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The Kick-Off of Camp Colman

Am I insane or a genius to let my son go camp-free this summer?

Do you want to know the easiest way bring your next conversation to a screeching halt?

Tell whomever you are talking to that your six year old is not going to camp this summer. What? Huh? Silence. You'd think I just announced I was going to pull my kid from Lewisboro Elementary and homeschool him forever.

Memorial Day is here, town parades welcome the arrival of summer, the Pee Wee races are off and I am racing to plan the June 24th grand opening of Camp Colman!

Okay, let's be clear here. When my son first told me that he had no interest in camp this summer, I nearly lost my lunch. "You what? Well, what about a few one-week camps like last year? No. Hum. How about one one-week camp? Nothing. Oh." 

I love hanging out with my kids so much but I do love my breaks, don't we all. But then it dawned on me, do I really need to convince him to go to camp to spend $300+ a week to make him do something he doesn't want to do? Heck no.  I'm a writer so I have the luxury of working from home with flexible hours. And not only am I a writer but I write about mom things. So being with my kids is my homework.

Anyone over the age of 18 may consider being a camp counselor a problem, but I relish it. It just so happens that my older boy is a sweet and fun kid who enjoys his buddies--but he is also a homebody. In general, given the choice of going to hang out with all his friends or come with mom, dad and bro, he'd choose the latter.  I know he's not a social deviant. He's simply six. And I know some day, hopefully not too soon, spending the summer with us will not be his first choice. This is not a problem, this is a gift, assuming I make it to the end of summer alive. Cross your fingers for me.

So, welcome to Camp Colman. Here's my tentative itinerary, should any of you other Moms or Dads want to give it a go:

8:00 am: wake up (I'm dreaming here. If I'm lucky, my older boy wakes at 7am. My younger boy wakes at 5:30am like clockwork every morning. Me, not so lucky.)

8:00-9:00: Breakfast (I will expertly battle the daily onslaught of pleas for homemade pancakes or waffles and try to convince them about the glories of Gorilla Munch.)

9:00 - 11:30: Playground. (Rotate playgrounds: Bedford, Katonah, Bedford Hills, Lewisboro, Ridgefield. Must make special note of playspots located nearest to best coffeee. Must also consider shade options since my number one goal in the summer is to stay cool and not prematurely age with all this darn sun exposure. There's nothing worse than your kid begging you to push him for the one-thousandth time on the swings in the blistering sun knowing those rays are sucking the youth from your skin).

11:30 - 12:30: Lunch (Agh, starving kids! Need food immediately. Throw cheese sticks, applesauce and yogurt tubes at them to try to silence the masses.)

12:30 - 2:30 Nap time for my youngest, self-entertainment time for my youngest, which means precious "down time" for me--which as you may guess means time for me to write/workout/do laundry/clean/make calls and maybe get some rest during an impossibly short amount of time. In the end I'll most likely give up and play Wii beside my oldest).

2:30- 5:00: We're out again! To the pool! (Rely on the kindness of neighbors and relatives to use their pools or go to the town pool. Follow two-year old in wading pool while six-year old begs me to watch him do cannonballs right near an unsuspecting girl's head).

5:00-6:00: Must. Turn. On. TV. (Find the remote!)

6:00-6:30 - Dinner. (Um, so who has the plan for this?)

6:30-7:00: Dad's quality time!

7:00 - 7:30: Wash the grime of the day off (dunk kids in bubbly bath, throw on PJs, brush teeth and toss them in bed in record time).

7:31: Let's get the par-tay started! (a.k.a. I pass out, with everything I didn't do during the day waiting for me).

The goal of Camp Colman is total and utter exhaustion of my boys. My concern is that it will be me, not them. We'll be taking a lot of field trips to the city, the Museum of Natural History, zoos, aquariums, childrens' museums, etc. but I'm open to any and all advice of fun activities to do this summer to tire them out, and save me.

Babble.com just ran an article called "Ten Ways to Entertain Your Kids While Lying Down. Now, that's what I'm talking about.

Any other ideas? Share them here or drop me an email.

Amy Baker June 02, 2010 at 03:19 AM
Funny article! I think it's a great idea. I spent most of my childhood summers camp-free and had a ball. We are doing almost 5 weeks without camp, though 3 of those will be vacation weeks. I think more people would do this if there were more people like you -- unfortunately it's hard to find playdates in the summer with everyone at camp. My kids tried the town camp last year, and can't wait to go back there with all their friends. And you certainly can't beat the cost!
Michelle Sinclair Colman June 02, 2010 at 10:47 AM
What a nice comment, thanks Amy!

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