Camp Fail

“Mommy, can you STOP talking about it now?” B says in response to the 40th time I exclaimed, “I can’t believe I ALMOST forgot your towels!?! I mean, can you believe it? I remembered them at like the last minute? Can you believe it? I can’t believe I almost forgot them.”  I’d been saying this over and over from the moment we left the apt to the time we pulled up at camp.

This is summer camp.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love camp.  Granted, I’m not a camper.  But the boys love it…and pick-up is at 4.  But let me tell you, camp prep is a full time occupation.  You know what I’m talking about!


First, I don’t even have the mental capacity to sort out the logistics, supplies, themes everyday.  Questions I ask myself everyday:

  1. Does anyone have a field trip today?
    • Is there a clean, red field trip shirt around?
    • Do I have a disposable water bottle to pack in a field trip lunch? Is there a partially smashed one under the stroller maybe?
    • Did I freeze a gogurt so that by the time they get to lunch it’s still the perfect temperature?  Brilliant right?  Nope.  It comes home.  No one is interested.  “String cheese is too bendy” because it’s a brown bag lunch and not insulated.  Come on children.  Who raised you to be so demanding anyway?  Oh wait.
    • Do I have puke precautions to pack for B ?
      • GREEN pocket fan for cooling off when the 100 degree furnace-bus starts to make him feel like puking.  Yes he puked BOTH ways on last week’s field trip, thus the rush order pocket fan from Amazon Prime of course.  Why is GREEN so important you ask?  Well because they sent PURPLE not green.  I know I couldn’t believe it either.  Obviously purple wasn’t happening so I had to rush order another one.  B, in turn, thanked me kindly, wrote me a lovely poem about his love for me, got ready for bed before I even thought to ask him, and even offered to put his brother to bed as well, all 15 minutes early.  Yeah.  Then again, I don’t think he even looked up when I presented the replacement green fan rushed for his non-puking benefit.
      • Blue ice wrapped in a towel to cool off.  G-d forbid it starts to melt and gets everything else wet.
      • $11 life-changing superman water bottle with spray mist feature.  I thought this was a total game changer and worth the ridiculous $11 I spent on it.  This is worth it I thought.  This will change their lives.  Day 1 J pulled the mist mechanism apart and B lost his.  Nice.  Of course I said tough luck.  Or…maybe…I bought another one.  Sucker.  Fine.  Not worth it.  Not even close.
      • Extra Shoprite bag for previous-mentioned puke-catch.  Like that would even happen so cleanly.
  2. No Field Trip?
    • Is there a theme?  Wacky hat?  (Man, I hate that one.) A certain color? Tie dye shirt?  What is it?
    • Find clean bathing suits that fit and towels.  Usually in the dryer from day before or hanging over a shower curtain.  NOTE: The boys have 45,000 bathingsuits. Hand-me downs, etc…On some, there’s not enough elastic left to keep them on their waist, but I still keep them because they are batman or something and I might make someone’s dreams come true one day by surprising them with it? Some have ties and no elastic, which makes getting themselves in/out of bathing suits so complicated and tedious especially when 1.5 of them can’t really tie.* I have visions of their swim shorts falling down in the pool and they will be traumatized forever.  All my fault. Picking bathing suits is a task in itself, which is why I keep cycling between the same two over and over and leave the other 1000 in their drawers taking up space.  See above.
    • Pack bathing suit and crocs for B.  WHY DO I HATE REMEMBERING CROCS MORE THAN ANYTHING? Like what would happen if he didn’t have them?  Would he actually wear sneakers to the pool?  Could we survive that?  Would I ever hear the end of it?
    • Pack clothes and socks/shoes for J since he wears his bathing suit and crocs to camp.  WHY DO I HATE REMEMBERING SNEAKERS AND SOCKS MORE THAN ANYTHING? Like what would happen if he didn’t have them?  Couldn’t he wear his crocs all day?  Could we survive that?  Would I ever hear the end of it?
    • Towels!


*Note on tying shoes: I promised/demanded? that B could get lace-up high tops only when he practiced and learned to tie his shoes himself.  I totally stuck by this.  100%. Firm to the end.  Let me explain.  We were at the mall (after seeing Finding Dory with a fire drill in the middle of it.  Another post, another day).  We wandered into Foot Locker.  Why, intelligent mother would you do such a thing if he hasn’t turned shoe-lace tying pro yet?  Oh, I dunno.  I over-estimated my children’s ability to just browse and scan their merchandise dreams all while understanding the concept that we are not buying, just looking for when you learn to tie your shoes.  BRILLIANT parenting.  Ace.  B quickly finds the first set of Steph Curry high tops.  It begins.”MOMMMMMMYYYYY!!! I want these so badly! I love them!”  The salesperson tells us these are adult size Steph Curry’s but we could go to the Kids Foot Locker and see a TON of kids ones.


“B, we are just looking.  Not getting.”  We head to another store.  I know.  It all goes blank at that point.  I’m not sure what happened to my decision making ability, if I had any.  At the next Footlocker, he finds the kids’ Steph Curry high tops. I allow him to TRY them.  I know!!!

“B, remember what we said. When you learn to tie your shoes…”

“I KNOW how!  I do!  He’s already slowly looping one lace at a snails pace with total concentration.”

“B, these are so much harder to do and un-do at camp when you go swimming…”

“I don’t care at all.  I can do it.  It’s fine, Mommy, it’s fine.”


First sign of tears.  It doesn’t turn me.  We have a very helpful salesperson during this time telling me how he would never let his kid get Air Jordan’s but these are actually “really good shoes.”

Me: “Seriously?  Because I refuse to get him sneakers just because they’re Steph Curry.  He needs good sneakers.”

Salesguy: “These are really solid.  Under Armour.  He makes good shoes.”

This conversation literally continues for 30 minutes.  B is running all over the store.  He would’ve walked on the ceiling to prove that they could do anything for him.  I pull the Daddy card:

“I have to call Daddy and see what he thinks.” No answer…oh well….But we get a quick call back. I explain the situation.  My refusal, my insistence he masters the shoe-tie before I consider it.  Then I continue with the 30 minutes I’ve been talking to the guy and the pure joy on his son’s face while wearing his basketball hero’s high-tops and I need guidance.  Daddy quickly concedes.  What???  I don’t want to let my guard down that easy with B.


“B! You better tie these yourself! You better take good care of them!  You are not wearing them everyday! You can’t wear them on swamp dirty field trips.  And the only reason I’m even getting these is because they are actually really good shoes but not because they are Steph Curry and because you are dying for them.  Got it?”

Smile ear to ear.  I suck.  He wore them out of the store.  I’m just being honest here.  I swear he’s feeding the homeless next week.


Finally, I had to share a life-changing summer camp moment I had the other day when I ran into a neighbor in our building.  We were both shuttling our kids out of the building to get to different camps.  We were dragging them and all their gallons of stuff.  I was complaining about all the gear.

Then she mentions, “My kids swim twice a day.”

My heart stops beating.  “You mean you need to pack TWOOOOOO bathing suits?!?!”

Neighbor: “Yes”

Me, devastated for her: “OMG I cannot even imagine that.  That’s awful.  I can’t even comprehend that.  I’m so sorry.”