Twins Not Any Easier in Brooklyn

But life is. Somewhat.

So far we love Brooklyn; we love our home, the greenery, uncrowded streets, food, views, parks, and the much calmer, more laid back vibe of almost everyone and everything; except me.

With the move on July 3rd, we basically “threw” our stuff in our new place and drove out to Long Island for the 4th holiday. Back to Brooklyn on Sunday for a 90 plus degree week alone with the kids and NO school or camp, as Mark headed to Cannes for the week (when will they send him to Nebraska?)  Next, we were all driving up to Lake George to drop Luca at sleep away camp and then, another weekend out East sandwiched between our drive back to Lake George for pick up. You get the picture . .

Labor Day weekend, when things were supposed to settle down, I got the casual “reminder” email that Seedlings, our new Brooklyn Heights preschool, starts on September 17th!  WHAT! ‘When did you tell me this the first time? I NEVER agreed to this?’ Don’t kids in Texas go back in July?

Three more weeks with two active toddlers and no plan during the hottest NY summer of record. And, when I needed them the most, The Children’s Museum of Brooklyn and Staten Island closed from September 3rd to September 14th for the annual cleaning. Does it really take two weeks to clean a museum? I knew I couldn’t manage them both, alone, at the Coney Island Aquarium, fearing I could find one trying to swim in the new Ocean Wonder shark tanks.

Does anyone really know what its like to raise twins without “help”?  I don’t think there are many east of the Mississippi doing it without a nanny.  Or, at least with family helping on a weekly basis.  I thought I was out of the woods but now, at three and a half, they are wiser and skilled at ganging up and manipulating me.  And demanding! “I want pancakes and I want to put my own butter on them with the purple knife and I want them in a plastic bag, not a plate, and I want to wear my purple princess underwear and I want to go the yoga room after school and I want to eat pasta for dinner and I don’t want that kind of pasta and I want candy and I don’t want to wear those pajamas and I want to color now and I have to go pee and I need you to turn on the light and I want to have my other book in bed and I need you to find my other book, the one with the words, and its NOT that one its the other one with the ripped sticker on it .  .  .” And, that’s just Maxine.

Today, at least I can say all three are in school for some portion of the day.

On that note, one amazing feature of our our new home – a crucial selling point – is a footbridge that connects our building directly to Brooklyn Heights which, as implied, sits  high up on bedrock overlooking Manhattan.  The Squib Park Footbridge, was going to make my walk to Luca’s bus stop and the girls’ new Brooklyn Heights preschool, stress free and downright pleasant.  It was all part of a wonderful dream.

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Then, JUST LIKE THAT, for seemingly no reason the bridge CLOSED.  And my daily routine is nightmarish.  Sorry for the inconvenience?  It’s way more than that. And temporary? The most recent update referred to a multi-month closure. The sign should  read “Attention, Mom of Twins, this bridge will not reopen until the day your kids are old enough to drive themselves to school.”

We were supposed to be like the happy people  you see walking across an already built bridge. Now we have to cross a busy street, with no crosswalk, to walk up a very very long and steep hill. No scooting happily over the bridge, avoiding traffic and enjoying the Manhattan skyline.  Instead I trek carrying my bag, two backpacks, two scooters, and a potty while dragging both unwilling girls up that brutally long hill. Midway, a water bottle usually drops from their backpacks, swinging on my sore arms, rolling downhill faster than I can grab it. Upon arrival, as everyone else is happily dropping off their one child at school and chatting it up, I usually show up like I worked the overnight in the ER.  I cant’ imagine what winter will be like.

At least at the very moment I gently push them into the doorway of their class, I can enjoy a beautiful walk back to my new home, knowing I have a couple of hours to catch up. That’s assuming I don’t go flying down the hill and wind up (back) in the ER.

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Beachin at Sagg Main

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Aqua- Flu -Topia

venusWe were all in a pretty bad rut a few weeks ago –  fed up with the grey, cold, wet and long New York City winter – cabin fever and boredom fully set in. Spending one more weekend at Kidville just seemed unbearable. A change was in order!

