July 18 12

The wonderful thing about having my two younger kids in city day camp—I mean, other than the fact that they are occupied between the hours of 9 and 4 every single day—is that they are switching up their camps every two weeks, making brand-new friends, and unexpectedly reuniting with old friends.

The first two weeks, Josh went to swim camp and Isabella to dance camp. This two weeks, Josh is in baseball camp and Isabella is in something called Summer Extravaganza! (I have no idea what this means, but the exclamation point leads me to believe that it’s super! fun!) For a few moments, I really regretted the decision we made to not put them in an expensive summer-long big box day camp. We are lucky enough to live in a city with a plethora of day camps to choose from. One of our very dear friends runs an excellent camp nearby and, honestly, when I hear about all the amazing things these types of camps offer (instructional swimming twice a day! camp play! horseback riding! hot lunches! THE BUS! Not having to make new single-serving friends every two weeks!) there is a tiny twinge of Maybe I should have eaten the $$ price tag and just sent them there. There is even a tiny twinge of Forget the kids, I want to go to there.

But then I look at my kids.

Every day they come home with giant smiles on their faces, excited to give me a play-by-play of the entire day. Every day they get into my boiling-hot car and talk about their new friends. Every day they come home exhausted. Every day they are excited about a new craft, about a new skill, about a new story to tell.

I mean, sure, with this comes the jaunty tunes they have on repeat, repeat, repeat.

Hello my name is Joe and I work in a button factory
I have a house, and a dog, and a family
One day, my boss said to me, “Hey Joe, are you busy?”
I said, “No.”
He said “Turn the button with your left hand.”



Hello my name is Joe and I work in a button factory
I have a house, and a dog, and a family
One day, my boss said to me, “Hey Joe, are you busy?”
I said, “No.”
He said “Turn the button with your right hand.”


I imagine this is exactly what would be happening in a big-box camp—smiles, stories, skills, crafts, friends, SONGS ON REPEAT.

Funny, I was just telling someone recently—an old camp friend, coincidentally—that the way my brain and my fingers work is really interesting. I don’t pre-plan any of my posts. No. In fact, I just sit down and let my fingers do what they do. In fact, when I sat down to write this morning, it was with the intention to talk about how Isabella has taken to waking up earlier and earlier every morning. Usually, she’s quite quiet and doesn’t even let me know that she is awake, save for the moment when she realizes that she needs to pee


because we have exactly four bathrooms sprawling across our 3,000 square feet and yet. And yet! My children do not know how to bathe, shower, brush their teeth, pee, poop, look in the mirror, brush their hair anywhere but our en suite bathroom. They are like vermin and cockroaches. I have used my best efforts to keep them away and ban them from the bathroom…but they keep coming back. I have even gone so far as to take a wee little spider from the wall in the hallway and place it in the bathroom, calling to the kids, “Look! There are spiders in here! You don’t want to use this bathroom!”

Which, I know, is the worst idea, since two of the three of my kids are not the biggest spider fans. Mother of the year, over here! Where’s my trophy?

In fact, I’m fairly sure that the original reason that they don’t like to use any of the other bathrooms IS because of previous spider encounters. So, interestingly, spiders in their bathroom=not okay, but spiders in MY bathroom=totally fine and dandy, bring on some more!

“Your bathroom next time please.”

“I’m sorry, Mama, I just forgot.”

“No you didn’t.”

“No I didn’t.”

“YOUR BATHROOM. You have your own for a reason.”

“Hey Mama! You know what’s a funny word? POCONOS!”

“Uh huh. Isabella, it’s like SIX in the morning.”




“Is it camp time yet? Hey! I know! Let’s sing that annoying song about Joe—you know, the one who works in a button factory!”


So..that’s my brain for you. It was supposed to be about bathrooms and the Poconos.

And instead it’s about the decision to send my kids to city day camp.

And just a little bit about the Poconos.

  1. I’m sorry, I’m laughing because I remember that button song and yeah…sorry it will be stuck with you for AGES now. Oh, and I guess me too…dammit Ali!
    Wait till you get to “the song that gets on everybody’s nerves”. Yes, that is the title and the main theme. It’s also very true.
    Kind of makes you miss the days of just Patrick Swayze singing Henry the 8th in ghost.
    Glad to hear your kids are having fun. Mine are bored and cranky. I’m considering having annoying camp songs played on repeat on the iPod and the smell of s’mores piped into the house to give them the illusion of camping…


    Comment by Nuala Reilly on July 18, 2012
  2. oh good grief. Now I’M singing about that bastard Joe. Thanks Ali.


    Comment by Jen on July 18, 2012
  3. Hahaha! I love it. We have a similar bathroom situation. Four bathrooms in this house and they always use the same one. To the point where one is on the toilet and the other is doing the pee pee dance screaming, “HURRY UP! I NEED TO PEE!” The spider thing is genius. This is our first year in day camp and it’s going really well. We have changed it up every week and there is swimming every day too. :) I’m happy to report that I don’t know this Joe song. Let’s hope it stays this way.


    Comment by Sandy on July 18, 2012
  4. I almost never know what I am going to write about, its how I process.


    Comment by Corey Feldman on July 18, 2012

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