So I spent my morning helping my mother with some yard work. I was doing manly things like scooping up piles of dead leaves and breaking sticks. Be proud of me, I don’t exude stereotypical manliness often, or ever, for that matter. I didn’t take any pictures because I had just rolled out of bed and was on my way to shower when my mother asked me if I wouldn’t mind helping her out for a few hours. I did not mind. Ok. Well… I minded the manual labor aspect of it, but I didn’t mind lending my mother a hand.
Afterwards I promptly showered away the wet clumps of dead leaves that hand made their homes on my calves, got dressed and went downtown for a little bit only to find out that for one reason or another, my laptop could not connect to the internet:
This happens about once a week and only when I’m in Brewed Awakening so something tells me that it might be them and not me. While seething in anger, I ordered an iced chai and tried to resolve this issue. Sometimes it just takes a few clicks and restarting my macbook, sometimes it takes me long enough to finish my tea, pay and leave. Which is sadly, what I was forced to do today.
If you’re wondering if there’s anything new in downtown Metuchen, I’m happy to report that they have added more signs measures for pedestrians:
On my way down less than an hour before hand, a little girl who was maybe no older than five or six was having a lemonade sale outside of her home and I was hoping she’d still be there on my way back because 1. I love when little kids have lemonade stands, I think they’re adorable and 2. I knew I’d make her day which in turn would make my not so great day a little brighter.
She wasn’t there:
During the walk home I was thinking about what I should write about today. And I thought of two administrative things:
1. It’s looking like I’m going to need a guest post on Saturday, June 4th because I will be in Philadelphia at the 10th Annual Trans-Health Conference. So if anyone is interested in writing, please let me know! Also if you’re interested in going, you really should it’s a really educational and fun weekend and other than transportation, it’s essentially free. The conference itself is free and last year there was a church that made us lunch for I believe a dollar a plate (it also happened to be like… free milkshake day at McDonald’s. I don’t remember but we all got free drinks that day.)
2. I’m not too sure how blogging is going to work during E-Week. Something I’ve been thinking about pretty much since I signed on to do an entire year of blogging. From about 7:30 in the morning until usually five or six at night, I’ll be at camp for seven days and once camp is over every day, I’ll be working on the slide show that I make every year. It’s the best seven days of the year for me and it’s the thing I look forward to the most every summer but it’s also the most exhausting week of the year, every year for me. Maybe I’ll just write a haiku everyday or something. It sucks that I’m not going to be able to blog about it in real time but I know now that it would be impossible for me to function properly if I’m bandaging up kids, administering medications, calling parents over lost socks (this story might end up being my blog post for the day) all morning and afternoon, putting together a slide show every evening and blogging about it all when I’m done. I’ll die.
Ok so here’s the lost sock story. It’s one of my favorite camp kids stories of all time and I have eight years worth of stories.
Two years ago, I was health director for the first time at the camp. The first morning I had a kid throwing up outside, the second morning a girl had a severe asthma attack and had to go to the hospital but nothing compared to the stress of what happened later in the afternoon.
It was right after lunch and all of the kids were enjoying recreational time. We have plenty of things to do at rec time, sports, crafts, board games, we have an inflatable water slide set up on hot days for kids to play with, there’s even space for the preteen girls to walk around and talk to each other while ignoring another group of preteen girls.
Hang on a second, I gotta go shuck some corn.
The corn’s been shucked:
Also, Rosie eats her dinner really weird:
Anyway back to the story. So it’s rec time at E-Week two years ago. I was finishing up paperwork from the morning incident when the girl had to be taken to the hospital when a counselor brings in a young camper who is bawling her eyes out. Completely hysterical. I’m sitting here thinking
“Christ. Am I really going to send another kid off in an ambulance today?” They way this girl was crying, I thought that she had been bit by a snake, had gotten accidentally shot in the head by a model rocket (one of the morning activities for campers to participate in is rocketry) or maybe she was bitten one of the animals from Perfect Pets (the activity, I used to run before becoming health director) or at least broke several bones doing something stupid that little kids do.