We needed something fun and out of the city to get our juices flowing. We hadn’t been out on skis yet this season, and could always use a warm up before our family trip to Utah later in the month. So, on a Wednesday, I convinced Mark to book the last available room at Camelback’s Aquatopia for the weekend.  The plan was to ski all day Saturday, stay the night and let the kids enjoy the water park, video arcade, rock climbing, laser tag, etc. on Sunday.  It’s totally cheesy, but I’ll admit it –  I was excited!

We’d been promising to take Luca there for years. After dragging him to a quaint BNB another season, he nearly imploded driving by those giant candy cane tubes protruding from the Aquatopian structure. Why not embrace our fate?

On Thursday morning, Mark called to confirm. “I just booked it; non refundable”, he said, as I held the phone away, feeling flushed and a little queasy, wondering what was coming over me.  Figuring that Luca would be elated, I managed to cough up a “great! It’l be fun!” and hung up – hoping I was imagining the onset of chills.

By Friday, I could barely get out of bed. Thank god, Mark could take Luca out to his 7:30 am bus and get the girls to school. I still don’t remember how I managed to pick them up by 1:00 and care for them until he came home from work. Sensing his frustration, I tried to convince him that I would be totally fine by tomorrow.

As we drove up, Luca and Mark excited to ski, and the girls oblivious to the fact that they would soon be dropped off in daycare; I wondered how I was going to get through the day knowing we couldn’t check into our hotel until that evening. Miraculously, Laurel, who caught wind of the endless Frozen loop playing on the 60×60 flat screen and giant indoor slide, was enthusiastic about going and ran right in. Maxine, on the other hand, almost pulled the safety gate off the wall after they pried her off me. I did call 10 minutes later, to check up on her state, and was told she was collecting tickets from other kids to ride the slide.

It would almost be impossible to combine two activities I would choose last, to try to do with the flu – skiing coupled with splashing around a water park while riding looping slides and being submerged into a giant pool! Being polar opposites, what are the chances of being at a place where you would do both? Such is my luck.

Luckily, on Saturday, the combination of meds I took coupled with Camelback’s modest terrain enabled me to basically just stand on my skis and head down the mountain with little movement, so I could take some runs with the boys; then head into the lodge every other run to nurse some hot tea.

Sunday morning, I used all my strength to get everyone dressed (myself included), to take them down to the breakfast buffet – though I second guessed my efforts, immediately, noticing most everyone including the parents, dining in their pajamas (not a good look, people)!  Even so, it was for the best;  just as I turned my head (after Laurel squeezed open a coffee creamer and sprayed me with, what looked like snow), I saw Megyn Kelly dining right next to us with her family entourage in tow. As the only two grown woman not wearing pajamas, on any other day, I could have said “hi” and, maybe, bonded over our shared enthusiasm for putting real clothes on; and that our kids are the same ages. But, in my pathetic state, I looked away and prayed she wasn’t going to be at the pool later.

Thank god she wasn’t because we didn’t need any Kelly File style reporting on what was to come. Unable to leave Mark to fend for all three kids, I had no choice but to step up. With my chills in full force, the girls and Luca sprayed me with water and splashed around the wave pool. But, I was starting to feel a little stronger and agreed it was totally fine for Mark and Luca to run off and ride The Venus Fly Trap – I sure as hell wasn’t up for it.

Not one minute after they left, as I watched the girls in sheer joy on the toddler water slides, did I notice Laurel walking funny. She must have sensed my panic and finally rushed out of the pool mumbling something about a “poopie”.  What, “YOU HAVE TO GO?” I shrieked. “NO”, she said,” I ALREADY DID.” But Laurel, “You aren’t wearing a diaper. You’re supposed to go to the potty!”

If I wasn’t sweating out my fever before, now I did in full force. Feeling other parents eyes on me, for multiple reasons, I frantically scanned the water for any fallout and  screamed, with the little voice I had left, for Maxine to GET OUT OF THE POOL, NOW! I was desperate to get Laurel out of sight and into the bathroom to clean up what I could. Of course Maxine wasn’t having it. “You expect me to leave multiple indoor water slides so I can join you in a dirty bathroom to clean up Laurel’s loose poop, “I translated her stare back at me as she climbed the steps on another slide.

