He's at camp for a month!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, despite difficult child refusing to even discuss going to camp for a month, refusing to shop for supplies (he normally loves to shop), and refusing to pack his own suitcase, we all piled in the car and drove to N.C.
    Eight hrs, the four of us. (The worst part was when easy child drove. She tailgates. My stomach was in knots.:surprise::sick:)

    difficult child was understandably anxious. But it worked out well for me the day b4 he left ... he basically clung to my arm and was an angel all day. I went for my walk in the a.m., and he actually went with-me!!! (He's always been too cool to be seen with-me, and would rather watch mindless TV or play videos, but we've taken away all the videos.) He rode his bike, with-o a helmet, but after reading the Explosive Child, I decided, heck, no busy streets, all residential, if he rides way ahead of me then I'm just back to my normal walk with-the dog. But he stuck /w me the entire time, stopped or slowed down to wait for me, chatted the entire way. It was a pleasure.

    We drove to Toys R Us to p/u an action figure wrestler (do not, I repeat, do NOT call them dolls unless you want your head bitten off) and he had a great time and didn't beg for anything except what we'd gone in for (he always wants to up-sell the merchandise from the basic $8.99 toy to the $12.99 figure or better yet, the 3-pack). Then we went for a haircut, and he usually complains, but we went to a new salon, with-a young, blonde hairdresser who fussed over him and he was as happy as a clam.

    We looked at guitars next door to the hairdresser, and of course he wanted to buy something that second, but I told him we'd probably get a used guitar somewhere and give him lessons at Christmas.

    We stopped next door for sushi and they were closed on Mondays. :(

    He wanted to do something "special" like play Putt-Putt golf, but they'd gone out of biz. It was late in the afternoon when he came up with-the idea to do something "special" on his last day home, so he started going through my office drawers (which I hate, but ignored this time around) and he came up with-a deck of cards, and we played cards for over an hr.
    Then I made him homemade rice-crust, faux cheese pizza.
    It was probably the best day I've ever had with-him, since he was born.

    Up until the second we got into the car, he insisted he wasn't going to camp, but I told him he at least had to stay at the bed and breakfast with-us and go horseback riding at the Biltmore. So he got into the car, and he was great the entire way down. He watched videos on a DVD player in the back seat with-easy child.

    We had dinner at a horrendously awful sushi take-out place in Asheville but it was great fun. Usually sushi places are formal and expensive, but this was a renovated Arby's or something and the sushi was cheap. Also, thawed. We could all tell it wasn't the best, but the kids were so wound up we didn't care. The trade-off for a worry-free meal with-goofy kids was worth it.
    Horseback riding was nice but tame. (Excuse the expression.:) ) We went riding in the mntns in CO last yr and it was a 2-hr ride umpteen thousand miles up, on rocky slopes. The Biltmore estate is more like Disney, where everything is perfectly planted and the horses all have martingales. (A rope is tied between the halter and the pommel so they can't raise their heads to run. Bo-rrring.) The kids were very calm, it was a cool, beautiful morning in between days of thunderstorms, and I had a great time. The guide asked if they were always that quiet. HA!!!

    Camp was an hr from Asheville. The cabins are similar to those I slept in as a kid. No electricity, no bathrooms, but still, a roof over your head and a place to put your clothes and sleeping bag.

    Ggf had no idea I'd signed him up for an academic camp, and when the counselor sat down to fill out paperwork and asked difficult child what level math he was studying in school, difficult child shot me an evil look. If his eyes were daggers, I'd be dead now. LOL. It was truly funny.
    Really, we chose not to tell him because he was already upset about leaving for a mo., and he wouldn't have even gotten in the car if he'd known that.
    However, I know for a fact he'll like the white water rafting, caving, rock climbing and hiking. They alternate the schedule 2 days/3 days/2 days.
    Incl. in the program is skills mgmt and organization, so the kids learn to wash their own clothes (which difficult child already does), and learn budgeting. We incl. a mandatory extra $60 for his budget, and the counselor keeps the $ and takes the kids to a local convenience store and helps them buy things. (I'm wondering how long it takes difficult child to fanagle $ from the other kids.:sick:)
    The good thing is that even the counselor is ADHD and very young--23 yrs old--with-a degree in outdoor skills and education. He is very hands-on and kinesthetic like difficult child and loves "guy" stuff. The academics counselor, a female, has a background in special needs education and math.

    So when difficult child threatened me that he was going to do his best to get kicked out of camp, I wasn't a bit worried. The counselors have all been there done that. :D
    I have to admit, I felt badly walking away, and got a bit teary eyed while difficult child sat on a hill by himself, next to a bunch of camping equipment he had no idea how to use, knowing he wouldn't be seeing us for a mo. I was almost wishing he'd throw a fit so I'd be happy to leave. Sounds awful, but you know what I mean.
    husband was really teary eyed and had a really hard time saying goodbye. You'd think we were sending our kid to Dauchau instead of an incredible adventure/educational camp.
    It is truly a rite of passage. (For both difficult child and husband.)

