So this week, I unwittingly engaged in a parenting experiment. I sent one kid to the prep school day camp and the other kid to a different camp.
At the prep school camp, my son learned how to decipher, translate, and communicate via morse code, as well as how to program Raspberry Pi (a credit card-sized computer). On Friday, the teacher raved about my kid, calling him a “thoughtful and very bright young man.” Teach even offered to mail him a few books on programming. I think I just giggled and said,
“Programming? But I don’t really allow him to watch television.”
He also said my kid earned extra points for his Ziggy Stardust t-shirt. In my heart of hearts I knew that I actually deserved those points since I had paid for the shirt…but I let it slide.
The second son has been attending the sort of camp where the daily activities consist of rock fighting, proper swear-word pronunciation and discarded beer bottle cap collecting. If anyone finds an IPA or import cap they get like, 1000 points.
The counselors at my second son’s camp seemed nice enough, though they mostly yelled from a distance. From the cut of their jib, I decided that they are either on parole or are fulfilling some community service requirement.
My second son learned about chewing tobacco this past week. (Oh, don’t worry. I told him the proper term is “Chaw.”)
Playing the role of “Mother” in this scene, I asked:
“Did you learn that chewing tobacco is unattractive, addictive, and ultimately deadly?”
Son: “You mean from the guy who showed it to me in his mouth? Uh, yeah. Sorta. It looked like poop. His mom won’t give him money for it anymore.”
Mother: “Wise woman. Wait, anymore?”
First son’s Prep school camp has large stone buildings that echo you when you speak. Any discarded beer caps are collected by smiling, well-built men in tight t-shirts who spray garden hoses great distances for hours on end. Everyone on campus speaks with what I imagine to be the Queen’s English, while the teacher consistently gives high-fives (as a reminder that we are in America).
At second son’s camp, I witnessed a camp counselor shouting at a freckled boy:
“I said, sit there until I tell ya to do something else!”
The scene was old school in a way that made me appreciate my overcoming PTSSTMD (Post Traumatic Stress from Sister Thomas Mary Disorder).
This is a rampant case of favoritism! – you shout somewhere. Oh, shutty. The boys swap camps next week.
As for the experiment, I can only know in the future what the results will be. Ah, the petri dish of parenthood! (Even I am not sure what I mean by that.)
In any case, it’s all character building.
This is what this mother tells herself.