Unable to leave Maxine, I backed myself and Laurel in the corner, praying for Mark’s return. Cowering behind an umbrella, I caught sight of  Megyn’s blond hair walking towards the locker rooms. Mark, “We have to leave NOW”, I screamed when I saw him.

On Monday morning, I scanned the Megyn Kelly Today show anxious to ensure no breaking  Aqua-poo-topia stories from Camelback.  While we may have skirted this one, we will definitely be lying low for a while.

It’s Never Too Late

birthdayWith the arrival of another new year, on January 2nd, Maxine and Laurel turned three! That only three years ago, one day past a similarly frigid New Year’s Day, they came crashing into our lives, blatant and unexpectedly early (in typical fashion), is still staggering.

Starting with the initial, shocking news; so much of it still seems like a blur.  I remember heading to midtown for, by all accounts, a “routine” sonogram early in their pregnancy. Relieved and gloriously thankful for the success we seemed to (finally) attain after several years trying for a second child. Between another failed pregnancy, my mom’s breast cancer treatment, a move from our apartment (and, later, back to the same buiding again), there were some stressful years where we, seriously, questioned if we were too old to start over with a newborn. We made the decision to start fertility treatment a year prior, and now decided this would be our last attempt.

I wanted Luca to have a sibling. As an only child, my parents did everything to make sure lots of kids were around and I wasn’t alone. So, at least during elementary school, I barely noticed or cared that I didn’t have a brother or sister. But, around the age of eleven or twelve, our close family friends’ got divorced. I assumed we’d always do everything together and things would never change. Skiing in Vermont, summer vacations in Montauk, holiday parties, and bar-b-ques. But, after their parent’s separation and subsequent move out of the neighborhood, I barely saw those friends again. Even as a child, the realization that blood is thicker than water hit me hard.

Back at my doctor’s office, anxiously awaiting the thumping of one little heartbeat, I recalled, with dread, a similar moment years back. At that time, I stared at a much grainier screen, excited to hear the pumping, so strong only weeks prior, now just appearing as an empty, black, stagnant, and silent screen. Myself, as a much younger woman, naive to the statistics on miscarriage, confused that maybe the machine wasn’t functioning properly.

But this day would be different. Still in my daze, I heard my doctor mention something about there being “a development” and my heart stopped. Having come this far, again, I didn’t think I could bear disappointment knowing it would close the door for us. “Sorry?” I stumbled, unsure that I heard him correctly and what he meant. “I’m hearing another heartbeat,” my doctor said cautiously. I cleared the lump in my throat, “What, exactly, does that mean?”

A quick Google search on the likelihood of having identical twins shows the odds being 1 in 10,000. They develop when one fertilized egg divides into two, and seem to occur entirely by chance, regardless of twins running in the family.

My initial shock inspired panic. Realizing that, even in our attempt to avoid the possibility of twins by using only our healthiest single embryo (in their quest for success most doctors push to use at least two, resulting in many fraternal twins), that our little one split on us, despite our intentions. Sensing my fear, the nurse reminded me of our blessings and added that her mom had twins at 40. “But, I’m going to be 45,” I choked back.

She was absolutely right; Maxine and Laurel are an unbelievable blessing, bringing us pure love, joy, chaos, laughter, exhaustion and fun while rounding out our family. Meanwhile, our initial fears weren’t even close to the reality of how much work they are. Everyday is like running a daycare. But we wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The chaos was immediate. From even before they arrived, when my water broke, suddenly and unexpectedly, in the middle of the night. My last doctors exam had assured me I had, at least, another week which would get us close to 35 weeks (still early, but safe). Well, they weren’t waiting.

By midnight on New Years Day, most of our friends in the building, were still away on holiday vacations. My family, not expecting any news, just returned back home from Christmas with us, and never heard our middle of the night cell phone calls. With time critical, we raced to the hospital, taking poor Luca with us. At only seven, he was so patient and supportive, waiting all those hours with me overnight; then having to sit, alone, in the waiting room when they took me in for what turned into an emergency C-section.

When the girls finally came home from the NICU, only two weeks later, the real fun began… and it hasn’t stopped since. We were blessed with two, healthy, spirited, strong and beautiful little girls that would, forever, change all of our lives and give Luca the siblings he always wanted.

