Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Day Camp

Yesterday was Enthusio's first day of day camp. I'm not sure if I have actually mentioned it here in this space, but I know I have mentioned it maybe or a million or a zillion times in the last month since I signed him up, to everyone I meet: he's going to day camp! At the private school that is a 2-minute walk from our front door! With flexible drop-off and pick-up hours! He gets to swim an hour a day, plus play sports and do arts and crafts and go on field trips and other fun stuff! So yay, day camp! All through July!

Yesterday I took him over there in the morning. As we approached the building, he said "Mom, I'm a little nervous." I said that was okay, people get nervous about new things, and I decided to stay with him for a few minutes as he was getting settled. We went inside and told the lady at the desk it was his first day. She looked up his classroom (or "Bunk") and pointed out the door to us, and before I could give him a kiss or even say goodbye to him, he had run off down the hall and gone in, backpack thumping his back as he went. So great, I thought. For Enthusio, telling me he's nervous about something new is not unusual behavior, nor is jumping in feet-first anyway, so I figured all was well and I went about my business.

At 4 we went to pick him up, and we were directed to the backyard area where they were having snack. About 50 kids, all wearing hats, were hanging around picnic tables, and popcicles were being handed out. I scanned the crowd and couldn't find Enthusio -- I finally had to ask my daughter to point him out. He was playing some kind of game that involved jabbing with two other boys, and I went and tapped him on the shoulder. He looked happy to see me. I asked if he'd gotten a popcicle, at which point he dissolved into tears. "No, they cost a dollar!" he sobbed. I tried to calm him down and assured him that I had a dollar and he could get one, feeling annoyed that I hadn't been informed about the dollar popcicles ahead of time. The camp counsellor in charge of the popcicles went about obtaining the one he wanted (they'd already been taken back to the freezer) and assured me that he would have been given one either way but she'd already asked him to wait a minute and calmed him down once (she said all this in a nice way). Whether that meant they would have given him one and then demanded a dollar from me at the end of the day, I don't know, but it did make me feel a bit better to know he wouldn't have simply been left empty-handed in a sea of popcicle-eating children. Note to self: everything not expressly mentioned on the page I read costs extra. Whatever.

We went home and I gave him some time to recuperate and enjoy his popcicle before I asked him: "So, Bud, how was it?"
Not good. I mean, this is Enthusio we're talking about. If anything is remotely good, you are going to hear about it. Now don't get me wrong -- I'm not feeling guilty about sending him to this place. Yes, it's essentially really fun daycare, and yes, I'm home and can provide him with nurturing and stimulation and all that crap that mothers are supposed to provide. Yes, I have been telling people that I signed him up for day camp so his sister and I can have a relaxing summer. Yes, I've been looking forward to him starting there. Yes, yes, yes. BUT. I also did it because I thought it would be fun for him -- way more fun than staying home with the girl and me. She and I are very much on the same wavelength when it comes to relaxing summer days. We like to sit and play on the computer, listen to music, maybe take a nap (okay, that last one is mostly me). Enthusio prefers a more active day. He likes to ask questions. He likes to run around. He likes to make noise. I like those things too, but MY GOD. Since he started school, it seems like I can't do enough to keep him stimulated on the days when he's home, and as a result, he spends a lot more time than I would like watching TV and playing on the computer. So while, YES, I was expecting to enjoy the peace while he was away at day camp, and guilt-free, I might add, obviously I saw benefits in it for him too. I thought it would be fun.

I will, however, feel guilty having him there if he hates it.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not yanking him out because he seemed less than thrilled on his first day. Obviously the dollar-popcicle incident took some of the wind out of his sails, and it's a long day (9-4) so I would have been surprised if he wasn't exhausted by it. After he's had a few days to adjust, it's likely he'll start thinking it's great. But if he doesn't, that's okay too. I'm not going to make him go every day for the next four weeks if he can't find anything in it to get excited about after he's had some time to get used to the whole thing.

After all, we do call him Enthusio for a reason.


There was a request for help pseudonyming my daughter in this space before. Never mind -- I'm just going to call her Mermaid.

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