Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Continuing the day camp saga:

On Tuesday, C and I again arrived at camp. In a remarkable and unusual display of social skills, he sat down next to a counselor who was playing cards with two other kids and said "hi." The counselor ignored him. He said "hi" again. The counselor ignored him. The third time, the counselor looked over and sort of smiled at him. Then C asked how to play the game. The counselor ignored him. (He had no excuse now, since he definitely knew C was there and was not just a nattering little voice inside his own head.) I couldn't take it anymore and forced the counselor to acknowledge him- not that it was too helpful, since the counselor was apparently too hung over to be able to explain the rules of "War" in a coherent way. (One of the other five-year-olds was somewhat helpful, at least.) After the thankfully short game, I told C I was going to go, and asked whether he wanted to stay where he was or use the cardboard bricks, and he (unfortunately) stayed where he was.

Dan called the parks department as soon as I came home with my new report. The woman in charge of the program apologized, said that she had told them to be sure to introduce themselves, etc., and assured us that she'd meet with the staff that day and have words. (She also said something vague about "trying to make it better this year," implying perhaps that last year was pretty darn bad too. Hmm, maybe SUPERVISION would help?) She also asked Dan to call her again later in the week to report improvement or lack thereof. (Seems to me that she should go spy on her own staff if need be, but whatever.)

Today seemed slightly better in the morning; most of the staff were at least engaged with the kids, although many kids were still at loose ends and no one bothered to help them. Another parent was clearly annoyed, and I caught up with her as she left and asked her to also call the parks department so they realize this is a real problem and we're not the only ones who expect camp staff to at least feign interest in their jobs. It sounded like she probably would. I'm really hoping that the administration realizes that they need to have someone on-site who actually cares. (I'm also really disturbed that there haven't already been complaints- this is the third session of the camp. None of the other parents stayed more than five minutes, even on the first day, despite the clear lack of- well- anything positive.)

Moving on. A is sleeping worse than ever, but having a lot of fun crawling and pulling herself up during the day. She's trying a lot of new foods now that she's decided to eat; so far she's had rice, millet, sweet potato, banana, lentils, raspberries, blackberries, and tahini. (And tomorrow she can try the first summer squash from our garden!)

Last weekend, we went to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival. We had beautiful weather, and the kids were reasonably well-behaved until the ride home (which was hellish, and that theme carried on through the night), but given our focus on child-management we barely got a chance to enjoy any of the music. So while we had a good time, I think we'll wait a couple years before trying anything similar again.

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