Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Crabby Camp Mommy...

Warning: Children mentioned, also crabby husband...

I have to run off today and shop and do various things. In the freezing bloody cold. I am feeling crabby about this because my darling husband set the tone for me at severe crab-o-meter starting last night, and darned if I know why. He came home last night to a lovely hot dinner, salad, dessert, happy children, (reasonably) tidy house. We were talking about our day, and March Break, and tomorrow's hockey championship and the after party. I had had a good day, with a government and media person I spoke too...all was well. He asked something about the kid's camps, and I told him I had it all arranged, I was just waiting for one person to get back to me about something.

And at that point he lowered his head on the table and muttered something about "why I left it up to you." (meaning me?) I ignored him, but from that point on, he continued to act particularly grumpy, finally leaving during dessert and going up to his office.

You see, he seems to have a strange preoccupation with the children's schooling, camp, music lessons and playdates these days, you know, MY DEPARTMENT. Gah...we had no money at all the last few years and so instead of the usual fantastic exclusive waiting list only sports camps, I threw in a few weeks of city camps and weeks with mom hanging around the house. We saw movies, went to the Science Centre, rented a Playstation, went to the park. Not bad I thought.

Problem, is that this erased all the years of *wow I can't believe you got them in to that sailing/computer/tennis/hockey camp* moments we had before. He's forgotten everything. Plus, he seriously believes that the only camps worth going to are sleepaway camps. Which I am completely opposed to.

This is where our relationship hits a few rocky areas. I grew up poor. (Yes another adoptee given to a poor family, even though my birth mother was lied to & told I was going to a middle class family who could give her more, but I digress...). He grew up wealthy, although his family lost their business later. He had a private schools and sleepaway camp and a second summer home and housekeepers. I had Catholic schools, (yes private Catholic high school, but at a steep discount for my family), and for summer we hung out around the neighbourhood. No music lessons, no camps, vacations were car trips to my relatives. We went to Disney once in my life, in a motorhome.

And reality is that most people in North America did not have a summer home or go to sleepaway camp for weeks on end. Even today, that is not the norm. I myself did not know anyone who went away to camp, ever. I knew people who went camping as a family, or went to daycamp, or did a weekend sleepover party at a friends house, but sleeping away from your family? For weeks? Bizarre...

So my compromise is that I will look into my oldest kid going to sleepaway camp for a few weeks this summer, but not the little one. And I have to check it out completely, top to bottom, plus I would like to be worth the money. They charge utterly outrageous prices, with a huge range, and not every one of them is well-run. I admit to being picky. Husband's take on this is that I am being unreasonable, and he doesn't see why we can't send both of them this summer, for 8 weeks of canoe-tripping in the far north. Nevermind how completely unsuitable this is developmentally, at $800/week, we don't have $13,000 to blow on that. In fact, only millionaires do. My idea is maybe we can mix in some fun sport camps at $300/week and do some vacation time, you know....WITH our children, the ones we worked so hard to have?

I know, you all think IVF costs a lot...have you checked out daycare & camp lately? Trust me, it only gets more expensive....

Basically I have no idea why he is sticking his nose in this, but he is, and it is driving me slightly batty. So I'm going to grocery shop now, and hope he resets his mood tonight. I may email him with the details of the kids March Break plans....I never had to justify any of this before...grrrr....


  1. Why do you suppose it is that he wants to send the boys away? And it's curious that he wants to control these things when you've done a wonderful job of it all. Hmmm....

    My parents were very frugal, so my brothers and I also spent our holidays as children hanging around the house. We did just fine and are well-educated, intelligent, suitably-employed, socially/emotionally adjusted people. Sure, day camps or away camps would have been fun when we were kids, but would it have changed us as adults? I'm sceptical.

  2. I don't know why he wants to send the kids away...to him and a few other "sleepaway" kids (not all) they make it sound like Fantasy Island. I find it incomprehensible.

    Day camp started out as a kind of daycare when I was still working and they started school, and we had to cover school holidays. It's continued, but to me the function is having fun, not getting rid of them.