    The 3 of us drove to Waynesboro and shopped but husband just sat down in a chair and got teary eyed again.

    The next a.m. the 3 of us toured the Biltmore mansion and gardens. I knew difficult child would hate it, so planned the tour after he was dropped off. After going through it, I KNOW I made the right choice. For every Napoleanic chess set, Renoir, John Singer Sergeant painting and gilded caryatid I drooled over, difficult child would have been that much worse off.

    It was a very long drive home I am excited to have an entire month to myself!!!! What a nice break. It is so calm here.

    easy child is excited because she can buy wheat products for the next 3 wks--Poppin Fresh, Sarah Lee, you name it. ;)

    We're planning to strip difficult child's rm, again, b4 he comes back, and going back to sq. 1, since he will undoubtedly be humbled when he returns, and we're going to make sure his attitude doesn't pick up again.

    I was actually kind of missing him already but then The Manipulative Child came in the mail ... ;)
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Can I go to the bed and breakfast and go riding at the Biltmore? ;)

    I'm glad that you guys had a nice day before he left. Bake a cake, make some cookies, and buy a box of Cap'n Crunch!
  3. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    What an awesome month difficult child will have! And I know how hard it was for you to leave him there even though you know this is a great program. Do you get mail from him or can you send mail?

    I believe you are right that when he returns it will be a new beginning and a time to make sure house rules are known and followed.

    I am looking forward to hear how your month goes and how reintroduction to home will be for difficult child.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Yes, we can do snail mail and email. I love to write so that should be easy. :)
    They are allowed one ph call home, which we have to schedule. I know he's going to beg to be picked up. I am dreading it.
  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sure, Witzend! If you're willing to make the drive, from where ever you are. :)
    Frankly, I should have booked a Red Roof Inn or Holiday Inn, because we left both mornings at 8:30 and breakfast is typically served at 9 a.m. I really blew it. I don't know what I was thinking. We did have one nice breakfast, which the owner made especially early for us, but we were rushed.
    Live and learn.
  6. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I have to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your post!

    This really IS a rite of passage. Something tells me that you won't get the begging to come home. I bet he loves it.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I bet he loves it too! by the way, is ok for me to be extremely jealous?:)
  8. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    Wow, good for him for going and good for you for sending him. My difficult child just has a week long day camp next week, and I cannnot wait. The session he was originally signed up for was cancelled so you can bet your boots I signed him up for another one.

    I think I would be eating normal pasta. Mmmm... I hope it goes well and bet he has a blast.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    The session he was originally signed up for was cancelled so you can bet your boots I signed him up for another one.

    LOL! I hear you!

    Yes, we're all jealous. It is a very cool camp. Just looking at the pictures made us all drool.
    He discovered they also had a lllama trek and he would have adored that ... but he's too old. :(
    Still, it's not like he's being tortured. Sheesh.
  10. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    I thought it was only me! I had my difficult child signed up for camp for 4 weeks away. 3 days into it the camp calls and tells me her behavior is not "conducive to the camping atmosphere" and she would give difficult child one more day to turn it around. I find out the next night that difficult child wants to stay and not come home and that her behavior has improved 100%. They even have a picture of difficult child SMILING!! I haven't seen difficult child smile in years! I'm still pinching myself as I was sure my only non-difficult child time was going to abruptly come to an end. I can't believe I'll actually have some time to rejuvinate. I don't feel guilty - next year starts high school and I will have needed to eat my wheaties. I'll treasure every moment for the next 28 days! I hope you do too!!!!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yikes! I'd be scared silly if I got that phone call. I'm so glad it worked out. It shows they can do it when they try. And the fact that she was smiling ... that's truly icing on the cake.
  12. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    Like I said - I'm still pinching myself - Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow- that sounds ideal! What a great balance between fun stuff and educational stuff- plus it gives you a break! Just think- he will look back on this one day and thank you for it!
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I hope so, klmno!

    Dara, after I read your note again, I remembered that old song, "Hello mudda, hello fadda, here I am at Camp Grenada ..." and it goes on about how miserable he is, and at the end, "wait a minute, the sun is shining, kids are running, kids are playing ... kindly disregard this letta."

  15. ML

    ML Guest

    How cool! This is the best news, Terry. This is going to be so good for him (and you too). Stay strong if he does ask to come home. A little big of tough love can go a long way. Enjoy your freedom and peace This experience sounds truly awesome and will be great for him. I wish I could send mine to something like this.