What did those kids do to that nice lady?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Camp: Bored

Ahhhh....did you hear?  Summer is upon us.  In just a few short weeks, the aisles of Target will be crammed with hyper children.  Trips to Trader Joe’s will become less pleasurable and more contact sport.  And the sanity of mothers everywhere falls slowly, but surely, from Somewhat Intact to Holding On By A Thread.  At first, the seduction of summer sucks you in.  A break from the every day “let’s go let’s go let’s go let’s go get your shoes on get your shoes on get your shoes on get your shoes on” is a welcome one.  After all, long, lazy summer days are pretty much the greatest thing about being a kid.  That and unlimited amounts of ice cream, obviously.  But how quickly we forget in those first few weeks of laziness that summer is not over Until. September.  
My kids are still pretty young, so I’m used to spending MASS AMOUNTS OF TIME with them, but I’ve been giving myself a pep talk to prepare for school-less summer days.  I have visions of sleeping past 630, enjoying morning coffee on the porch while Offspring play lovingly with each other, sharing and giggling.  Then we all sit down together and decide what is it we want to do today?  Shall we hit the beach?  Perhaps a museum?  Ride scooters downtown?  Nobody fights, everybody is tan, and getting in the car is a rare occurrence.  
My visions are rudely interrupted by reality.
See, I have a Five Year Old now.  And Five Year Olds apparently aren’t allowed to just sit around and do nothing all summer.  Five year olds are aggressively engaged in the local Summer Competitive Sport of: HOW MANY SUMMER CAMPS CAN YOU AFFORD?  also known as: WHY HAVEN’T YOU SIGNED UP YET? possibly you are more familiar with: YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO BE A RESIDENT, RIGHT?  or even: YOUR KID IS SO SCREWED AND WILL NEVER GET INTO COLLEGE IF YOU DON’T PUT HIM IN 14 CAMPS THIS SUMMER.  And, my favorite: WE CAN’T DO CAMP THAT WEEK BECAUSE WE’LL BE IN HAWAII.  
Seriously, can we bring it down a notch?  I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about the fact that I came thisclose to not getting Son into the “cheap” beach camp.  I have only my kind, thoughtful, more organized friends to thank for reminding me that I needed to register Son ASAP or else I would surely have had to donate either my arm, leg, or $500 to get him in at a later time.  This whole summer camp thing stresses me out.   My kids are so far from being over-scheduled it might embarrass those more mighty than me.  This isn’t out of laziness or ignorance, it’s just that...like...when did parenting become so...competitive?  Why are we expected to fill fill fill the time up?  Will my kids really be better people if they spend all of their time away from me, being shuffled from activity to activity, eating healthy, organic, homemade snacks in the car?  I say no.  No.
I, for one, just want to slow down during summer.  After all, we have the entire school year to feel rushed, to feel like we’re always missing something, to feel guilty about not signing your kid up for...something; during the eight weeks of summer, can we just...live?  My memories of summer as a kid growing up in Iowa are nothing but happy; sure, there were days when I was bored, but oh my, how lovely it was to be BORED!  To lay in the grass and think thoughts; to ride my bike nowhere for hours; to put on a rollerskating show for no one in particular...how lucky I was to learn how to enjoy being by myself.  Are kids even allowed to be bored these days?  Stimulation is everywhere and we are all guilty of putting a smartphone in front our kids’ faces from time to time instead of letting them just...be.  Maybe I’m naive, maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m actually the smartest one in the room, but as a parent, I am going to do my best to be bored with my kids this summer.  After all, it’s only a matter of time before they will start choosing their friends over me, and I want to make sure that they have had the proper amount of time to not do anything but eat ice cream, play in the hose and think that their mom is like, the coolest cat around.  After all, what do I have to lose?  Sanity?  Ha.  I laugh in the face of sanity. 
So, make sure to give the Gelato Family a call this summer if you feel like doing nothing.  We’re sure to be experts come September.