn’t enjoy together, and not talking much about what we’ve done; but it’s still time together that she’s probably jealous of.

Which all means that re-entry into family life every day after camp is tricky and usually involves a lot of screaming and pinching and being horrible. I don’t want to reward this behaviour, but I do understand that it’s hard being so calm and well balanced all day in a new environment. And it just so happened that a friend was getting rid of a huge and lovely dollhouse and I knew I’d regret it if I let it go to someone else, so Mabel just happened to get a huge and lovely new dollhouse (slightly rain-damaged) in the middle of this week of so much good/bad behaviour. I don’t know what message this is sending. I’m probably doing it wrong.

new dollhouse

Additionally, she absolutely cannot/will not fall asleep before ten every night, even though she’s tired out from the gymnastics. She sleeps till 7.30 or a little later with no wakeups (thank the Lord) but she’s clearly still building up a deficit, which leaves her with no extra resources for being nice to people she’s related to because she’s used them all up being reasonably polite to strangers.

(Meanwhile, Dash and I went to the National Archives, which was a museum I thought Mabel would hate. It turns out that as well as the original documents of the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, they have a couple of great and fascinating exhibits about all the things the archives keeps – ship’s records of immigrants and film reels and wax cylinder recordings and all the patents and photos and letters and all sorts. If you’re in DC and you’ve not gone because it sounds a bit dry compared to the more exciting museums, don’t miss it.)


I wrote that yesterday. Today was the end-of-week camp performance. Mabel was a little nervous about it because she doesn’t like the limelight. I had visions of her refusing to come out in front of the waiting parents, or bursting into tears at the sight of us, since our existence is so hard to reconcile with the camp version of herself. But she was fine. Of course she was fine. Actually I might soon rename this whole blog “Of course they were fine” because of course they always are.

She had fun. She’s not the next Olympic gymnast, but she had a good time and I think deep down inside she’s proud of herself for doing a week of camp. Best of all, Dash was so inspired (aka jealous) of all the fun the campers were obviously having during their performance that he let me sign him up for next week. Admittedly, I’d have preferred him to come to this epiphany the week before his sister did the camp too, but I suppose it’ll be nice for Mabel to have a “Mommy and Me” week too. And it assuages my teeny tiny camp guilt quite nicely.

Mabel bouncing on a trampoline

I think I’m going with the pale lilac toenails

So far so good with summer camp, though Mabel objects to having to stay quiet for rest time after lunch, and I didn’t send any money with Dash on his field trip so he was subjected to the huge injustice of not being able to buy anything in the gift shop at the Baltimore aquarium yesterday. As for me, I’m having a lovely time.

Yesterday I went to the mall and spent more than an hour shopping, unhurriedly and in a focused manner, alone. I don’t think I’ve done that since I had children, and it was excellent. First I bought a bra from the proper place to buy bras, so that everything else I tried on would look better. Then I found exactly the trousers I was looking for in the first place I looked for them, and on sale too. (Making up for the bra. When you breastfeed for seven years, your double-Ds turn into something more like double-Fs, and there are no cheap bras.)

I bought some posh moisturizer and had some good lunch and tried on some dresses that were almost but not quite what I wanted. I resisted the Nordstrom lady’s hard sell on the blue dress (which was really cute but would clash with my shoes and need alterations and was a little dressier than I wanted) and at the last minute found the perfect thing in Macy’s, on clearance, no alterations needed, just dressy enough, and works with the shoes I already have. Score.

Yes, a lot of this shopping is inspired by the upcoming blogging conference. No, you don’t have to go and buy new things or take up an exercise regime to go to a conference. But I like motivators, and inspiration, and finding excuses to do things I might not otherwise do.

Let me put it like this:

How would I like people to look at a blogging conference?

a) Fat
b) Thin
c) Friendly

How do I think people should dress at a blogging conference?

a) Preppy
b) Sloppy
c) In something comfortable that makes you feel like your (best) self

Option c) all the way. That’s all.

Personally, however, I do have a few other requirements: not being too hot or too cold, not feeling like I have to stand up straight and suck my gut in all the time, not worrying about sweat stains if I’ve been shuttling between conference venues in Chicago summer heat, and not clashing with my orange bag. And, vitally, wearing shoes I can walk in. All of the above will help me feel like myself and meet new people with a genuine smile.

I’m not going to pretend that BlogHer isn’t a big deal for me. It is. I’ve never left my children overnight before, I’ve been out of the professional workplace for seven years, and I’m only just starting to call myself a blogger out loud. Sometimes. So while dressing for a fairly casual conference and hopping on a plane without emergency diapers and goldfish crackers might be a regular occurence for many attendees there, for me it’s a giant leap out of my everyday life and back (or forwards) into another.

As far as I know, there’s only going to be one other person there who I’ve actually met (though she knows several others). Quite a few of the bloggers I love to read regularly, and who I know have gone in the past, don’t seem to be going this year. I’m fairly interested in some of the sessions and of course I want to see the keynote speakers and the Voices of the Year presentations, but mostly I’m going for the Experience. I want to meet people who are dorks like me.

Are you going to be there? Leave me a comment, and maybe we could try to meet up.

The other vacation

This is what I wrote last night:

Tomorrow, my vacation begins.

I mean, the one where the kids both go to camp from 8:45 to 3:30 every day for two weeks, and culminating in my three days away at the BlogHer conference in Chicago.

I’m still feeling a little I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it about the whole thing, really. Mabel has never been away from me for full days like that, and she’s not the lover of organized activities her brother is, as well as being fairly clingy at the moment, what with the Four And A Half Thing. Camp is meant to be fun, so if she’s really not having fun I’ll see if they can refund me the difference and go with the half day instead. Eight forty-five to noon is still 45 minutes longer than her school day has been all year. It wouldn’t be quite as intoxicatingly freedom-y as no kids all day, but I’d still take it.


This morning began with a moan from D’s bedroom. Since he’s a happy cheery morning person (didn’t get that from me), a moan is never exactly a harbinger of good.

“My tummy hurts. And my forehead feels funny.”

Of course. Of course it does. What else would it do? Sigh. I know he’s not faking because he’s the one who really wants to go to camp. His sister, on the other hand, was fine until about ten minutes before we had to leave the house, when she started telling me how maybe she didn’t really want to go to camp after all and maybe she’d much rather stay at home and how it wasn’t fair that Dash got to be sick so he didn’t have to go.

Oh, the injustice.


I brought Mabel to camp and made it out the door again alone. She was happy to see a friend from school and – more importantly – a large pink doll house WITH PONIES. She looked a bit wobbly when I left but was holding it together.

Dash is now perfectly fine, after three pieces of toast. He’s been making things out of duct tape and making movies of himself fighting/dancing with my old camera. I am going to bring him down for lunch and the afternoon half of today’s camp, because if I don’t he’ll drive me demented and use up all my computer space with uploaded crap.

Blue boy
Luckily for you, I couldn’t get the movie to upload, so you just get a photo


I brought him to camp. He was immediately hailed by at least two kids in the room, and slotted right in to his group with a grin. I dropped by Mabel’s building without seeing her and inquired of a counsellor how she was doing. She’s fine. Totes fine. (They’re not in the same camp, but are based about a minute away from each other.) I went to Old Navy and Safeway and did some shopping.

It’s awfully quiet around here. I wonder what I’ll do next. When’s pickup time again?