Saturday, June 16, 2012

Camping? Let me call the hotel...

Of all the adventures I have shared with my girls, Girl Scout camp is one of my favorites.  Let me clarify:  Girl Scout camp with S has been one of my favorites.  The summer between 2nd & 3rd grade, she and I went to a special session at Girl Scout camp designed for the girls to bring an adult camper with them.  This is my kind of camping!  All I had to do was pack our bags and get us there.  From the minute we arrived, everything was planned for us.  We ate when they told us to eat, we rode horses when they told us to ride, we sang songs, made s’mores, paddled canoes - all when they told us to!  I didn’t have to plan a thing.
After 2 consecutive years of this, I couldn’t wait to take K!  She was 7 years old, heading into 2nd grade and I thought she'd really enjoy it.  I roped her Godmother into attending with us, packed the tent and sleeping bags and made the trek to camp.  K was really excited, too!  After all, she’d spent two years watching me take S and any self-respecting little sister will want to be included, too.  It’s in the handbook.  Monkey see, monkey do.
Our arrival at camp was marked by excessively hot temperatures.  Triple-digit temps, 4 days, 1 shower allowed (not per day, just one in total).  Also, there isn’t any ice at camp, so while we had our water bottles, it just isn’t quite the same to try to quench your thirst with lukewarm water.  Not exactly an auspicious beginning.
By the time we were getting ready for bed on that first day - just a few hours after our arrival - I was ready to go home.  I looked at K and realized that in all my excitement, I forgot the Girl Scout motto:  Be prepared.  I forgot that she would be on complete sensory overload and therefore, at the edge of total meltdown at all times.  She’s never been one to give in to tantrums, but once she’s overstimulated, she has a hard time sleeping and will easily tune out everything around her which can boil down to a safety issue at places like camp.  Sure enough, we lost her for a while on the 2nd day.  She wouldn’t participate in her dancing class and then when it was over, cried buckets of tears because it was over and she didn’t get to dance.  She barely ate - the food was foreign to her.  She loved riding the horse, though, and enjoyed swimming in the “refreshing” swimming hole (refreshing = frigid cold water since it is nothing more than snow melt, but with triple digit heat, it was actually refreshing).  Her Godmother handled most of this as I spent my time with S.  God bless her Godmother.
At the end of our 2nd day, we got to take our shower.  Hooray!  Except that the hot water wasn’t working and the water was ICY cold.  In an example of my stellar parenting skills, I strip the girls naked and shove S in the shower, helping her wash quickly before she turns into a popsicle.  K, in all of her naked glory, says, “I need to go potty.”  Fine.  I take her to the potty where she sits down, starts to go and....
a frog jumps out of the toilet from between her legs.
I am not kidding.  Yes, you may laugh.  It was pretty funny, but not to K.  Rightfully so, she flipped out!
For the next 24 hours, she kept asking me if there was a frog in her tummy.  I could not figure out why she kept asking me that and I kept assuring her that there was not a frog in her tummy.  Then, it occurred to me.  This is my very literal, language challenged, sensory overloaded, child.  She thinks she peed out that frog!
Needless to say, she’s not a big fan of frogs.  And we still had 2 days of camp left...
Fast forward to the present, a few weeks ago we are enjoying our pool and all of a sudden, K screams, “THERE’S A FROG IN THE POOL!!!!”  There were quite a few leaves in the pool and we assured her she was just seeing a shadow from a leaf.  This went on for at least 2 hours, until, finally, sure enough, we found the frog in the pool.  Oh, she was vindicated!  She was right and I’m sure she won’t let us forget it for a very long time.  Of course, this has been followed with the need to do a thorough frog search each time she wants to get in the pool.  
The irony?  She adores Kermit the Frog. 
We’ve not been back to Girl Scout camp. My camping days are over.  I can make s’mores at home - in the microwave if I am desperate.  I can sing camp songs by the pool.  K’s Godmother still speaks to me, so I guess we all survived.  Believe it or not, K would be the first to tell you how much fun she had at Girl Scout camp and wonders when we can go back.
Never, my frog-fearing girl.  Never.  We’ll save our adventures for places with hotel rooms and professionally maintained bathrooms that keep the critters out.

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