Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My daughter's first long summer and she doesn't want to go to camp

My daughter is "graduating" from Kindergarten on Wednesday and so will begin her first official summer. Sure she's had summer breaks in preschool, but I always signed her up for summer preschool. Before any type of school, she simply grew as the seasons passed and I needed to put her in slightly different clothes. For the first time, she has three months of no school aka summer.

My daughter has opted only to sign up for swim lessons half an hour a week for the entire summer, three days of camp at Happy Hollow and one week of gym camp. So far she's refused repeated offers of other camps and classes and the bay area offers a ton. I'm not sure whether to be pleased that she recognizes that acres of free time shrink smaller and smaller as one ages until they're reduced to a precious commodity, or that she simply can't comprehend how long a (relatively) hot summer can be. Her younger brother will be attending summer preschool part of the time, so it will be just me and her for some of the day.

On the other hand, my parents didn't provide me, the eldest of three with much summer activities except for Rainbow Summer, a camp held in the blazing hot 100 degree heat of the park. I fainted once from heat exhaustion and went back again the next day. At the time, I didn't appreciate it. And I'm sure from my mom's point of view, she heard constant cries of "I'm bored" But I did learn how to entertain myself for hours at a time. I played countless board games with my brother and read a lot.

The kids have a library within walking distance. Plus we have a Wii, a Tivo and a bookshelf of DVDs. I swore I wouldn't be one of those parents who bought a ton of DVDs and games for their kids, but somehow each slowly acreted. Okay Costco only sells them in bundles, but otherwise I'm not sure where all they came from.

Despite their wealth of toys, I still see the kids play the same games I used to like crawling around in boxes and making forts from blankets. And whoever claimed that kids are nature deprived hasn't seen my kids' rock and leaf collections that track dirt over the house.

Still, I wonder if this summer, I'll hear "I'm bored" whined just once too often and become one of those parents desperate to sign their kid up for a summer camp, any summer camp. I hope not, but I'll let you know.

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