When I looked at my summer and saw weeks and weeks of empty squares on the calendar, I panicked. Then I calmed down and told myself it wouldn’t be that bad. Then I had all three kids home for a day and it was an unmitigated disaster. So I panicked again. Then I came up with a plan.
The plan is to create “camp” at home for my three kids all by myself. I’ve chosen a theme for each week, starting with “Cooking Camp” today and ending with “The Olympics” at the end of August.
This isn’t just to fill up days. It’s also to keep Jack in the school mentality and to keep teaching him skills he’s going to need in kindergarten—things like sitting during circle time and doing the projects the person in charge asks him to do.
So I let my kids futz around this morning until they started getting antsy. Once the first argument broke out, I convened circle time to distract them and explained what we were going to do. Then I read Green Eggs and Ham because it’s one of about six books we own that is marginally about food.
Jack asked if we could make a schedule, and I figured if it’s part of his IEP (it is, and his special ed teacher used one last year), there must be a reason for it. So we wrote down a schedule:
Seems full for a summer day? Yeah, I’m not fucking around here. We’re having camp, for real.
Don’t worry, we’ll have lots of free time and fun too. I promise.
We started by making collages from pictures of food we cut out from magazines I am recycling. I never imagined that all three of them would happily sit and glue pictures to a paper for 45 minutes. But they DID!
(Please turn away from the giant wet spot on the tablecloth. Apparently there was an accident at breakfast.)
It turns out that to make Sam behave, you just have to make him believe that he’s in school.
“I’m the hardest working guy in the class!” he said proudly, showing off his collage.
Things went swimmingly until I tried to get Jack to sign his paper. He insisted he was Kung Fu Panda and refused to write his own name.
He kept asking, “How do you spell ‘Kung Fu Panda’?” I told him that I would tell him after he wrote his own name. But the determined little jackass just sounded out the words.
He wrote a K and then asked, “How do you spell ‘ung’?”
Then, “What makes the nnnn sound? N or M? N! What makes the gggg sound? G or Q? G!”
Then the little bastard wrote the whole damn thing by himself. And put an exclamation point at the end. So much for forcing him to conform to the ways of school.
You’ve won this round, Kung Fu Panda. But the war is yet to be decided.
The little dudes had an afternoon playdate at A‘s house and I went to the grocery store. Then we went to karate and came home all ready to complete Cooking Camp, Day One by working together to make homemade macaroni & cheese.
And then I seriously ran out of steam. So I’m making macaroni & cheese from a box. Yep, we managed to have a full day of cooking camp without actually preparing food as a group. (Having a kid stick his entire arm in the peanut butter jar to “get a lick” of peanut butter while I’m making sandwiches for lunch doesn’t count.)
Wish me luck for Cooking Camp, Day Two. We’re planning on making macaroni art and tacos.