Saturday, July 31, 2010

Public Service Announcement

As you all know, I was at summer camp last week.  I had dinner at the Director's house one evening after a particularly busy afternoon patching up campers.  We had a great discussion about what we wish parents knew before sending their kids off to sleep away camp.   Since blogging is more fun than putting my suitcase away, I thought I would share some of what we talked about

  • Please, be honest on the health forms.  Staff don't ask questions to judge your child, they want to be able to provide the best camp experience possible.  I had an incident where a camper fainted in the heat.  We got her rehydrated and cooled off and she was fine later.  The next day the camper fainted again.  This incident was different than the first one--I could tell the camper was faking.  I called home and found out that this person will pretend to be sick to get attention or to get out of doing stuff (like going on a hike)  This is important to know!  Put it on the forms!  If you have a bedwetter or a sleep walker, if the camp staff knows ahead of time, they can be placed with the more experienced councilors who will be better equipped to handle the situation while preserving your child's dignity.
  • If you send medication with the child, label it please.  I was given a pill box with random medications in it and neither the camper nor the mother could tell me which pill was which or what dose they were. They were important medications for her to take and thankfully I was able to look them up, but this is a risky thing to do.  If you can't send meds in the original packaging, WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN please.
  • When you are packing your child for camp, get them to help.  At the very least, make sure they watch what you are putting in their bags.  The Director and I were talking about the shocking amount of really expensive clothing in the lost and found box that goes unclaimed.  It dawned on us that most of the campers probably have no idea what is theirs and what isn't since they they didn't see it go into  the suitcase.  This is especially true for boys, who will sometimes live in the same two or three smelly t-shirts for the whole week of camp.  I have seen an entire cabin's worth of clothing in one giant pile during cabin inspection Writing some initials on tags with a Sharpie or investing in some labels couldn't hurt either.
  • Consider cutting your child's ADD medication dose.  I know this is a touchy subject and I have no personal experience with ADD, but I have seen kids go off of their meds for camp and do just fine.  I had kid last year who was on a sliding dose and asked me for exactly what he needed every morning at breakfast (he always chose the half dose and did great). This year I watched a child plead with his mom during my registration interview.  He wanted his dose cut but she wouldn't even consider it.  It was very hard to watch this.  I know it is hard to quit those drugs cold turkey, but kids are running around so much at camp, that they often don't have the same problems with focusing and paying attention that they do at school since they get so tired out the old fashioned way. 
Do I have any former camp councilors reading this?  Did I miss anything?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I'm home.

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
Err I forget
All the joy that is mine

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who pushed the fast-forward button?

This was sitting in my drafts folder--it was supposed to be published in the first week of July, but I couldn't figure out how to finish it.  I think the information is still pertinent. --Jen

I have had a quiet week this week.  Emmett and Charlotte were both at day camp.  After the initial rush of lunch packing and drop offs in the morning, Matthew and I had the day to ourselves. He loved the one-on-one time we had. 

It is weeks like this that make me realize how much everyone is growing.  My baby Charlotte disappeared with her bag lunch for the whole day and didn't miss me.  Emmett went to Mini University and did just fine without a helper to facilitate communication.  Next year Emmett will be old enough to come to the camp where I work and be in a cabin with the other campers.

I am trying so hard to keep Matthew from catching up, but my efforts are fruitless.  He is developing a real mind of his own!  He has grown physically so much we need to retire the crib this summer.  Cognitively, his personality is really starting to shine through and he is wanting more and more autonomy with decision-making.

He is the last baby I will ever have to potty-train.  This makes me unbelievably happy. 

Every time I get wistful for the smell of a newborn and feel that little baby itch come on I just remind myself that any new baby I have will need to be potty trained.  That shuts my ovaries right up!

So, who pushed the fast forward button?  Where have my babies gone??

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hello from the Woods

These past few days have kept me busy with campers and Matthew.  Today Emmett and Charlotte came for the day, and now everyone has been loaded into Grandma and Grandpa's car and are on their way for a brief stopover in The Big City before their big adventure in a cabin Way Up North.

Today is Pirate Day at camp.  It rocked Emmett's world!!!  He and Charlotte are well versed in Pirates.  We read lots of pirate story books and have a couple of pirate movies on heavy rotation at home.( The Pirate Movieand Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A Veggie Tales Movie (Widescreen)Pirates Don't Change Diapers and Pirate Pete)

Everyone was sad to see Matthew go.  He was the camp mascot for the past few days and he and the Programmer are bestest best buds--they were last year too.

