Posted by: canthold | July 10, 2007

Summer In The Slow Lane

All of my summer memories are pretty great. Through my childhood we lived very free-form and unscheduled. We could sleep in until whenever and just play. I’m not sure how this was possible because my mom worked, but most likely my grandmother watched us. It’s all a blur at this point.

So far, between the end of school and vacation, my kids have had the same free-form summer I had. But I feel slightly guilty. The summer culture where we live is full of summer camps. Day camps, not the sleep-away camps like in Parent Trap and Little Darlings. Kids go off and learn something important or have massive amounts of fun.

My kids are happy. When I ask them if they want to do stuff they say they’re fine and want me to leave them alone. I ask them all the time if they’re enjoying their summer and the answer is always yes.

I actually had my oldest daughter slotted for a camp that I thought would be great for her. I thought it would be interesting and challenging and an opportunity to meet other kids just like her. Unfortunately, they didn’t let her in. This is most likely attributed to the higher interest in the program than anticipated and our application was in too close to the deadline (first come, first serve)  – either that, or they didn’t like the 13 tardies on her report card (delays from all the arm-twisting I did to get her to go at all.) (But it probably wasn’t that.)

Today I rallied and got us out the door, and not in pajamas, and we went to Staples to buy white glue for nine cents a bottle and two reams of 100% recycled paper. After that, the Starbucks next door beckoned me in for another hit of the legally addictive bean. Instead of my plan to take them to the park next then to the library, my oldest daughter opted to go to the library first then the park. The flaw in this was that we ran out of park time before we had to head home for her piano lesson.

We ran out of time because we had a big argument over the bathroom. My kids are afraid of public bathrooms. They’re not afraid the way my husband is – of so many germs that they’re not safe. The kids are afraid that they’ll flush by themselves and suck them down into the nether-regions of the sewer system. My oldest will use the ones that don’t self-flush, but my youngest will not use any.

And I always seem to forget, for some reason.

We were at the library and my oldest daughter went just fine. (Number 1.) But my youngest declined. (I wasn’t thinking. I should have known she still had to go.) We arrived at the park and they started to play on the playground. She then she looks around and says that she wants to go to the bathroom outside. I don’t allow that sort of thing, so I said “no.” I walked them to the only place to go at this particular park, which is a port-a-potty. I can barely stand to be near one of these, but when my kids have to go…

My youngest refused again. She wanted to go home – even if it meant not playing at the park today. My oldest suddenly had to go againand she wanted to go number 2 in the port-a-potty, which would mean spending an innumerable amount of time in there. (Blechth!)

I ushered them home amidst much crying and complaining by my oldest and the coffee, which was supposed to make me better able to deal with such nonsense, only made my tummy hurt and my head fuzzy. I’m not used to two cups in a day and I already had my first.

We’ll try again tomorrow.

On the plus-side, we checked out ten books from the library, several of which my oldest should be able to read. And any trip to the library with my kids makes for a good day.

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