Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mummy Guilt

This morning didn’t start well.

“I don’t want to go to Jay-Jay camp, mummy.” said son #1 (Cheeky)
“But you love Jay-Jay,” I said. “I bet you’re going to make some cool airplanes.” “But I just want to stay here with you!” he pleaded, eyes starting to fill up.

Oh gawd. I didn’t chose my words wisely when I replied that he was going to have to go to Jay Jay camp because mummy had paid for it already and that it was surely going to be much more fun than hanging out with me at home.

You see, the thing is, he is obsessed with two things in his little 3 and ¾ yrs life: planes and trains. And Jay Jay The Jet Plane is one of his favourite shows on TV. (Not that he watches much TV mind. Well, not that much. Ok then, he’s bloody obsessed with TV and it’s all I can do to drag him away and get him out of the house!)

Back at the beginning of June, with the 12 week summer holiday looming, I did as all my US Mom friends seem to do and booked my square-eyed boy in for numerous camps. When in Rome after all...

So Cheeky has done ‘Stretch n Grow’ Camp and came out telling us where his biceps, triceps and abba-dabba-dominals were. He did ‘Pre-School Camp’ and made a fishing rod, a drum and a rather malnourished looking T-Rex. He went to 'Tumble Camp' and thankfully didn’t break his neck or arms learning to somersault and cartwheel.‘Buzz Camp?’ Yep – he was there! Though I’m not so sure how successful this one was, because when I picked him up, all the kids were sat watching Toy Story. And then there was ‘Zoo Train Camp’ which we did as a family - minus Him Downstairs. Someone has to go out to work to pay for all these camps after all.

In Zoo Train – a musical themed camp, me and the boys sang our way through the American version of Ally-Ally O (theirs is about a train, not a ship, which totally threw me.) We banged glockenspiels together and jingled bells bonding over our love for a good tune.

Actually, I have to pause here and be honest with you about Zoo Train. It was a bit of a disaster doing a class with both boys. Littlest boy (Monkey, aged 2 ¼) clung to my hip like a Monkey through every class. All this dancing and parading round the room with drums, maracas etc was near damn impossible as Monkey wouldn’t let go of me or his bells which he kept bashing me round the head with, whilst in my other hand I held a clacker I was trying to play and Cheeky, who decided if his brother was going to get a ride around the room, he sure as hell was too.

As usual I was the only Brit in the room (totally obvious because I kept singing about the Good Ship Ally Ally O and not a bloody train, I mean, since when has it been a train?) and all the other Moms were skipping along with their little ones totally in time and in tune with Mrs Andrew Lloyd Webber who was swinging her hips and rousing her class like we were in some terrible am-dram version of Cats.

There I was dragging my two dead weights around the room, dropping instruments and growling under my breath at them that we were here to enjoy ourselves, meet new friends and not stick like glue to mummy’s legs!

The Moms were glaring at me right from their perfectly manicured nails down to their perfectly pedicured toes. (Damn, I’d put shorts on and forgotten to shave my legs again!)

Anyway, back to this morning.

After Zoo Train, I decided to change tactic and be all upbeat and positive about this last camp before school starts next week. But this morning we were running late (as always) and I kind of forgot to put on the nicety-nice line. Forgive me; I didn’t have time for my usual caffeine induced kick start to the morning.

So I ran round the house throwing toast in their mouths and flinging arms into T-shirts.

“But I don’t want to go…” wailed Cheeky.

“It’ll be fun. Come on. You’re going!” I barked (I know, I know). I strapped them into the car, with barely a chance to swallow their breakfast.

Cheeky is complaining about this camp all the way there, into the room and at the little table they’ve set out for the kids to do their make-an-airplane-craft.

Meanwhile, other son, Monkey, is chirping, “Jay Jay. Me Jay-Jay!” Then, crying, “ME JAY JAY!” as I drag him away from the camp. (Thankfully one of the camp leaders has engaged Monkey in the craft-making with cotton wool balls and he finally seems to be enjoying himself so I can leave.)

