Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Day Camp Dilemma: Part II -- by Cara Meyers

This Week: My husband had decided to take the Day Camp Dilemma challenge and see whether he could do a better job at preparing my son for Day Camp each day. Here are the results, as promised.

Monday: I had a feeling that the camp challenge was off to a bad start when ten minutes before the bus was to come, my son was still in his pajamas and the backpack wasn’t packed. I went into my husband’s office and said, “I presume you are driving our son to camp.” He asked why and I mentioned the above. Well, you’d have thought the house was on fire because my husband tore through the house, issuing orders to my son, throwing him clothes (which didn’t include his camp t-shirt), and frantically trying to get my son out the door.

When I noticed that my husband was ready to leave the house with an empty backpack (except for the ignored sunscreen at the bottom), I reminded my husband that my son needed lunch. My husband’s idea of “lunch” was a plain bagel, nothing on it, thrown into my son’s lunch tote. I asked, “Don’t you think he’ll be thirsty?” He threw in a bottle of water too. I handed my husband the towel, swim wear, water shoes, and camp shirt as he was walking out the door. All I got was a very flustered, stressed out look. And yes, my son had to be driven to camp.

Tuesday: My son has to bring his own tennis racket on Tuesdays because the children get tennis instruction on those days. He also typically will wear street clothes to camp, since tennis and other non-swimming activities are done in the morning. My husband evidently did not look at the schedule posted on our kitchen cabinet (does he even KNOW there is a schedule posted on our kitchen cabinet?!), because he dressed my son in his swimwear, gathered street clothes (but forgetting the underwear), and threw the camp shirt over my son’s swim wear (he remembered the precious camp shirt!). He packed my son a slightly better lunch (turkey sandwich and water bottle), however I still had to hand my husband the towel to put into the backpack. While he was leaving, without my son’s tennis racket, I called out, “I think you need to check the camp schedule before you leave.” He replied, “Where’s the camp schedule?” I said, “On the kitchen cabinet. It’s the brightly colored paper with all of the camp activities of the day. There is something you need to bring with you on Tuesdays.” He ran back into the house, sweat dripping down his face, frantically looking for the appropriate date and day, and read that our son would be having tennis. He ran outside, opened the garage, found the tennis racket, and raced with my son to the car. My son missed the bus...again.

By Tuesday night, I subtlely suggested my husband consider getting everything ready for camp the night before, therefore avoiding the stress and frustration he experienced the two days prior. He did look at the sheet that night and was MUCH more prepared by Wednesday morning! So prepared, that he let me sleep a little longer! And the only item he had to rush with was the lunch (he even added fruit!).

All-in-all, I must say, “Bravo!,” to my husband. He really had the system down by Thursday and Friday! I think the most important lesson my husband learned was preparation ahead of time, and “learning” the routine. A wife who did the laundry each night certainly was helpful. Most importantly though, was having this wife hand you what you “forgot” as you raced out the back door! That certainly didn’t hurt either!

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