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And we’re off to camp. Wait… no we’re not.

“Here comes the bus!” I exclaimed, punch drunk on contrived giddiness. “This is so exciting!”

It was my five year-old’s first day of camp, and although it wasn’t raining like the forecast suggested, the air was cloudy with some heavy skepticism. The silver lining was more like a dull grey paranoia. Odds were an even 50/50 on whether he would actually board that bus.  My money said no.

All along I knew it was crapshoot. The boy who still has a hard time letting me go out for dinner, might have a wee little problem getting on a bus and heading off to the unknown. And it was possible, that regularly playing hooky from nursery was now going to bite me in the arse.

For weeks, I had been talking camp up, saying how he was going to swim and play with his friends. There would be baseball and pony rides. Games and all that crap. My enthusiasm was matched only by his apathy.

Me – “Camp is going to be so fun!”

Him – “I don’t like camp.”

Since he had not yet started camp and had not been to any camp since last summer, I conveniently waved it away with more nauseating gaiety, which he consistently responded with some variation of “Camp is stupid.”

Best not to think about that now.

The happy mini yellow bus, pulled right up before us and opened its squeaky doors. Without even a look back, my child  boarded. What?  Wow.  And I was all worried.

He’s actually going!

I enjoyed that moment for maybe 10 seconds, before my child, his face a scrunch of turmoil and tears, ran from the bus like his seat belt was snakes. Quicker than I could catch him, he hid behind the bushes on my lawn.

Yup. Not going.

“Baby?” I called tentatively. “Come on.”

But my baby just backed further away, eyes cartoon wild.

With a deep sigh, I waved the bus off.

The bus driver nodded but said, “Okay, but tomorrow, you put him on the bus crying or not. He’ll be fine.”  Uh, presumptuous much?

Then the happy school bus, which for me, is always mixed with a bit of horror – maybe all those movies of singing children being led off to doom – continued to its next stop.

I found my sniveling child, snot connecting him to the bushes like spider webs.

“It’s okay, baby. The bus is gone. Do you want me to drive you?”

He shook his head no. He did not want to go to camp. Ever. That of course, was not going to happen.

I led him inside, trying to comfort him while also trying not to get tangled in the snot.

Getting him off on the right foot was important. Getting him to be more independent was important. Getting him to the camp which we’d already paid for was definitely important.

We had a lot of stuff to accomplish here.That Kindergarten bus was right around the corner.

bye bye bus

The wheels on the bus go… right past my house.

Hey! It’s my 1 year blogger-versary! One year, people!! I raise my cone to you in thanks. You guys are the best.

About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

67 responses »

  1. Oh, camp was already paid for? Then he’s getting on that bus, tears and snot be damned.

    Happy blog anniversary! Seems like just yesterday you and I were spending two hours a day just getting you added to the grid. Now you’re an old pro.

    • thank you! i can’t believe it’s been a year. i miss those frustrating times highlighting my inadequacies. although, far from a pro… that elevator pitch was hard! and i wasn’t prepared for a list… damn. maybe i’ll make it happen when i finally get my kids to camp. next week…

  2. I loved every minute of this. Some golden lines: “My enthusiasm was matched only by his apathy.” Yup. “My child…ran from thee bus like his seatbelt was snakes.”

    Paid for? Sigh. Those camp people are conspiring to take your money. Why must they ask us to prepay? Oh, yeah. In case our kiddos won’t get on the bus. Mine’s like that, too. I mean…how DARE we attempt to go out for dinner without them?

    Can’t wait to read another. 🙂 Thanks for visiting my blog, and happy blogiversary!

  3. Sending you my truckload of good luck wishes on the camp and happy blogiversary!!! ❤

  4. Did you tell him there are usually goodies at camp like ice pops? Happy anniversary. I look forward to more entertaining reading



    Sent from my iPhone

  6. If I knew you better or didn’t know you at all I’d tell you that you’re going to have a social retard on your hands if you’re not careful. If my wife did the same thing, I’d tell her she’s turning my boy into a pussy. Can I say this stuff on your blog??? Lol. No, I understand – its hard to send them off when they’re petrified of something like that.

  7. I’m terrified of the first day of school. My 2 y/o is attached to my hip. On the one hand, I love it. On the other, I know we need to work on it. Kindergarten is going to kill me!

    Good luck with camp. And happy blogaversary!

  8. As hideous as it is, perhaps you should not be the one to put him on the bus. I was given a lift by friends so my family avoided my tears which would have been wasted on my friends anyway. No-one ever warns you about mommy guilt.

    • i know that can possibly work. he has a really hard time leaving me particularly. i wound up pushing camp off till next monday… when his older brother is going with him. fingers crossed!

      • That should help. The first day I took my son to school, I made it to the parking lot, turned around and brought him home. The same son is now 11 and does rock climbing fabulously. Except I can’t watch him, because as soon as he knows I am there he freezes and freaks out. It is most annoying.

