Sunday, July 11, 2010

Camptown ladies sing this song, Doo dah doo dah.

Tomorrow Clownfish, aged almost 6, will go to day camp for the first time.  I never went to camp as a kid. My husband never went to camp.  But when both parents work, and one has to go away for two weeks in the summer time, day camp seems like a really good idea.  It was my salvation in the spring time, when I was fretting about these two weeks.  I discovered that so many of Clownfish's friends were going too.  I signed him up happily. 

Hiking! Sports! Arts and crafts! Swimming every day! Snacks and lunch and playing outdoors! Sounds like his idea of nirvana.  He's pretty psyched. 

Now its here and I can't say I'm not a little anxious about it. I guess my anxiety is confined to two specific issues.

The first, the bus.  He's riding a school bus for the first time.  There will be two Counselors in Training on board and the ride is less than 45 minutes, but I still worry.  I worry that he'll freak out. I worry that the big kids will be mean.  I worry that the driver will be high on coke. 

The second, the pool.  Clownfish can't swim.  He's been practicing with us some. He's gotten much more comfortable in the water -- he can hold his breath and is willing to be dunked and jump in while wearing a vest.  But there are no vests allowed at camp.  They're going to do lessons.  They'll probably confine him to the end that's under three feet deep.  But its A POOL. Pools terrify mommies.  It is a pool and lots of kids and some will be bigger. And maybe a bigger kid will push him under, probably just playing. But he doesn't have the skills to deal.

But really, these are just the concrete things that I focus my anxiety on. He's going to be fine. Me? Umm...

All his clothes are neatly labeled with his name, right down to his superhero underwear.  I packed his lunch and sunblock and bugspray and swimming trunks and a towel.  Also labeled.*  We'll be at the bus stop early. I've done my job.

I will smile as I put him on the bus.  I will tell him to have fun.  And I'll try not to cry when he waves as they drive off, as he takes one more step into exploring the wide world alone, one more step away.    

* No, I'm not a freak. I am doing what the camp told me to do.


  1. Don't you worry...I went to camp every summer as a kid (both of my parents worked), and I loved going. I usually cried when I had to come home! And nothing makes you want to learn to swim more than seeing others do what you can't do. Hope he has fun!!

  2. I let my son ride the bus home from preschool starting at 4 years old. The bus included middle and high school kids. It was mostly fine. The only trouble came from other little kids. The middle school and high school kids treated my son great.

    I have observed my local day camp at the public pool and I would be pretty comfortable putting my 5 year old under their care. Lots of life guards, lots of adults watching, but my 5 can swim pretty well. He could always tire and go under though. My biggest worry at the pool is bigger kids horsing around and knocking my boy under unexpectedly. yeah. pools. Scary.

  3. What? Really? Omigosh, don't worry. Nobody dies at DAY CAMP! Or even at overnight camp for that matter. It's like the best time of your life...even if you don't realize such when it's happening and everyday write your parents letters asking them to rescue you. Not that I'd know or anything. Rite of passage...all the way.

  4. PS - "Not that I'd know or anything" = total sarcasm. Seriously, it's awesome. Next year ship him off to Camp Longhorn...awesome summer camp. Not that I'd know or anything.