As with every new year, when people reflect and make resolutions, this 2018 I will try to remind myself that it’s never too late to try or begin something new. And, to never give up. No excuses. Whether it’s telling your story, getting back to my blog posts, pursuing a new career, making up with an old friend or family member, starting your exercise plan, learning a new language, or just doing something that you’ve been dreaming of for a long time – just go do it. It may change your life, forever! It did for ours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful for the Twins Finally Using the Potty

IMG_3191So, I finally, stepped up to accept my, unfortunate, duty as a parent to train my girls to use the potty.  Indeed, freedom from the endless loop of changing diapers, was motivating, but secretly, I hoped to avoid or just ignore it. Would it really matter if they were still in diapers in first or even third grade? Aren’t there worse things to worry about? Sooner or later they would figure it out on their own. Then, we learned that ski school and camp wouldn’t accept them for drop off, untrained. Alarmed, we had a hard deadline in January and had to get to it.

Back when Luca was young, and I was a fresher faced mom, I, enthusiastically embraced these challenges, reading up on all sorts of advice. Unfortunately, all the experts were aligned. Lock yourselves in for three days, take off the diapers, and let it all go. Well, after the shit hit the fan, or in this case, the floor, I was done. NO WAY could I cope with that for 72 hours. Since I had committed to getting rid of diapers, I put underwear on him and continued for another few torturous days; sitting him down every half hour, me next to him, hoping for a miracle.

Fast forward seven years and, despite technology’s evolution (I didn’t even have a smart phone, let alone iPhone, back then), they still don’t have an app for this. Overwhelmed with two of them, I opted for a laid back approach and promptly amazon primed two pink potties, a portable potty for the playground (Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus), two cases of pull-ups, about 20 pairs of disposable underwear, candy, stickers, and extra bottles of wine to set about my task.

It’s been a frustrating few weeks, but real progress is happening. Maxine took the lead, being the most consistent with usage, supported by her utilization of algorithms to calculate optimal candy accumulation per pee or poop, manipulating timing for optimal rewards. Though I am very proud, one downside has been her determination that it’s not worth her time if she needs to do her business during reward blackout periods occurring daily before 7:00 am or after 6:45 pm.

Laurel was also catching up, but mostly on how she can guilt me into also earning candy for doing absolutely nothing but crying and screaming when Maxine gets her rewards. Though painful, I had to wise up to her manipulation and hold her accountable to, at least, sit on the potty to earn a candy treat. Luckily the prospect of a special new Doc McStuffins, or as she calls it, Stuff McStuffins back pack had her in a frenzy. She only needed one poop on the potty and it was hers.

It was an arduous few days when Maxine earned the coveted prize, before Laurel, and, to Laurel’s envy, wore the backpack everywhere, even to bed at night. Luckily, after dragging both potties, the portable potette (which came in very handy during a nature walk on Shelter Island), and everything else we needed for Thanksgiving, to our house in Bridgehampton, we had a breakthrough. After catching Laurel sneaking off behind the sofa to do her business, Mark yanked her into the bathroom. In a critical moment requiring excellent timing and aim (both rare for my husband), to her shock, Laurel nailed it right in the potty.

Anxious to see her rewarded, I jumped the gun. Once she had that backpack strapped tightly on, she immediately went on strike. After two long days, it took the fear of loosing her prize and possibly spending the afternoon with a fictitious babysitter to motivate her back to action. And, while there have been some slight mishaps, I am confident she has turned a corner.

Among so many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, having the worst of this job behind me, for the last time, is certainly one I don’t take for granted.

 

 

 

He Just Turned Ten, But We Both Have Some Growing Up To Do

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Luca’s 1st Birthday

Luca, our only child for 7 years, turned ten on October 14th! Somehow, he still manages to be the sun we all orbit, even with all the chaos his sisters’ create. From his first moments the kid’z been fawned and fussed over, cherished, adored, and overly spoiled. Not that he doesn’t deserve, almost, every moment of it. He’s given us more laughter, love, pride, and pure amusement this past decade that I could ever express in words.

Like most kids, he lives for birthdays and holidays where presents are involved. Which BTW, when did Halloween, Easter, and Valentine’s Day become holidays for relatives to send gifts?

