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Jul 22 2014

What They Bring Home From Camp

By at 11:48 am

sleeping-boy

The voice mail came in while we were swimming. It was Saturday, the afternoon before Noah’s sleepaway camp ended.

Infirmary. 100.7 fever.

“Do you want to get him tonight or have us keep him here until pickup tomorrow?” the nurse asked. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 16 2014

My Daughter Came Home From Camp a Vegetarian

By at 11:20 am

Vegetarian

Every time my daughter goes away to overnight camp, there is something different about her when she returns home.

The first year she went away, she came back practically self-sufficient. I was so impressed at how well she took care of herself. I didn’t have to remind her to brush her teeth. She didn’t need any help in picking out her clothes. She even made her bed without my asking for a short period of time—and then she went back to forgetting how to do it altogether.

Last summer, she got into the car and had something important to say. I could tell that there was a big announcement on the horizon. She had a look like she knew something that we didn’t know. I could tell she was taking a moment to enjoy that with a satisfied smile on her face. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 8 2014

Five Reasons I’m Sending My Son With Autism to Sleepaway Camp

By at 11:11 am

jana-special-needs-camp

Typical parents are rarely surprised when I tell them Benjamin goes to sleepaway camp–at least not after I clarify that it’s a camp catering specifically to children with special needs.

“It’s really structured,” I’ll explain. “Lots of staff members have special ed degrees and work in the field during the year, and there’s a really high counselor-to-camper ratio.”

While the special ed speak convinces most people (or bores them into believing) that I know exactly what I’m talking about, there is one population I’m not fooling: fellow autism parents.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 3 2014

I Wasn’t Cool at Camp, But I’m Sending My Son There Anyway

By at 11:19 am

I wasn't cool at camp, but I'm sending my son there anyway

I’m holding my breath for 11 more days.

My 9-year-old, Noah, left yesterday for 12 days of sleepaway camp.

This morning the cat didn’t get fed until 7. Noah’s 6-year-old brother, Sam, was the first one up and put on music to stave off the quiet. I found myself, after the breakfast dishes were done, listening to the washing machine on spin.

It’s going to be a long two weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 2 2014

What Happened When My Middle Child Went to Sleepaway Camp

By at 11:11 am

schoolbus

My 9-year-old just went off to sleepaway camp for the very first time. On the flight down, she was all nervous smiles and excited chatter. But after an hour of standing around with a growing number of kids she didn’t know, waiting to get on the bus to camp, her excitement dwindled. Tears began to well in her chocolate brown eyes, her lower lip trembling, and her whispering pleas of “please don’t leave me mommy” tugged at my heart.

Yes, saying goodbye is hard, but there was a part of me that couldn’t wait for that bus to hit the road. Of my three daughters, Ruby is the one I need a time out from the most. She crosses my boundaries more than the others, sauntering into the bathroom while I’m peeing, unwilling to break a hug or conversation until asked–no, begged–a hundred times. She is emotionally demanding, excitable, and thrilled one minute, anxious and frowning the next. Her amazing brain leaps from one subject to another, stringing it all together by a thread so quickly it’s easy to lose track.

Finally, the bus driver gunned the engine. Ruby waved goodbye through the tinted window and I waved back, praying she wouldn’t cry all the way to camp. The bus pulled away and…yes! My older daughter left for camp a few days ago and with Ruby gone, that left just the 3-year-old at home. When you have three kids, dealing with just two of them is totally manageable; having just one around is like a mini-vacation. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 19 2014

Drag Your Kids To Summer Camp

By at 11:20 am

archery

I recently read a New York Times article about one woman’s unfavorable experiences in summer camp and laughed out loud.

Like the author, I was not much of a joiner and hated sports. I also disliked getting dressed and undressed in a roomful of strangers. My first summer, I was the only girl still wearing undershirts so I’d change clothes in the bathroom. (Not that I fooled anyone. And most of those gals didn’t really need bras, either.)

I sucked at anything involving a softball, volleyball, golf ball, basketball, fencing foil, or bow and arrow. And unlike some other kids who might have also been less than stellar athletes, but who discovered at camp that they enjoyed drama, music, dance or even carpentry, I didn’t. My favorite “activity” was shiur during which we learned Jewish subjects. Unlike most kids (but also like the writer of the New York Times piece), I actually liked school. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 21 2013

My Daughter Got Busted Wearing a Bikini

By at 9:53 am

bikini at campI am pleased to report that Lilly, our 10-year-old, is enjoying her time at overnight camp at this very moment. In fact… she looked ever-so-happy in a picture posted on their site yesterday… in a bikini …the kind that I don’t allow her to wear.

That’s right; I’m one of “those” mothers. My daughter can pick out whatever she wants at the store but knows that I have veto power. Like the president. Only without any provisions to override.

Except she has now figured out a way to get around my veto; borrow the forbidden bikini while she’s at camp. Away from Mama Dictator’s eyes. Very clever. However, she must have forgotten I’d see the photo when she was mugging for the camera.

BUSTED! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 1 2013

Baby Sister Writes a Letter to Her Brother at Camp

By at 9:57 am
orli writes letter to brother at camp

The letter-writing baby herself.

When Jordana heard that one of her sons was homesick at camp and missing, of all people, his baby sister Orli, she quickly banged out this poem from Orli to tell him it was okay to miss her and that she was proud of him… and he’s been better ever since. Future at Hallmark, perhaps?

DEAR Z,

I know I’m just a baby, and everyone thinks I’m cheeky –

But look at me! I learned to write! I am SO DARN SNEAKY!

I took the books down off the shelf, and reading took no time!

And look how amazing I am now: I even learned to RHYME! Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 25 2013

The Kids Go to Overnight Camp & Mom Freaks Out

By at 9:40 am

woman crying in bedMidnight, and the moonlight painted a white stripe across the bottom of the bed. It was a quiet summer night.

It was only if you listened closely that you could hear that most tell-tale of all camp-related noises: the muffled sounds of someone trying to hide that they were crying.

My husband raised himself up on an elbow in bed. “Wait a second–are you CRYING?” he asked me.

Um, well, yeah.

“Seriously?”

Um, well, yeah. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 22 2013

News Roundup: Kate Middleton’s Pregnancy is So Not Jewish

By at 2:16 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time read this week.

kate middleton

- The hoopla over the imminent birth of Kate Middleton and Prince William’s first child can be described as many things–exciting, over the top, extreme–but definitely not Jewish. JTA explores why many Jewish women avoid overt celebrations before the baby is born (including quotes from Kveller’s editor and several bloggers). (JTA)

- These days, many parents are extremely uncomfortable with male babysitters and opt for female sitters if they can. However, for much of the 20th century, boys were not only accepted as babysitters but preferred over girls. (Atlantic)

- As more and more overnight camps across the country ban or impose limits on parents sending care packages to their campers, parents have found more and more ridiculous ways to sneak forbidden items to their campers. (NYT)

- Apparently, if the CEO of a company is a male and has a baby boy, they will tend to pay about $100 less in annual compensation per employee. However, if they have a baby girl, there will be no reduction in wages. Weird. (NYT)

- Finally, a new parenting trend we can all relate to: CTFD–which stands for “Calm the F*ck Down.” (Jezebel)

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