Now, the Thomas Trains have been packed up, Matthew's bed stripped, and the knitting is out of it's bag.  It's time for me to switch gears.  I'll probably go to campfire tonight and see if I can still remember the old songs.

Digging for treasure in the volleyball court

On the steps of my cabin
Seconds after this picture was taken Matthew took two more steps and filled his boots.
Yesterday morning Matthew walked into my room, handed me my glasses, and then handed me my camera.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Contest Time!

I am participating in the Playhouse Disney Program by Mom Central.  I received a Playhouse Disney Prize pack and a thank you gift card to facilitate this post.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

I am the first to admit my kids probably watch more TV than they should.  That being said, I am quite picky about what I do allow them to watch.

My kids really enjoy the shows on Playhouse Disney.  I feel comfortable letting them watch as the shows are fun, often educational, and the characters are very entertaining  without teaching  my kids inappropriate behaviour.  (I find a lot of shows fun for kids, but they come back after watching saying all sorts of awful things or doing terrible things to each other.)

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, My Friends Tigger and Pooh, and Handy Manny are very popular with almost-3 year old Matthew.  I often catch my seven year old watching with him!  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse helped teach my Matthew his colours and some basic counting skills.  Charlotte loves Little Einsteins.  One day after watching I caught her running through the house.  She said "Mommy!  I'm going Allegro!"   I think I like Bear in the Big Blue House more than anyone does.

Mickey and I go way back!  I am wearing a Mickey Mouse watch I received for my 13th birthday right now (let's not mention how long ago that was, OK?)  I marched in a parade in Disney Land while in High School with Mickey and Minnie on a float behind my band.

I am so happy I can share my favourite characters with my kids today and meet some new friends too.

If you would like a chance to win a prize package furnished by Playhouse Disney, leave me a comment telling me your child's favourite Playhouse Disney show.

The prize consists of a DVD with five different episodes of Playhouse Disney shows (perfect for a rainy day or a long road trip) as well as a few extra surprises.

You must be resident of Canada to enter, and the draw will take place on August 18th

Good Luck!

For more chances to win, visit the Playhouse Disney Facebook page, where other blogs featuring this giveaway will be listed.  You can only win one prize, though.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You might be a camp nurse.....

.....if you are asked to help a counselor remember the words to a campfire song he has to lead in a few minutes while tending to his injury.

(Hey!  I have wireless!  I am blogging at camp!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What are you reading?

I'm at camp, and since I kind of have to wait for trouble to find me, I find I have lots of time to read when I am not chasing Matthew around the volleyball court.

This is what's in my bag:

Buffy The Vampire Slayer 1
Yep.  A Vampire book.  I didn't say I was ant-vampire, just anti-Twilight!
Buffy and I are old friends and this book seems like the perfect book to sit on the deck with.

Runner's World Complete Book of Running.
I borrowed this from the library, but will probably end up buying a copy.  I figured that since I just signed up for my second race and am contemplating a 10K and a half-marathon next year, I should probably do some formal research!

Edgar Sawtelle
My mom loaned me this book.  It is a bit heavier than my other two selections, but I can't let my brain turn totally to mush, right?

Jamie's Italy
Another Library book.  I love reading big gorgeous cookbooks full of pictures that transport you away.  This book will fit the bill nicely.  It will probably come home from the lake full of bookmarks showing recipes I will want to try when I get home!

What's in your beach bag or on the table beside your deck chair??

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm on vacation!

It's time for me to pack my bags and head up to my Happy Place.

I love summer camp.  I loved it as a child, and I love it as an adult.

As you are reading this I am somewhere between my Mom's house and Camp, the land of spotty internet availability.

This isn't the only post I have prepared for you.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2/3 of my guys.

Aren't they cute?  Matthew loves this car as much as his Dad does.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Twilight, you have officially gone too far.

Yeah, yeah, I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  Well, guess what.  You are in MY world so you get MY opinion!

I am not a fan of Twilight.  Have I mentioned that before???  (My real-life friends are rolling their eyes right now.)
I read the book.  I could go on and on about the bad writing, transparent characters, weak females and abusive relationships glorified for young girls.  Don't get me started on the sparkly vampires.

Because I disliked the book so intensely I have avoided the movies.  My playgroup mom friends know this so they made sure not to invite me on their girl's night out.  My feelings were not hurt.  I am not going to invite them to the Harry Potter movie either.  (Can we meet in the middle and see Eat, Pray Love?)