As parties go, this year’s wasn’t over the top but, with little free time on my hands, it was stressful nonetheless. By the morning of, I was still unsure how, after committing to provide transportation, I was going to get 13 of the 16 kids coming from FIDI and Tribeca to Indoor Extreme Sports in Long Island City, Queens, during rush hour, on a Friday night.

I also needed to pick up the cake, assemble gift bags, and make sure a sitter was lined up for the girls. Bottom line, I put a lot of work in with little time and help, save for my mom who ran with me to Party City on the eve of the party, while Mark was enjoying a guys night out.

At this age, Luca’s expectations for additional gifts, on top of, yet, another birthday party needed a serious adjustment. We checked out his Amazon wish list and promptly nixed 3 more giant nerf guns (how many Nerf Zombi Strike FlipFury Blasters does one kid need?), and a tactical vest kit (sorry, NO). Since he would be showered with gift cards from all of his friends, we picked a few listed items, including a pair of random headphones.

But, always wanting things to be perfect, I fretted that, for his turning double digits, I didn’t have that one special gift. I thought,”rather than just any old headphones, why not buy him a cool pair of Apple Beats.” Now, desperate to have them for tomorrow, the 14th, Grandma and I sprinted to the Apple store knowing we still had to get the cake and grab the girls by 1:00. Considering the kid looses everything, I opted for a, slightly, cheaper pair, rather than dropping $300 on wireless ones. Miraculously, I got the last blue ones in stock, and coupled them with a matching iPhone case as a gift from his sisters. Feeling pleased, I ran to pick up the cake.

On Saturday morning, with Luca anxious to open his gifts, I couldn’t wait to surprise him with the upgraded headphones. But, no sooner did I hear, “Is this it?”, after he surveyed the few boxes we brought out, “I can already tell you didn’t get me a nerf gun,” he said, choking up. Defensively, I reminded him how many he had and maybe he could use his gift cards (ie, his own money) for more.

He was acting very childish, but I knew he was tired. Rather than let it go, I became incensed when I saw him sulking on the couch. Before I knew it, I was laying into him, “Didn’t you just have another birthday party, with transportation for all of your friends, and a beautiful soccer ball cake? I went out of my way to buy you something special.”

Clearly we were both out of line but, as the adult, I should have been able to let it go. Hell bent on making my point, I rambled on throughout the morning, exhausting us both. Unlike Mark, somewhat, the, detached, voice of reason, I also couldn’t bare living with Luca’s disappointment, however misplaced it was.

Later that day, it all blew over, and soon Luca was rocking out with his Beats, thanking us lavishly. All was right with the world again, until later that week. As he stepped off the bus, on Friday, he turned to me, his voice seeming to crack a bit, “Mom, why didn’t you buy me the wireless ones?”

I mean, what is it with kids? It never ends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of the Office

out of officeThis may sum up the reason for my silence, but it does give, slightly, the wrong impression; one of relaxation. As a backstory, two years ago, when the twins were born, we bought a summer home for a place to get the kids out of the city in the summer, spend some more time with nature, ride bikes, boogie board, yada, yada, yada.  We knew we needed some extra space, and crashing at my parent’s house, on summer weekends, with three kids, wasn’t going to work. And, for the most part, our time here is filled building memories with family beach days, barbecues, fresh seafood, dining el fresco, enjoying local berries and corn, and excessive amounts of Wolfer Summer In a Bottle, Rose’.

But, during the weeks in August, when I’ve been out here with Luca and the twins, alone, it tends not to be all sun, beaches and rose’. Well, just maybe not all beaches; and NOT ENOUGH ROSE’.

Upon our arrival last week, Max and Laurel immediately conspired that it was time to stop napping all together despite that they are only two and a half! And, just like that, as I was getting used to consolidating, ie cramming my writing into their hour and a half midday nap, along with other mundanities like cleaning and doing laundry, that precious time evaporated. Anticipating a full on crisis, I, luckily, found a morning drop off program at our beloved Children’s’ Museum of the East End, and enrolled them pronto. Thank god, after fully protesting on day one, they now love going to “my little camp” every morning. While it’s been a lifesaver, and managed to shaved off from 9:00- 12:00 daily, I still need to fill the remaining eight, non stop, hours from noon until bedtime! With two 2.5 year olds, it can be a very LONG day!

