The other day I wrote about being homesick and back-homesick. Yes, I coined the last one, so I’ll expect royalties if you use it. Basically, it’s the feeling campers have when they return home and it feels weird to be normal.
As a parent, we want you to be back-homesick because it means you had a great summer and the fortune it cost us to send you to camp would NOT have been better spent on a family vacation or a fall wardrobe. That said, as parents it’s also pretty annoying that you’re not more excited to see us and be back home. Well, as someone who spent the summer at camp and has now experienced both sides of this phenomenon, I feel confident that a couple tweaks to your home will be the difference between mopey kid — and kid who barely notices they’ve left camp.
Look we all spent a lot of time and money, making camp more homey – we sent, great sheets, a soft rug, a cushy chair (which they don’t need) for bonfires, plush towels, their favorite pillows, stuff to decorate the walls, fans for comfort, pictures of us … But I’m gonna teach you the tough part — How to make home more Campy:
1. Start by taking all their electronics and tech items. If they want to text a friend they’ll have to write it in a letter. They’ll complain a little, but deep down they love to be disconnected.
2. Tell them they can only drink sodas from the vending machine. If you don’t have a vending machine. Act as one … take a dollar each time they want a soda, but only give them a soda 2 out of every 4 times they pay you … and 1 of those times give them the wrong soda … that’s about right.
3. Make them write letters to you about their day in order to eat dinner. They love that!
4. Don’t allow your daughters to wear any jewelry they couldn’t make themselves.
5. Make a fancy chore/job wheel and turn it each morning. Make sure everyone else slacks on their chores, so that your child feels like the only one REALLY doing his/her job — don’t forget to fail him/her during inspection.
6. To wake them up in the morning, do not gently nudge, tickle or kiss them. Blare Reveille in their ears and follow that by speaking into a bullhorn while announcing what’s on tap for their day.
7. When they’re sleeping, close off all the ac/heat to their rooms — open their windows and maybe drip some honey or juice on them to ensure the maximum amount of mosquito bites by morning. Trust me, they’ll thank you for it.
8. Serve all their meals buffet style and make sure there isn’t a single item on the buffet that they truly enjoy. If you do cook something they like, eat most of it before allowing them to the table and fight them over the last piece. This will feel normal.
9. Have your kids crochet you a potholder at least twice/week.
10. Allow them to snack on whatever crap they want … with the stipulation that it’s a month old and that they must keep the packages opened and stashed under their beds, behind their drawers etc. Campers know that Cheez-Its taste best when fished out from a mattress.
11. Cheer for them at random times for doing random things … like, if they’re in the bathroom, bust in with “push it out shove it out way out” nothing says “I love you” like an impromptu cheer… they’ll beg for more.
12. Make sure their bathrooms are flooded with a brownish cesspool of water at all times. (Put them on anti-biotics.)
13. Draw things on their face while they sleep — in sharpie.
14. Run all the water in your house on hot for large (but varying) increments of time before your child takes a bath or shower — they’re used to bathing without knowing how long they’ll have.
15. If your child still takes baths, make sure to throw in some dirt along with fish that nibble and snapping turtles, then tell him/her to try not to touch the bottom.
16. After you wash their clothes, make sure that at least 10% of the items are ruined, 10% are lost and 10% belong to someone else.
17. Also, do not, I repeat, do not fold any of their clothes! Roll them into balls while damp and throw them around their rooms haphazardly. That’s how they like it.
18. Do not let them listen to the real words to any songs!
19. If you have a boy and a girl, tell them they get in trouble if they go into the other one’s side of the house.
20. Call them to meals in a staggered fashion and claim it’s too crowded for the whole family to eat together.
21. Any gifts or new items should be mailed in the form of a care package. Tell them it’s coming weeks before it actually arrives and when it does — inspect it and remove half the stuff, claiming it’s contraband.
22. Never wash their water bottles, just let them fester in the hot sun and refill them every morning. (Put them on anti-biotics.)
23. Steal a pair of their underwear while they’re sleeping, nail it to your front door and make all their friends stare at it.
24. Never let them leave a table without fighting over who has to bus it. Even in restaurants — tell the waiters/busboys to “back off,” whichever child loses has “got this.”
25. Wake them in the middle of the night by hovering over them and screaming “We’ve got spirit yes we do…” when they groggily respond, goad them by announcing “We’ve got the most!” and then run out of the room.
PS — You should probably put your kids on anti-biotics.
~ Jenny From the
Bunk at Camp Lenox Blog
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I’m Back I’m Back, But I Forgot How to Be Normal
Day 32 Things I Invented in Camp Out of Necessity
Day 31 Along Came A Spider…
Day 25 I Did Not Think This Through