But she looked fine. There were no marks, bumps or bruises that I could see. There was no blood or missing appendages. So I sat the girl down, asked the counselor who had brought the girl in to fetch her a cup of water. When the counselor returned, I waved to her to let her know she was free to leave and return to whatever she was doing while the little girl took a few sips of water and calmed down to a point where I could talk to her.
So I simply asked her what was wrong.
She said she needed to call her mother and go home right away.
We don’t send kids home unless they’ve thrown up, run a fever, break something, or spend the entire day sleeping in the office. She had none of the ailments that warrant a call home. Plus, it was only the second day of camp there was a good chance that this girl (she was a first year) hadn’t found her niche yet and was just really home sick.
“I lost my sock.” and I looked down at her feet and noticed that underneath her velcro sneakers were two feet: one with a pink sock, one without a pink sock. I could see the tears welling up in her eyes again so I tried to comfort her.
“Heyyyyyy. There’s no need to get upset! I’m sure we can find your sock! Where was the last place you remember having it.”
And the little girl explained that she had changed into her bathing suit at the beginning of rec time because she wanted to play on the water slide. But when she got outside, the water slide wasn’t set up so she came back inside to get dressed again and that’s when she noticed that her sock was missing.
And that’s when she burst into tears again. So I went out into the main room and I asked two or three counselors if they wouldn’t mind retracing the girls steps and seeing if they could find her pink sock anywhere.
I went back inside and tried to rationalize with her, “Is your foot uncomfortable in your shoe without a sock? Is that why you want to go home?”
She nodded, wiping the tears away from her eyes. I looked up on the wall above where she was sitting to the list hanging up of all of the kids with food allergies. She was not one of them so I offered her some of the candy we had laying around for the counselors. That seemed to cheer her up, but not enough to want to stay.
The counselors I had deployed came back empty handed which put the girl back in hysterics. Sometimes when little kids get upset, all they need to do is talk to a parent and be ok enough to stay. So I decided to call her mother.
“Hi. Mrs. So-and-So. I have your daughter here and we’re not having too great of a day. She’s fine but it seems as though at some point during rec time, she lost her sock and she’s really upset about it. She says she wants to go home but I think she’d really be missing out on a lot of cool stuff if she left early. Maybe if you guys talked for a couple of minutes she’ll change her mind and want to stay?”
The girl heard me and shouted, “No! I want to go home!”
The mother told me to put the girl on the phone with her.
I couldn’t make out what the mother was saying, but I listened to the little girl whine to her mother, “But I don’t want to stay! I hate it here! Please can you pick me up now? You can! Ok Yeah I’ll be waiting by the door.” and the girl handed me back the phone while she collected her things. The mother told me that she’d be by to pick her up in about fifteen minutes. By the time we hung up, the little girl was standing at the front door of the building, ten feet away from the office, watching out one of the glass panes for her mother’s car to pull into the parking lot.
Finally I pulled out the big guns. I really do not like sending kids home without a valid reason so I invited the girl to sit back down with me, offering her another piece of candy as bait.
She took it and joined me back in the little office where I casually brought up what would be happening for the rest of the day. “You know, it’s a shame you’re leaving. I wouldn’t want to miss today’s afternoon activity.”
She wouldn’t engage me in conversation, I knew it was because she wanted more candy which I wasn’t about to give her so I continued. “I can’t believe you want to go home on the day of the carnival.”
On Tuesdays, the counselors dress up like clowns and we set up carnival games around the camp (conveniently, our camp is located on a fair ground complete with dunking booth and miniature golf course) and the kids are given tickets and they can win prizes. We also had cotton candy and i think Italian ices two years ago. We even make balloon animals.
She looked at me:
“Yep. With games and prizes and cotton candy and balloon animals. There’s even a petting zoo!”
“Is there a carnival tomorrow?”
“No. Wednesday’s skit day!”
And she had a change of heart, “I think I can stay. I don’t think I need to go home.”
And I called her mother, and told her not to bother.
The little girl spent the entire time she was at the carnival getting as many different things she could out of balloons. She had a hat, a sword with a belt, a dog and a giraffe at the end of the day.
If you were curious, we did find her sock.
It was in the boys’ bathroom.
I’ll see you tomorrow.