Young Naturalist Camp was awesome. Monster loved it! He got to catch crayfish, make paper, do all sorts of science experiments, and have tons of fun with water olympics. Totally worth the 2 hours each day I spent in the car driving back and forth for an hour and half program. If you're a working parent though, how do you get your kids to something like this? It was at a different park across the county each day. It ran from 10 to 11:30. By the end of the week, I was exhausted. All of the driving and no time in the mornings really took it's toll on me. Mornings are when I get my stuff done. I try to get all my work done in the mornings so that we can play all afternoon, but all the driving left me rushed, tired, and just plain disoriented. Will we do it again next year though? Yes. I will do almost anything if it's a good experience for my children.
Then there was Camp Invention. For kids like Monster, this is just awesome. This one, luckily, is right up at the school that Monster goes to during the year, so there was no driving (well, the first and last day to drop off / pick up materials) involved. But it took away the lazy part of summer. I had to wake both kids up every morning the same time I get them up for school, pack lunch, make sure everyone was dressed and ready, walk to camp, and then walk to pick up at the end. Worth it? Totally and will do it again next year, but seemed more like the school year than summer vacation.
Thing is, I remember summers. I remember doing NOTHING all day long. I remember sleeping in as long as I wanted. There was no place to go. Most of the time, there were no activities planned. Under the age of 14, there was no camp, no soccer, no karate, no swimming, no t-ball, no worksheets to prevent the summer slide. There was just summer. You would get up and spend the whole day outside. You would call up a friend that day and go over and play, not have to make a "playdate" weeks in advance so you could coordinate schedules. No one had anything to do. So why is it we feel the need to cram our kids summer vacations so full that there are no longer "lazy days of summer"? Even typing this, my brain is saying, "I can't let them do nothing!" Even though camps are over for 2 more weeks, we still have t-ball, three days of karate, tutoring, and art classes. On top of that, there is still laundry to do, dishes to be washed, meals to be cooked, a house to be cleaned, and shopping to be done. I recall days I didn't get out of my jammies.
I try to justify it to myself. The weather has been crazy, either super hot or rainy. There will be time for that next week. We can always try to do it on a weekend. Those are excuses, not justifications. Yet, for some reason, I know I won't be able to stop packing my kids' days with activities. What is it about our generation that needs to do that with our kids? Why can't we just put out the slip n slide and let the kids run? Why can't we let them sit inside and watch mindless television when they are hot and tired? Instead, we keep them busier. Done playing outside? OK, let's work on some math facts so you're ready for next year.
I had so many great "plans" for summer. Yet, as we start week 4 of vacation, we have only checked off one of those things. We went to the zoo. All Monster wants to do this whole summer is read. Seriously, that's what he said. He couldn't wait to be home all day to just sit and read. Yet we won't let him. Doesn't that seem crazy? Sunshine is still young enough that summer is pretty much just like any other non-school day, but the older she gets the more activities she will have and the less time we will all have to be "lazy". Each year, I tell myself that this will be the year we have a good "old fashioned" summer, and each year, life happens and we don't.
Today is our first day to really sleep in (which I'm obviously not doing). I'm going to let them sleep for as long as they like. It's raining, yet again, so they're stuck inside, so I'll let Monster read as long as he wishes. I'll sneak some comprehension material in there since that's the teacher in me. Only thing we have going on is t-ball tonight, unless we get rained out. After t-ball, maybe we'll walk to get ice cream and then chase some fireflies. I've only got one other place to go today, so I'll try to sneak that in when there's some whining and boredom. We'll see how this "lazy day" goes. I really doubt the kids, OK, just Sunshine, will be into it. They are so used to constant motion that they don't know what to do with down time. We'll call today an experiment. It will be interesting to see how long all of us can last this "lazy day of summer". And note to self, we can't actually call it a "lazy" day or Sunshine will call it a sin.