Monday, July 25, 2005

In addition to crawling more determindly, A is starting to point/ touch things with one finger- a precursor to using the thumb and finger to pick things up, rather than raking at objects with the whole palm of her hand. It's amazing how she's making enormous strides in both gross and fine motor skills simultaneously, especially since she's also making more and more sounds. (She's not saying "hi" like C clearly did by this age, but she MIGHT have said "mama" and "da-da" a few times. We like to think she did, anyway.)

C began a morning day camp sponsored by Bethlehem Parks and Recreation today. It was so poorly run that I almost didn't leave him there, but with kindergarten coming up, I was worried about setting a precedent of backing out before giving the program a chance. (We'll be fully prepared to pull C out of kindergarten if it's not working out, but we want him to go for at least a month before making that decision.) None of the teenage counselors (there was no one there over 20) there introduced themselves to either me or C, and none of them made an effort to engage C in any activity. I might have excused them since I was still there and they may have figured I wanted to work with him, but there were two other kids who clearly needed help yet were just left to stand by themselves looking hopeless and confused. After half an hour, despite C's protests, I forced a counselor to take charge of him and left (feeling horrible). Once at home, Dan suggested that before we decided to pull him out, he'd check it out again and see what was going on now that I was gone. The kids were on the playground and a school administrator let Dan into a classroom facing the playground so he could spy on the kids. C was trailing behind the counselor I'd left him with, talking continuously, so obviously doing okay. Probably in the hopes of shaking C, this counselor was actually engaging with the other campers. The rest were chatting amongst themselves, except one who was sleeping on a picnic table. (Keep in mind- this was the FIRST DAY of a camp session for PRESCHOOLERS. When I was a day camp counselor, I certainly had days I sort of blew off, but I was working with grade-school aged kids that I knew well enough to know if one of them needed attention.)

Expecting the worst when I picked C up, I wasn't surprised to find him milling aimlessly around the cafeteria where the camp is based. But when I brought him out to the car, he was in a pretty good mood- apparently someone managed to break through their apathy for long enough to organize a game of duck-duck-goose, which for whatever reason he loves. And he said, "Maybe we'll play it again tomorrow!" So despite the mediocrity of the program, we're hesitant to pull him out when he's willing to go- again, because of kindergarten coming up. (Which raises a whole lot of questions about whether we should even be considering sending him to kindergarten if we think a camp where the kids are ignored is suitable preparation for it, but we have another month to contemplate them.) After tomorrow, we'll decide for sure whether or not to keep him in; either way, Parks and Rec will be getting a call from us demanding that they monitor their employees better. (There was a grown-up supervisor at the camp I worked at, and it definitely made a difference.)

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