Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Homemade Summer Camp

We have seven children at our house this week.

Two thirteen year olds, one eleven year old, one ten year old, one nine year old, one seven year old and one five year old.

You see, we have the kids all hang with their cousins- not all but some- for a week every summer. It takes place in Florida or here, depending on the year. None of us are professional camp counselors, just moms with relatively high pain thresholds.

Unlike camp counselors who tend to be cheerful and young, we are neither. Instead, we are equipped with a lot of sunscreen, bug stuff and demands to have dishes picked up.

I have heard, just today, my counterpart, and myself say things such as, the common:

Don’t touch your brother.

Don’t put your feet on the couch.

Don’t eat in the living room.

No hats at the table

Don’t spit straw wrappers across the table.

No, you may not have Mountain Dew in a refillable 32oz. cup

The little less than ordinary but still familiar to most parents of more than two children:

Let go of your brother’s neck

If you are old enough to use a knife, you should not have to have it removed from your reach.

He’s getting a large dish because he is seven years older and taller than me. You are not.

When I tell you not to hit your brother, do you think that means you can hit the other brother?

And then there are the camp specific ones:

Everyone, eat your cereal at the table. Use milk, not juice. You may not pour the milk into the small box. You must use a bowl. You must use a spoon.

You may not play volleyball in the house. Don’t even think about asking me about football.

Water is a beverage. I swear, you can drink it and you will not die.

I don’t care if you showered yesterday or last week or last year. You are all showering today.

It’s been exhausting to simply watch. I can remember my mother watching my three boys run around and simply the vision of their energy was enough to send her for a three-hour nap. I didn’t understand. I do now.

Jake walked in and said, Zachary hit me and I didn’t even ask him to do it.

You didn’t ask?

No, he just hit me.

Because, clearly, if he had asked to be hit it would be okay.

It’s the third day and the heat has been relentless. We’ve had one broken leg day. One day at the arcade- air-conditioned and thank you, my team won 7000 to 300 at laser tag- even though I had a bright white shirt on. Tomorrow will be a trek on the freedom trail, with one stroller to wheel the now highly honored guest with a beautiful purple cast.

What I find the most amusing is that all the ideas I had prior to the visit all shifted with a broken bone and searing heat. I have not been very good at adjusting. The kids, however, are having a blast. Ice cream and pizza and games and movies… late nights and blow up baseball bats to hit each other with.

As long as you ask, that is.

Sure, there have been a few neck holds, and a bit of teasing from time to time but overall, a lot of laughter and playing hard. At the end of the day, collapsed in a heap around the TV, they all look very happy. And sweaty. With large feet.

And suddenly I think Febreze might not be such a bad product after all.


Anonymous Laura said...

phew....you are brave.....but just think of the memories you are creating!

7:40 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

oh yeah, broken legs... nagging mothers... swimming in the hot tub because I was NOT brave enough to take them to the local pool for fear I'd lose one.

the leg break shook my confidence.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Man, I want to go to YOUR summer camp. Care for another set - 26, 11, 8, and 3? ;oD

10:44 AM  
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1:12 PM  
Blogger Jason h said...

Hey! i'm going to cali this sunday.. gonna be there for a week, this is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash. later!

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