day camp flowers and alligators

Originally uploaded by Liz .

Moomin: The flowers are all closed, so that they’re camouflaged. (closes magnetic blocks)
Vari: Now the alligator is coming and he eats flowers.
Moomin: Close up, flowers!
Vari: Close your petals, all you flowers!
Moomin: Whew. They’re safe.
Vari: Now the alligator’s gone.
Moomin: The flowers can all open their petals now! It’s spring!
Vari: Yay!!!!

I was a little nervous to put Moomin in the CDC day camp. Ideally he’d play with other kids and do some “activities” rather than spending 8 hours a day playing Legos by himself with me saying “Mommy is working on her thesis… can you get your own juice box?” That would be too sad.

“Camp” was a very chaotic laissez-faire atmosphere. I was worried that Moomin might not connect with other kids and be a bit lost in the shuffle.

Actually I think the unstructured atmosphere was great for him. He played just the sorts of games he likes, sitting on the floor and talking, making stuff up. I think that other kids who are like that might have seen his fun creative story-making side.

There were definitely moments of heartbreak as he watched the kid he wants to be friends with – running around playing brutal no-rules full-contact soccer on a hillside in the rain… which if you know Moomin, you can picture his place in that scene: cautiously watching from far, far away, like a wistful elf. His idol’s other activity is to play fierce video games of Lego Racetrack with blinding speed and accuracy. (Moomin is too shy to sign up for computer time, and I think it’s fine; he’s going to spend a good bit of his life and nerve cells playing some MMORPG, no doubt, so no need to rush into that world.)

So I’ve been happy to pick him up every day and find him playing with action figures or magnetic blocks or legos, always with just one other kid. He does come home, I think, a bit needy of individual attention! But it’s not a bad experience for him.

Though he did learn a lesson today about why it’s not a great idea to bring your treasured star wars dino-lego to school: someone else took it home. I hate to say it but… David P. is in BIG TROUBLE. Ahahaah! Moomin had an epiphany about why his dad didn’t want him to bring it to school: “Oh. So it’s not just that it might break… it’s that some other kid might STEAL MY STUFF.” (outrage!) I told him this story:

Once when I was 6 my mom liked to have coffee with this lady who was our neighbor. And her kid was only 5 and I had to play with him. He was okay but kind of annoying. And I had to play with him and be nice to him, or else I was in trouble! (A knowing nod from Moomin, and a sigh). So, one day I knew, I just knew, that he had stolen my helicopter. I was super mad. But no one believed me and also my mom said, even if he did take it, it’s just a dumb toy and I should let him have it because maybe he doesn’t have any toys and couldn’t I just share? “And then what happened?!” (Moomin on the edge of his seat…) Well, and then weeks later we were at the neighbor lady’s house and I had to play with that boy again. Even though I was still mad at him, I had to be polite. And he had a toy box. And I found my helicopter in there. So I put it in my mom’s purse. And later I talked to her about it. I didn’t yell at the kid. But I was glad to have my helicopter back. “How come you didn’t yell at the kid?” “I don’t know. I didn’t want to fight with him, I guess.”

I still haven’t forgiven the poor dude . Isn’t that funny? It’s terribly unfair considering the amount of things I stole from other people in my childhood! (I didn’t tell that part to my impressionable innocent child.)


The daycare is on-site at Moomin’s public school, partly state-sponsored. For 40 bucks a day you can drop your kid off and pick them up anytime between 6:30 am and 6:30pm. (I did 9-ish to 3-ish.) So I just paid 400 bucks plus a registration fee, so that I could work uninterrupted for 7-8 hours a day. I’m *so* relieved it was okay for Moomin.

I’m glad I remember things like that helicopter and how I felt. It helps me connect with Moomin. I have to remind myself that the things he thinks are important are VERY different from what I think is important. My experience of our life… is not going to be what he remembers. A routine minor thing for me might be a sort of touchstone for him. It’s good to keep that in mind!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to day camp flowers and alligators