“You want to do Jay Jay camp?” I say to Monkey as we get back indoors.

“Yes, me Jay-Jay.”

“Right then. Jay Jay camp home-style for you then,” I reply. And I switch on the TV…

How many bad mummy points did I just accumulate?


  1. None, sounds like perfectly normal parenting to me! Gosh, you've kept him busy over the summer haven't you? He'll be glad to get to school!

  2. The camp thing seems so alien to me! We do have summer schools here, but I am too tight to pay for them..!
    BTW, you can do no wrong in my eyes mom/mum...

  3. Are you kidding me? No bad points in my book. Just gone up several points in fact. You are normal too, yay!

  4. Ladies I love ya. I can breathe a sigh of relief and crack open a bottle to wash away that mummy guilt!
    wm - busy was necessary for me. Me and firstborn would drive each other nuts if we had to spend 24/7 together over the loooong summer break!

  5. Busy is good! I'm very grateful for summer camp. I try to schedule the kids so that they don't go all summer but so that at some point they are both at camp at the same time so I get some 'mommy time'. I don't know how my mother did it with all three of us home all summer!

    There's an American version of Good Ship Ally Ally O? And it's a train, not a ship? Then how do we all sink to the bottom of the sea (the bottom of the sea)? Never heard an American version of it!

  6. Loved your description of the appalling sounding Zoo Train. We got constructively dismissed from our local music class (I've called it Rabbit Rhymes in my blog, see I've had it with classes/camps - usually a total waste of money. Much better to let them run around, or sit and watch TV (yes, mine do a lot of that too....).

  7. Hey! Just wanted to show how much I've been enjoying your blog (and your great comments too!) with an award . . . Come and get it when you can fit me in to your busy social diary!

  8. God, I'm knackered just reading his schedule !

  9. 12 week summer holiday?? I'd emigrate if I were you. It's 6 weeks over here and I was tearing the proverbial hair out by week two. It hasn't helped that for the second summer running it has rained non stop. MH

  10. I like it when my wife doesn’t shave her legs. It means I don’t unwittingly cut my face to ribbons when I use the same blunted and clogged razor!

    Mom/Mum..., *in a hushed tone* What’s a nicety nice line???

    I can’t stop chuckling at the picture you paint with this…

    “There I was dragging my two dead weights around the room, dropping instruments and growling under my breath at them that we were here to enjoy ourselves, meet new friends and not stick like glue to mummy’s legs!”

    12 weeks. I could cry for you

  11. AA - yes, we needed to be busy, but a lot of these camps were one or two days here, one or two days there. So they still had plenty of time to whind mummy up!
    I assumed this train version of Ally Ally O was a US version as all the other Moms seemed to know the wrods, but maybe it was just specific to this camp. there was probs some paperwork somewhere I was supposed to read before camp started! Oops.

    CTTF - Bless ya treacle. (I only did the cheap camps btw. You know me, pockets firmly sewn up!)

    VG - you're right. It was appalling.Extremely. LOL at your music class blog. Why do we bother eh trying to do these FUN activities? Silly us!

    tara - Have found a mo in between my Juggling Camp, Love Thy Children Even On A Friday Afternoon Camp and my How Not To Trip Over Bl**dy Toys Camp, to say Bless you and THANK YOU ma'am. Is there a camp for that????

    AG - knackered is good. It's my parenting objective. Wear them out and then they'll leave me alone for nine hours straight!

    MH - Am booking my ticket home now!

    DF - Thanks for visiting my ramblings kid Sir. Nicety-nice line? Oh the sing-song-high pitched-overly-pleasant-controlled parent voice my pediatrician thinks I should be using all the time with my kids! (Instead of the yelling mad fishwife one I prefer!)
    Yes. 12 weeks. Not 6 or even 8. TWELVE!!!!!! Thank the lordy it's over now.

  12. As busy as you've kept them all summer, I would say a little televised Jay-Jay sitting is totally allowed. It completely balances out and it makes you, of course, human...which is an added bonus. Manicured robot mommies are just not as good as their flesh and blood counterparts.