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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Day Camp Daze

I am always amazed by my inabilty to grasp certain concepts which should be self-evident, yet don’t seem “right”, so they evade me.  Such as summer camp.

My reasoning went something like this:  send the kids to a week of day camp, and I get to have some time for my own projects.

Never works.

Year after year, I feel like Charlie Brown with the football whisked away at the last moment by the conniving Lucy.  Somehow, my time is pulled out from under me.

Naturally, since we live in two different cities, I am confined to quarters in one abode.  Benedetto takes his leave of us for the first half of the week elsewhere.  Because he is such a helpful person in terms of early-morning duties, this is a big blow to the morning machinery.

“Remember that each one receives a different portion of oatmeal at breakfast,” he starts.

“Oh, no—,” I am unwilling to buy into this crazy, short-order cook mentality.  “They’re going to learn to eat the same thing.  I make lunch and dinner and we all eat one meal.  Why is breakfast different?”

“Shouldn’t Petya get more oatmeal, and Sashenka less?” he reasons.  “Petya has three packets—.”

“THREE PACKETS?!  That’s like three breakfasts right there!”  I’m shocked.  Benedetto is not good on portion control.  It’s the never-ending pasta bowl, and we’re not at the Olive Garden, either.

“Mama, I’m losing weight, it’s okay…” almost 15-year-old Petya walks through the kitchen.  “I’m down from 185 to 167,” he gives me a thumbs-up,slimming down at his tennis coach’s goal of turning him into a lean, mean, winning machine.

“And Mama’s proud of you, too,” I kiss the big guy, much taller than I.  “If you could just write down that diet for me….”

Benedetto cuts in.

“Okay, so that’s three packets for Petya, two packets for Pasha and Mashenka, and one packet for Sashenka.  Stir with hot water.  Then the boys like chocolate in their skim milk, and the girls like their milk plain….”

“Yeah, and I like mine with hazelnut,” I note.  “Isn’t it enough that I have to give the dogs their sides of Greek yogurt and fish oil?  Haven’t you taken this customization thing too far?”

He ignores me, which is a frequent occurrence when an unreasonable person is trying to convince a reasonable person of something… unreasonable.

“For lunch, Petya likes peanut butter and jelly.  Pasha takes apple butter.  The girls like grape jelly.  It all goes on whole wheat bread with a minimum of 437 grams of fiber.  The grains must be raised on organic farms where the sun smiles warmly and the breeze blows gently….”

“You can see I’m not taking notes, here…” I inform him.

“Then we need carrot sticks or apple slices, an ice pack, sugar-free lemonade in their water bottles, and a snack of Nutter Butters for three of them, and Oreos for one,” he ticks off.


“Don’t forget the rest of the gear,” I remind.  “They’ll be in the pool afterwards, so they need towel, swimsuit, and flipflops.  During camp, they have to wear a cap, sunglasses, and sunscreen.”

All of the details are taking up my time.  I have enough time to finish their laundry by night and lay out the breakfast stuff the evening before, walk the dogs at 5:00 am, get everyone out the door, do the dishes, run some errands, then they’re all back and having to discuss their day, hungry for dinner, need to do a few pages of math or typing or essays, I’m baking a birthday cake, we’re preparing for CLEP exams, having family devotions, practicing the piano….  Rinse and repeat.

“How was camp?” I ask.

“Fantastic!  You won’t believe what happened!”  The kids arrive dripping wet from the pool.  It’s actually a lacrosse camp, but at the end of the day, they get free time in the pool that’s practically better than the rest of the day, lol.  They share with me, each one talking on top of the other in the car, breathlessly sharing their awesome day.  “Can we Skype with Papa?”

And so they chit-chat with the mastermind behind my busy week, as he asks them about their lunch, secretly taking notes to see that I’m following directions.  I think I see pizza in the background of his kitchen film set….

Is there a summer camp for adults?



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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Gwendolyn says:

    I think I’ve figured it out. Summer camp for adults =
    1) The kids are away at overnight camp for a minimum of 2 weeks.
    2) The parents take a vacation at one of those resorts (never been to one myself) where even the drinks with their paper umbrellas are included in the package price…

    • avatar admin says:

      You’re on to something, here! With our first, I could never imagine leaving him at an overnight camp (I’ll have to write about his one and only experience). Now with the others, it’s like that brass ring held out before me…. 🙂

      As a tea-totalling, calorie-counting, non-scuba diver, non-beach layer-downer, etc., I don’t think I’d get my money’s worth in an all-inclusive resort (but I’d be willing to try-!).

  2. avatar Ivanka says:

    I will go with Gwendolyn and drop my four off with you for a week and then you take all 8 to Gwendolyn (then u can join me at the Luxe Party House) and next week she takes them all to my house (as my 2 weeks will be up…) I need to go first so I can repent for all those harsh, judgmental things I said about other people who would dare to send the lil cherubs away…
    All this from someone plotting to have more children than Jacob.
    My oldest (Ivan Jr) is actually going to spend-the-night basketball camp this week. And Iveta has been at a horse show this week without me. This from someone who said never!

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