Grandma and Grandpa were also visiting us these past two weeks. With Mark gone, having the support of my mom on some long, hot afternoons at the park with the girls was a blessing. Grandpa also helped, a little, by entertaining them outside with the hose when their end of day crankiness (both the girls’ and Grandpa’s) typically amped up. But, initially, the girls sensed a situation they could manipulate to their advantage, which played out well for them those first few days.

With two extra adults fawning all over them, they weren’t sure if I still had the balls to instill time outs and strict bedtimes with grandma and grandpa looking over my shoulder. Possibly there was a new sheriff in town? And, like clockwork, there was a notable uptick in calculated tantrums and considerable limit pushing to throw us all into a tailspin. A lot to take after already suffering, mild, heatstroke from hours in the sun at every Google mapped playground available on the east end.

Thankfully, Luca loved the Hampton Country Day Camp, which managed to exhaust him all day with plenty of kids his own age. I can’t express my gratitude enough for providing peace of mind for his contentedness, along with their knack for distributing the optimal number of foam Thumbs Up and Starfish Awards (currently piled up on our kitchen counter), hosting super awesome bus karaoke and enough competitive sports to keep him fired up and ready for his 8:50 am pickup every morning.

With the Hampton Jitney or L.I.R.R. Cannon Ball Express delivering Mark back to us on Friday evenings, I, gratefully looked forward to another weekly family outing at Almond, Bridgehampton where Chef Jason executes impeccable cooking, someone else does the clean up, and, our friend, Jack, expertly, chills another bottle of our favorite rose’.

 

 

 

 

 

On the A list

Last weekend we had tickets to two of the hottest, most exclusive, most famously attended, can I say ‘bestest’ summer events of the Hamptons. No, I am not going retro and referring to Sean Comb’s aka P. Diddy’s All White Party (so y2k and, sadly, no longer a thing). Nor am I referring to one of those, notorious, Hampton’s $10,000 per plate Hillary Clinton Fundraisers (we all know how that ended). And, no, we weren’t up all night hang’n with the hipsters at Montauk’s Surf Lodge (though I am definitely not ruling that out)!

white party 2Give up? All right, so maybe you missed it. We made the rounds with appearances at the Children’s Museum of the East End’s 9th Annual Family Fair, Animals A to Z! And, later that night (a’hem, actually around 6:30), hitting the Taste of Two Forks aka Dan’s Taste of Summer. Come on, people, this is real Hamptons’ partying!

Yes, in lieu of Rose’ All Day, we opted for sock octopus crafts, giraffe party hats, kangaroo sock races, pony rides, unicorn milkshakes, and very clucky pinatas. And, with sponsors like the people from Casper Napmobile, Sensible Sitters, and Hamptons Tumblebus, we knew we’d be walking outta there with some super hot swag in our gift bags! And, they did not disappoint. We’re talking regulation size Sauders & Associates frisbees, enough water bottles and sunscreen sticks to get Luca through the rest of summer camp, and 15% coupons for discounted babysitting with Sensible Sitters. Who could resist?

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But, the true VIP action started later that day. Not quite 2:00 am, but just before sunset. Celebrating its 7th year as the creme da la creme of the East End summer events, Taste of Two Forks highlights the fare of Long Island’s North and South Forks, with tastings from top restaurants and star chefs of both sides! Set on the stunning waterfront property of Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton, Mark and I (thankfully with no kids, sock crafts, or unicorn milkshakes in sight) toasted glasses of local wine and fresh margaritas while watching the sun set over Mecox Bay and tasting everything, many times, from Noah’s, The North Fork Table and Inn, The Maidstone, Duryea’s Lobster Deck, The Frisky Oyster, etc, etc.

Maybe a far cry from the clubbing and late nights back in the day, (I think we were home by 10:00), but all in all, not a terrible way to spend the weekend. Now back to the social calendar to see what’s coming. Next up, Family Visiting Day at Sports Camp. Gotta get my gown.

 

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!