  3. OK, get ready for it, I am about to minorly disagree with you. But I only mean very slightly. I would like to venture a guess that since this is something he has actually experienced as a kid, he has the typical want of passing it on since it was likely a good thing for him. And, since you are clearly in opposition to his opinion, he is going to assert himself on this one. Whether that is OK for him to do or not, I cannot say. I just think I understand why it is he is doing what he is doing.

    As you know, I grew up in a very working class family. So mostly, my day camps were just a fancy name for subsidized day care. However, I really do cherish the few times my mom was able to send me to a sleepaway camp for a week or two. Granted, I was in 6th grade at the earliest time, but boy did I have a good time. And, it gave me a chance to appreciate being back home again.

    Perhaps 8 weeks is a bit long, but maybe a week would be better compromise.

    Just my thoughts, and if you find them offensive, just tell me to fuck off, I can take it.

  4. I come from the same sort of background that you do, Aurelia. (And I'm so jealous that you actually got to go to Disneyland! Hubby had to take me there for the first time on my 30th birthday.) So I have the same view of sleep-away camp. My husband was a bit more privileged and went to a sleep-away camp every year once he turned 10. So he thinks it's totally normal and expected. I am NOT looking forward to our discussions about that when Max gets older.

    Ugh. I have absolutely no advice for you (what good am I, then?). Grit your teeth and bear the interference? Then just do what you think is best? Hmm. Probably not the best assvice. Please ignore me.

  5. I have no advice to give you on this one. I was always too scared to go to sleepaway camp. I went once for a weekend, got sick on the food and begged someone to let me call my parents, which they didn't. So I don't have great memories of that. We did go on nice vacations, though.

    Have you had a real discussion with hubby about why he seems to be disappointed with the plans for the kids and why he wants them to go away for so long? And, for that matter, explained to him why you don't?

    I can't say what I'll do when Bubba gets older, but I think that no matter how annoying he is, I would recoil at sending him away for 8 weeks. Do you think it's about giving the kids a good experience or about him needing a break from fatherhood? If it's the latter, maybe he could take a trip with some guy friends or by himself. Just a thought.

    Husbands. I really think they're more trouble than they're worth. Will you be serving fish again tonight?

  6. (((Aurelia))) I hope things get better. I hate fighting with my hubby. It just makes everything crappy. As for camps, I never went either except for a few times with church or something. I say maybe you can reach a compromise.

  7. Hmm, headscratcher. I can't imagine sending my kid off to camp (and it's a while before we have to consider it), but I know it's kind of the "done" thing. But I didn't go away, and neither did my husband. That feeling of doing something with your kids that you tried so hard to have - I get that totally.

    I like the fish for dinner suggestion :)

  8. Aren't there any nice ONE week sleepaway camps in your area?? I can't imagine sending my boys to camp for anything more than a week! My oldest (12 years old) has gone away to camp for the past 2 summers for a one week sleepaway camp. He has had a wonderful time, and I do think it was a great experience for him. However, even he would say that one week was plenty!

    That said though, I don't think sleepaway camp is the be all and end all of childhood. Certainly there are plenty of other great opportunities and experiences in the world, and being with your family should be highest on the list!

    I have to agree with Nicole. It sounds like this is something hubby looks back on fondly (although probably with selective memory!) and wants to pass that experience on.

    Look for a shorter camp and see if he will compromise!

  9. Nicole has a point, it's something your hubby experienced that he also wants them to experience it. There must be a middle ground or a way to compromise. And yes, I think doing something together as a family should be on top of the list.

    Have you seen Little Miss Sunshine? I love it. Now that's a family. :-)

    You could check out Mr. Kite's blog. He's quite new to blogging. He's a lawyer, and politics is in their blood.

  10. My first experience at a sleepaway camp was when I was six years old. I cried, wet the cot, and almost learned how to swim that summer. It wasn't until I was in 6th grade that I was sent to another overnight camp. I had the time of my life!

    My husband and I have had issues over who has the final say in matters over our children. There are just times when we don't agree and it's almost like you want to do the whole "rock, paper, scissors" thing to decide. I think my husband just wants to make sure that I don't feel like all of the child rearing is left to me because I have the ovaries. My husband did go to camp regularly and did all those traditional summer things while I sat in front of the tv for three months.