Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CAMP!

I call this summer the summer we tried every kind of camp under the sun. It's not really that way, but it is the first summer where E wanted to "go to camp". Being a little wary of sending her off to an overnight one, we settled on three day camps at different locations but all with a nature or animal theme to it, as that is where a lot of her curiosity lies.

The first was at our local children's museum camp, which although enjoyed, "did not really have nature in it mom - because a playground is not nature, right??" I don't usually expect a word by word play of her day since I am not sure she processes it all and files it away until a few days later. However, she attended this camp with her sister, H. E always said she had an okay time, and H was usually sobbing by the time we got from the Exit to the car. I managed to put together that there was a bully there that may not have had his behavior corrected and seemed to have picked on H quite a bit.

Three weeks later, I was rather nervous for the start of the next camp - a bird themed week held at our Audubon Society. I only sent E as the ages allowed did not include 5 year olds. H was extremely unhappy about it, and E actually rubbed it in her face a little - a behavior I have not seen from her before. It made for a week of rather challenging behavior at home, but the good news was that E loved the camp and was made one of the "leader helpers" because she has an amazing knowledge of birds. (She has read the Field Guide to Birds for our area front to back, and very possibly memorized it).
E on one of the trails near the Audubon Society. She had to borrow my jacket since it was a little chilly under all that forest. 

This was part of the creek in the Balch Watershed. E recited many facts to me about how many animals are sheltered by the Watershed and then instructed me to take a picture.  :) 
This week, both girls are in camps at the zoo. E has liked it so far "but not as much as Bird camp". Her group was able to go behind the scenes and see feeding of lions and other animals that regular visitors would not get to do.  I receive a fairly detailed report of her day, and not just a monotone repeat of a speech given my a camp counselor.  H's group seems to have stayed on the regular path and is learning more about the smaller animals. There is again some jealousy on her part as she keeps saying she wants to be in E's group.

It has been an interesting dynamic to see for a change - usually there is not jealousy but lots of fretting on E's part about not being able to quite to do yet what H can already do, and definitely what her peers can do. Re-focusing her on what she can do has never seemed to work much. She is very good at reading, she is a strong swimmer, and so far is doing okay in gymnastics. But she is engrossed in needing to meet perfection or at least the level at which other kids meet. The phrase "I need to be perfect at..." comes frequently and while I want to encourage her to accomplish things, I also want to balance her dedication to a slightly less intense level. Of course, that is what I want. Any of my attempts to try to taper that fierce, filled with anxiety perfectionistic attitude falls flat. E just seems too charge ahead in spite of it, and I am beginning to reconcile myself to the idea that I must let her be that way or I might be holding her back. And that is something I never ever want to do.

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