This summer I sent my three-year-old to “camp.”
I call it “camp,” and not just plain camp, because it was the same morah at the same location where playgroup had been throughout the school year. It was even the same kids, although now they were called campers. Also, it cost a lot more.
The weird thing was that, with all the sameness, Yaakov cried every single day when I dropped him off. We couldn’t understand it. He loved Morah. He loved camp. He loved the other campers. Why did he cry?
I tried all my tricks. I walked him to the door. I walked him all the way in. I carried him all the way in. I carried him all the way in and left him crying in his morah’s arms.
Finally I asked him, “Yaakov, why do you cry every day when you get to camp?”
He looked up at me, wide brown eyes, cute little nose, tiny rosebud mouth, and told me the truth: “Because when I cry, Morah gives me a sticker.”
“I’ll make a deal with you,” I told him. “You won’t cry, and Morah will still give you a sticker.”
He didn’t. And she did.
To Do: Join parenting class. As soon as this vacation is over.
Finally, my kids went back to school. Each wrote lovely compositions about what they did this summer.
What I Did This Summer
This summer I did laundry. Lots of laundry. I washed stained T-shirts and torn shorts and bathing suits and towels and more towels and lots and lots of towels. I was at the washing machine every single morning and evening aside from the Nine Days, following which I earned this bumper sticker: “This Car Climbed Mt. Laundry.”
This summer I bought goggles. One pair of goggles for each child, and firmly informed them that it would be the only pair I would buy them all summer. And I stuck to my rule, besides the kid who broke last year’s goggles — I bought him new ones. And one kid lent his goggles to a friend, who lost them — I bought him new ones too. And the baby broke one pair. Well, that kid shouldn’t have left them lying around, but I bought him new ones anyway. So I kept my rule, aside from that one exception.
This summer I booked a rental house in a place far away. I made plans, schedules, and lists. I shopped, cooked, and packed. Of course, I did laundry. Then I traveled (in short bursts of progress), unpacked, and cooked, served, and cleaned. (I’m good at that. I get a lot of practice.)
We left on day trips, during which I worked harder than I had the whole year, and returned from day trips, following which I cooked, fed, and cleaned all over again. Then I came home and told people I had been on vacation.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 658)