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When your 5th grader goes to camp

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Sending your 5th grader to camp by Frugalista Blog

When your 11 year old goes to 5th grade camp and you miss him, he might not miss you as much as you thought he would. Which is probably a good thing. Fly little birdie fly. (sniff, sniff)

Owen just finished 48 hours away from home at 5th grade camp. This was his first camp-out without his dad. He’s done Cub Scouts before but always with his dad. And dad always had a cell phone. So I would text and check updates, looking for Facebook pictures or statuses.

But this time, no dad. No cell phones. It felt weird.

I completely trusted him in the care of his teacher and the other adults there. But I wondered if he was missing me. Did he let tears fall on his pillow at night when the cabin was dark and he heard every little creak and hum? When he could hear other campers snoring and he felt far from home and alone did he muffle his cries in his pillow? Okay, so that was me when I was 11 at camp. Not that I’m trying to impress my experiences on him, but I did have a certain empathy for what he might be going through.

Camp is an exhilarating and exhausting rite of passage for kids this age. A bonding experience with classmates that if you’re lucky, you’ll have camp memories 30 years later with those friends and you form Facebook groups.

I even remember my camp songs, the Smokey The Bear award, the film canister survival kit I made, the weird ‘hamburger surprise’ dinner that was served that first night.

I remember crying while saying good bye to the friends I made from other schools. We wrote letters to each other for probably the following 6 months and then lost touch.

Owen said there were no tears shed. He said the food was awful but they still cleared their plates.

They measured their ‘ort’ or leftovers, for their table. Only take what you’re going to eat. I love camp. Sharing the value of limiting waste! He said by the last meal his table had zero ort.

He shared the songs his cabin sang when they had to line up for meal times. A different one each time, they would line up, sing their song or chant, and the cabin with the best, got to go in the dining hall first. A sample of one of them to the tune of Selena Gomez’s, “If You’re Ready Come and Get It”- “Lunch is ready, come and get it, nanana na na na.” He said they won pretty much every time.

They performed a skit and won the trophy for best skit. Or something like that.

He told me about a tumble he took off of some tight rope. That didn’t sit too well with me. But hey, he’s fine. It’s camp, not Navy Seals. Or Meatballs.

I was disappointed to hear there was no Square Dancing. How do you not have Square Dancing? We had Square Dancing. What is camp without the humiliation and exhilaration of having to touch a boy’s hand? Hoping he won’t know that yours are sweaty.

O Johnny O Johnny O was my favorite. I can do it for you if you’d like. Maybe a YouTube video?

I have to at least teach Owen. Do si do-ing and going to your ‘corner girl’, THAT is what camp is!

So Owen got off the bus looking exhausted but happy. He smelled of camp fire and hair gel. He asked for Starbucks. Then he went home, changed his clothes, grabbed his iPhone and was out the door to a friend’s house!

Wait just a minute.

Where was my chit chat over tea and scones? I needed to hear every detail!

Hmm. It wasn’t going to happen at that moment. I needed to let him go and let him run off his antsy feeling of connecting with the friends that didn’t go to camp.

Eventually, he shared a whole bunch over a game of 2 square in the driveway with me. Trust me, I will keep drawing camp details out of him as the days go on. I’m guessing there will be several rounds of Foosball, 2 square, and hoops to get him to talk.

I’m okay with that.


Holy nubbins Batman, they DO have Puberty Barbie.

Okay, normally I don’t post twice in one day. But I had to do a post script to my post Do Toy Execs Think Parents Are Idiots.

My friend Betsy pointed out that they did have Puberty Barbie. It was called Growing Up Skipper. It grew boobies when you spun her arm.

I wish I could grow my boobies just by spinning my arms.

And any of you folks out there that still own this baby from 1975 (in the box of course), it’s going for $300 on Amazon. I gotta get me one with my Cher Barbie!

Mattel's version of Puberty Barbie

Banjos, ponies and Crystal Gayle

Or also titled, Things I wanted for Christmas as a Kid and never got:

Remember my post on Cher? (Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves) I coveted that Cher Barbie and wanted her hair for myself. So I wore my nightgown on my head and pretended it was my long hair. I totally forgot about Crystal Gayle. How could I? For practically my entire elementary school years, my friend Stacey and I (if you’re reading this Stacey, call me- miss you!) secretly listened to her parents’ records (yes, records) of Crystal Gayle. She had the longest brown hair. Past her butt. That was what always got us jealous. If you had hair past your butt, then you were so cool.

You remember, “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue”. She had a really famous song with Eddie Rabbitt, “You and I” (it’s on Youtube). Eddie Rabbitt- oh my God- remember him?? No? Me neither.  Okay…

So Stacey and I would pretend that we were Crystal Gayle. We took turns who got to use the hairbrush and sing along to the record.  When I said we ‘secretly’ listened to her parents’ records, it wasn’t that we weren’t allowed, it was, we didn’t tell any of our friends. I’m sure they were listening to Thriller, The Flashdance Soundtrack, Devo… SHE wasn’t allowed to listen to THOSE records. So we made the best of Crystal Gayle. AND Anne Murray. Snowbird is a beautiful song. Just sayin’.

So my other thing besides the Cher doll, that I always asked Santa for, was, a horse. I know this isn’t very unusual. Many girls want horses. It didn’t make it any better that my English cousin Clare, had her own pony- Beau Brummell. I will never forget that summer we went to visit my dad’s family in England. Clare is at least 8 years older than I am. I was 5 at the time. She had been competing in shows on Beau and got a gabillion ribbons and trophies. They were all over her room. I was SOOO jealous! Honestly, I don’t remember if it was the horse or the ribbons I was jealous of more. I got to ride Beau for just a bit. The whole famly did.  We took turns up and down this strip of pasture while she lead him. There’s pictures of us wearing “Britain is Great” t-shirts with the Union Jack on it, and wearing her riding cap. You know those cute velvet ones? They’re helmets really, but they look so cute.

I remember begging my parents for a pony of my own. I did this every birthday and Christmas for at least the next 6 years. I’m not sure why mom said, “we’ll see”, when I asked her. How about just ‘no’. The ‘we’ll see’ was torture. That meant, there was actually the slightest, POSSIBILITY I was getting a horse. Mind you, we didn’t have any place to put it and couldn’t afford to board it. My brother left for college the summer after I turned 7. I figured his room would make a really good stable. My parents didn’t go for that idea.

Now don’t laugh. Okay, you can laugh.

I want a banjo.

This isn’t a childhood dream. I want a banjo now. If you do, ‘deendeedeer, der, der, der, der’ in that banjo-ey voice, I will scream. Because that’s what anyone does when I tell them I want a banjo. They’re mocking me. So I like Steve Martin. I like the Dixie Chicks. I want a banjo. I want to shred a banjo like Slash on the guitar. Like Jim Neighbors on the ukelele or was that Captain Kangaroo?

Maybe it was when I was 6 and I saw Kermit the Frog in the Muppet Movie play his banjo by that pond. Oh it was so cute. And I wanted to sing about rainbows and happy things. I can’t even play the guitar. But I’m sure I would learn the banjo in a jiffy. And yes, James and the children think I’m out of my mind.

Anyway… if anyone out there has a banjo- and lessons to go with it- I would like that. I’ll pay you in cat bubble pictures. Or I’ll just sing Crystal Gayle for you… That’s a gift in itself.