I witnessed a bit of the craze for the newest movie a couple of weeks ago when I was walking out of the theatre with Richard.  People were lining up three hours early to catch the midnight showing of the premiere.  I chuckled as I saw Canadian Blood Services setting up a table in view of the line up.  (Their tag line? "Find out if you are Jacob or Edward's type)  Hey, the need for blood rises in the summer and donations drop.  You have to respect the person who came up with that promotion!

This morning Richard had a craving for a certain fast food breakfast sandwich you can only get at Burger King.  We thought we could have a family outing and go there for a treat.  We got to the restaurant and I made note of the display of promotional toys that went in the kid's meals.

The toys promote the new Twilight movie.

Really, Burger King?  Really?  At the risk of sounding hypocritical, I was not as upset at the sight of the Iron Man 2 toys--I would not take my kids to that movie, but the robots were fun to play with and easy to talk about. I am not ready to have the "vampire boyfriend" talk with my kids just yet and really, these toys are very inappropriate for their target demographic.  Young kids don't need Edward and Jacob wallets or backpack charms.  BO-ORING.  Do tweens buy kid's meals?

A quick Google search shows that Summit Entertainment, the company that produced the Twilight movies, also produced the new kid's movie, Despicable Me.  Why didn't they make toys to promote that movie?

I did the proper irate Mom thing.  I complained on Facebook.  I mentally outlined my blog post.  Then I did something else.  I opened up my word processor.  I looked up on Google how to format a business letter (shut up.  I learned that in Jr. High.  That was a very very very long time ago)  I wrote an actual letter, signed it and put it in an actual envelope.  BK Canada is going to hear about this too.

Next time I want to get fast food for my kids, I am going to Wendy's.

I told the Burger King people that too.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Anger Management

In my last post I briefly touched on a class I recently took on anger management.  The class was advertised as a class to take to teach your child to deal with his or her anger.  Of course, in teaching your child a new skill you really learn something about yourself and how your own behaviour informs your child's behaviour.

I didn't really learn anything at the class I didn't already know.  I am an old hat at using "I feel" messages and "If/then" statements. Some days they work,  some days they don't.

I did meet some interesting characters and made one friend that I am very happy to have met.  We bonded over our quirky kids and how we never really seem to find what we are looking for at these classes. (except for a couple of moments where we got to hear some stories from a family who would be right at home on Jerry Springer's sound stage)

My Charlotte is a ticking time bomb.  The smallest thing will set her off.  She responds the same way to minor things as she does to major things.  This is proving to be dangerous for her.  When she screams her head off at me because I have given her the wrong colour cup to drink from, I don't respond very quickly when she is screaming her head off because she has hurt herself.   Often the words she screams have come right out of my mouth and into her head.

It turns out I am a ticking time bomb too.  If you push just the right combination of buttons at the right time of day I will explode.  This usually always happens around dinnertime.  You know, the magical time of day when a parent is trying to get food on the table while her tired and cranky offspring are melting down around her.  My kids know all of the buttons well and will smash them all at once with a sticky paw.

Some days I cope well.  I deal with the various crises with dignity and calmness.  Other days my coping skills deteriorate into blatantly ignoring the kids by blasting my Mp3 player in my ears or or pouring  a beer and clamato to dull the rough edges.  Some days I scream right along with them. (Those are the worst days).  On the worst days I often put on my exercise gear and wait anxiously at the door for Richard to get home so I can literally run away.  Putting a few kilometers between me and the house really helps to calm my shattered nerves.  I am sure the rush of endorphins doesn't hurt either!

I wish I knew the secret to dealing with anger.  I guess it is like anything else.  You have to exercise your anger control muscle so it gets stronger and stronger.  Some days are good days, other days you feel achy and sore and defeated. 

You just have to get out of bed, put on your grown-up underwear and try again.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

No outfit is complete without a.....

....tutu!  Ok, so maybe that only applies if you are five.

I whipped this up this morning.  The hardest part was fending off the little ballerina until I was finished.
I have enough tulle left over that I think I need to make Bear a matching one.

After the photoshoot Charlotte said she needed me to dance so she could take a picture of me.
Maybe I need a tutu too?
Or maybe I should just borrow Charlotte's when she isn't looking!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day!

My country turns a sprightly 143 today.  We are still so young!  

Every day I am reminded of how fortunate I am to grow up in such a safe and prosperous place.

I must say thank you to my fellow Canadians in the Armed Forces who are working hard to protect my freedom and risking their lives every day in the process. 

Emmett wants to be a Soldier when he grows up.  I am both proud and terrified at that thought.

PS:  I made those cupcakes for Emmett's last day of school.  They celebrated Canada Day a bit early.