      • i hear you. my son sometimes does the same when i go watch him at baseball games.

  9. This is the best thing you’ve ever written. Perfect humor and language. I love it!!!!

  10. That is hilarious! Poor little guy! My 5 year old son is the exact opposite; he can’t wait to get out of my sight. Now I think he doesn’t love me as much as your son loves you! Also, Happy 1 year blog anniversary!!

  11. Happy Blogaversary.

    Five is really very little to have to be independent. I can feel his fear! All children are different and I know it’s really frustrating. Sounds like he needs you still.

  12. Happy blog anniversary!!!!!! I keep picturing Julius with his big brown eyes and snot!!!! :)::) he will do it!!!!

  13. Oh boy! Never done the whole summer camp thing but summer school and they were loving going!! I was the one crying and snotty nosed so I can’t sympathize with you here but I can say HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY!!!

  14. I remember my first day of kindergarten…we had the opposite problem…my mom couldn’t stop crying…( youngest of 8.) Congrats on the anniversary….have an extra scoop!

  15. Bless his snotty little gorgeous face! I hope he made it to camp today – for your sake! Happy, happy blogoversary!

  16. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, now hardened to it! Hope you manage to get him there next week.
    Happy Blogiversary and definitely extra icecream required 🙂

  17. Yay for blogaversaries! Hope he makes it onto the bus. I would so be the kind of mother dancing around my house and singing various incarnations of “CAMP IS FUN!!!”

    • yep.. while he danced singing, camp is stupid! it’s funny, some kids just are ready to go and love it and other’s need that push… i’m hoping next week’s a charm.

  18. My son hopped on the camp bus on Sunday for his 6th summer at overnight camp. As I read your piece, I loved the compassion you showed your son, who clearly wasn’t ready to go. But all I could think was “Holy hell! Camp is wicked expensive. Did they really not get him on that bus?”

    You’re a better mother than I am.


    Meanwhile, did you ever get him on the bus?

    (I wrote about my summer camp experience from the 70s this week. Come see. But don’t freak out. Camp isn’t like this anymore. Probably.)

  19. Happy blogiversary!! I so hope he makes it onto the bus. As you’ve told him a million times, ponies! Songs! Baseball! Get on the bus!! hahaha

  20. Great story here. I was with you the entire way! Happy BLOGIVERSARY!

  21. Great post! Happy 1st bloggin’ year. It’s the good-bye that’s the hard part, but I tell you, I couldn’t put my kid on a bus like that either. Likely he’d cry some, then go and have a grand ol’ time. Good luck!

  22. Happy anniversary!

    It is so hard to find that middle place between knowing when they need a break, and knowing when to give them that extra push. I hope next week goes better!

  23. Happy Blogiversary! I used to work at camp and I always remember the first day, some campers were super excited and some campers (and counselors) were super terrified. I hope your kid can make it there, it’s super rare in my experience for kids not to enjoy it once they’re in the middle of it!

  24. I could so relate to this post and the mix of emotions, being happy that I my kids will have fun and I will have a second to myself, and the dread that this may not go well. I still can remember leaving my eldest at preschool hysterically crying, then her would calm down, look at me and say, “Can you just dry my tears before you leave me?” Insert knife and twist!! Lol xo

    • oh man! but at least she said that. i spent preschool with my eldest stalking and crying. we both had such a hard time. (that was before i learned the days off trick)

  25. Happy anniversary. And I so could relate to the leaving the child at camp. I left my 12 year old crying (she had dried tears by time we left) in TN for two weeks. I shed a few tears riding back to Georgia. Well, picked her up last Friday — and she tackled me in the camp dining room. I could not shut that girl up on the 5 hour drive some. Other than when she was sleeping. She had an awesome time. It’s tough to leave ’em but it’s the best thing sometimes.

  26. Ha! Snot-webs! Great story!

  27. I hope he gets on the bus – he’ll have fun once he gets there! Happy Blogiversary!

  28. Happy Anniversary! Your writing brought tears to my eyes! I love how you balance the sweetness and heartache with humor. I loved the following lines:
    “The silver lining was more like a dull grey paranoia”
    “…his face a scrunch of turmoil and tears…”

    This is brilliant.

  29. nataliedeyoung

    One: Happy blogaversary! Two: such a well-written post. Gently pushing kids out of the nest is tough, but you wrote about with grace and a touch of humor. Nicely done.

  30. Poor lil guy… That separation stuff breaks my heart. :-/ Happy blogiversary!

  31. Pingback: Well, it’s been a nice summer. | Icescreammama

  32. Happy One Year! Your little guy will get there. Hope he made it!

  33. Pingback: Go ahead. Tell me why I should put my screaming child on the bus to camp. | Icescreammama

  34. Pingback: This the best sucky summer ever! | Icescreammama

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