It’s the Summer of Camp

With our 2nd annual trek to Lake George taking seven hours, instead of the alleged four (not my idea to leave the city at 4pm on a summer Friday), to drop Luca off for 10 days of sleep away camp, I’ve been thinking that this could be his last summer camping away.  Car travel is never easy with the twins,  and, though she, miraculously, made the full ride on Friday night, Maxine, got car sick on the short, but windy, hilly drive up to the camp for Sunday drop off, just as we were pulling into the parking lot.

camp blog 1I grew up on Long Island, only 80 miles from Manhattan, but what is it about the city and sleep away camp? It seems like everyone goes. It wasn’t in the plan for Luca but, last summer, when 4 of his friends, who all live in our building, were going together, I couldn’t refuse. It’s, undeniably, a great opportunity to gain independence, play zombie tag and gaga out in the wilderness, hike, sail, and swim in the lake while bunking with friends in a cabin . . .who wouldn’t want to go? Sign me up.

But so far, this summer has been consumed with planning, transporting, or packing for various summer camps. And, while I love that Luca is somewhere in the wilderness, hopefully not dangling from a cliff or contracting lyme’s disease, and completely detoxing from technology (not allowed), I wish he was closer and didn’t require a full staff to complete the required paperwork, medical forms, and round trip driving.

I don’t mean to complain. I know I’m lucky to be able to send him. But all this schlepping, packing, and planning for everyone’s whereabouts during these precious 8 weeks is taxing. Rather than relishing the downtime with no homework or having to wake early for the school bus, we are, or at least I am, frantically struggling to align schedules, pack and unpack suitcases, label underwear (not mine) and make sure we don’t loose anyone.

With a 7 year age gap between Luca and the twins, I need to ensure he’s has lots of activities, and time with friends, so he’s not spending all summer being dragged around to assorted playgrounds and toddler classes with the girls, or begging me to play Clash Royal all day. But, keeping all of them engaged and contented is a handful. Between martial arts camp in the city, sleep-away camp up in Lake George, and sports camp out East in long Island, we are all over the place (not to mention that he better be prepared for American Ninja Warrior some day).

When the girls get a little older, I look forward to not having to over schedule  everyone’s summer break and, hopefully, just spending some days at the beach, going to baseball games and exploring museums like I used to when Luca was young. But, try dragging toddler twins and an active 9-year-old to the Natural History Museum by yourself everyday. So, until then, it’s what needs to be packed, labeled, and whose going to watch the girls next Friday so I can spare them an eight-hour round trip drive back to Lake George for pick up? I sure hope my husband can come home from work early!

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Get the Coxsackie out of Here!

It’s been radio silence on my end, but I do have some justifiable excuses for my disappearance. With 4th grade now in the distant past and my son home, with the twins, its been no picnic finding time to blog. Once we evolve into the assorted camp schedules this should, hopefully, work itself out. The end of school year transition throws everything off in our house and is a bitter-sweet reminder of how fast the years really pass – that Luca will be entering 5th grade next year astonishes me. Somehow I blinked, and now he’s almost in middle school.

cox 2And, just in time for summer, we had an unexpected, and unwanted, intruder. In my last post, wasn’t I, just, gushing about how awesome my girls’ preschool was? Well hold that thought; for the second time in 4 months I received another “warning” email that the Coxsackie virus (aka hand, foot and mouth disease) was going around their classroom. And, like the walking petri dish that she is, Laurel, once again, was an easy target. Just in time for her two aunts and cousin to arrive, for an annual visit, and also causing the girls to miss their 2 days a week of preschool. More money out the window; check.

Coxsackie is a miserable virus with multiple symptoms usually accompanied by red blisters in and around the mouth, hands, and soles of the feet. This time, while Laurel’s other symptoms were much worse, luckily, she was mostly spared the blisters. As we’ve learned, kids under 5 can continue to get Coxsackie and don’t really build immunity. Fortunately, it’s rare for older kids and adults to get it.

It was only back in March when, on our way to the airport for a long birthday weekend to Miami, I received the preschool’s first “warning” email and thought how lucky we all were to be skipping town. Toasting ourselves on the plane, as the girls sat, suspiciously mellow, with Luca playing video games, I pondered why everyone was behaving so well.

Somewhere over South Carolina, I noticed strange-looking bumps forming around both girls’ mouths; like they got ahold of my lipstick and tried to connect the dots in a tangled circle. Still, naive to what was coming; it was, in fact, totally foreign to me since, in 9 years, Luca never got the virus at any of his schools, let alone twice in 4 months.

By the time we landed, Maxine and Laurel, both, looked like they got into a rumble with a porcupine; covered in red bumps everywhere, accompanied by two, thankfully, low-grade fevers to match. Impeccable timing when you’re traveling to a place where the only goal was to hang out in the sun in our bathing suits for the weekend.

This week, dare I speak to soon, it looks as if Maxine may be spared. Still, while trying to enjoy, and tend to, our visiting relatives, poor Laurel needed extensive comfort and care, not to mention, wanting to be held constantly.  For obvious reasons, I hope it will bypass Maxine. And, now they’ve missed 2 weeks of school in honor of the July 4th holiday. More money out the window: check, check.

While I haven’t, yet, identified patient zero at the preschool – there are only 8 kids in the class and my two represent 25% of them – we are down to a possibility of only 6 other kids. With my private eyes now out in full force, you can bet that if I see another bump at drop off, my kids will be getting the coxsackie out of that place.