Making friends as a 36-year-old with an 11-month-old baby isn’t quite the same as making friends as a 26-year-old single guy. One new dad shares his hard-won tips.
My children are growing up! My boys actually went away to sleepover camp for just under 2-weeks earlier this summer and that marked the first time my middle son was away from us for longer than one day. My oldest son had been away for a weekend at camp but never anything this long. I think we worried more than they did, to be honest.
We got them ready for camp at the end of last summer but talking about it a lot, and spending considerable amounts of time speak with different camps and upon deciding on Camp Arowhon we then spent 304 more months getting them ready and buying the stuff they needed for their stay.
We chose Camp Arowhon because of the owner, Joanna Kates’ views on bullying. She has a zero-tolerance policy and she also carefully chooses councillors and who attends the camp. It almost felt like we had to get the go ahead nod before we wrote that cheque and there were times when I was not sure we were going to be allowed to send our kids there.
In the end it was all worth while as the kids loved it there. They rode horses, sailed, learned to canoe, paddle their own kayak and most importantly they grew up.
Another wonderful feature about Arowhon is the 100% ban on electronics. If it’s found, it’s taken away for good. Not just for the campers but also for the councillors too. Kids are there for fun, sun and learning, not for video games, texting and other electronic things. The camp also does not have a parents day, there are no pictures on the website and if kids and parents wish to communicate it’s through hand-written letters. We actually received 7 letters from our kids and sent 3 of them That was a lot of fun too.
And the food… The food was great according to my kids. My middle son even went as far as to say that the soup was
better as good as the soup Mummy makes. Joanne, if you were not aware, is the food critic for The Globe and Mail newspaper – has been for 25-years – so if anyone knows anything about good food, it’s Joanne.
So with our boys away for 12 days, we were left with our daughter – her first time as an only child – we were experiencing new and different things, so here are 13 things that happened / we did / while our sons were having the time of their lives at camp.
So sit back, grab the bug spray, leave the iPod at home, slap on the sun-screen and get read for the list!
- For the first time in her little life, our daughter had us all to her self, and she did not leave us alone for a second. It was amazing getting to spend so much time with her, not having to share that attention with her brothers and not having to compete with them for our time. Plus she’s still at that age where by 7pm she’s exhausted and ready for bed! .
We hopped in the car and made a run for the border – crossing at Niagara Falls (no line up whatsoever) and even after being questions over and over again as to why we were heading across on a Friday morning) we went, shopped, slept, shopped some more and slide back into Canada (only one car in front of us) without a hitch..
We took apart the kids bedrooms and put them back together again… Cleaner, with much less junk, and in a manner which we expect them to keep it in for at least one day when they get back.
The garden grew! Raspberries (red ones, purple ones and golden ones), green beans, yellow beans, currents… They all made an appearance and we eaten. Yum.
9. We slept in. All of us. By sleeping in, I mean past 6am. 7am is about the latest I’ve slept in the last 8-years. But 7:30am was an absolute dream!
- My wife and I went out… together.. on a date. I figures since we actually had to speak to each other for 12 days, it might be nice to take advantage of the relative calm and go out. You know what happened, folks… By 9pm we were exhausted. But we trooped, stayed out until 11pm, then went home to sleep.
We got caught up on laundry. We washed everything! Comforters, duvets, everything because we knew once camp was over and the house was back to 5 people, we would never catch up.
I got to bed early… Twice. Early for me used to be 11pm, but I’ve been finding that since I started my own business I never stopped having enough to do around the house, so early quickly became 2am. I actually got in to bed at 9pm one night and by 10:30 another night. Amazing.
5. I was outnumbered… In more than one way. Aside from being one male to two females, many long-time readers will recall that my wife kept her last name when we got hitched, and before we had kids we agreed that any boys we had would take my last name, and any girls would take her last name. I was in the minority.
- My oldest son returned with the new-found ability to play the guitar. As a matter of fact, the day after he arrived home, he asked me this; “Daddy, is that Sweet Home Alabama playing on the radio?” Then he said; “I can play that on the guitar!” Sweet!
3. My middle child learned to horseback ride and he loved it!! Who knew?!?
2. My boys grew up. They just seemed so different. My oldest son did not want to come home – he wanted to stay for a couple more weeks (even wrote a letter to us which arrived the day after he came home saying “send more envelopes! I’m staying for 2 more weeks, and tell my sister I love her and I miss her.” My younger son, clearly no longer worried about spending time away from home seemed older, more relaxed, and cooler. Camp did him well.
As someone who never went to camp – I started working full-time in the summers when I was 14-years-old so I could buy plastic goalie pads for our street hockey games, I kept it up and paid for University. Camp would have been nice, but University was better. Now that I see how the kids have changed after just 12 days away, I wonder what it will be like next summer after a month away, and if this is the beginning of the kids independence.
- We missed them! Not at first and not always but in those moments when the chaos slows down and we get to breathe, live, relax and look around we realize what a huge part of our lives those children have become and we miss having them around to share with, listen to and teach.
Now they’re back and we get to talk about camp next year! 2 weeks or 1 month…
Thursday Thirteen: You’re turn!
Did you go to camp as a kid? What did you like the most and what did you hate? If you did not, what did you do instead?
Well, it took only 4-years for this moment to arrive and I was not prepared for it, but walking my daughter to school she saw a teacher and a couple of her friends and she let go of my hand.
“Take my hand.” I said.
“I don’t want to hold your hand, daddy” was her reply.
“Oh. Is it because your friends might see?”
“I just don’t”, she said.
I’m not going to force her to do anything she does not want to do. She’s getting to be a big girl, so I walked beside her to the school doors, squatted down beside her, gave her a big hug and said, “I love you.”
Not ready for that moment, I have to say.
I remember when my oldest boy did that to me the first time. I protested, and said, “Fine, just give me a hug.”
In front of his friends he refused to, so in a loud voice and a smile on my face – looking at his friends – I said, “Bye sweetheart. I love you!” and I have him the biggest kiss possible.
We all laughed.
Walking home from school, my 2 youngest ran ahead, and I told this story to my oldest.
He said to me; “I’ll hold your hand, daddy”.
… and that was how we walked home.
Thirteen things I hate… Today…
13. BMW drivers – Think they own the world because they drive a BMW. I was always told that Mercedes drivers represent old money and BMW driver’s new money. So I am coming to the conclusion that new money means having to show people you have money and that equates to buying / leasing a beemer and driving like you don’t give a shit about anyone else on the road. I must honk 2 of them a day for not signaling or cutting people off. Assholes.
12. My office keyboard. Stupid thing got wet (something to do with me spilling water on it) and now when I type capital letters the Ucking thing drops the first letter and capitalizes the next one…
11. Swine flu / H1N1 / influenza panic… Good g-d, people are going to make themselves sick worrying about the damn vaccination.
10. The NY Yankees. They won the world series last night and, well, see my post on them on my sports blog; www.daddyknowssports.wordpress.com.
9. Our former nanny. Left us a couple weeks ago and has been texting me asking for more money – extra money that she thinks she is entitled to, but confusing with vacation pay which she received way more than she was entitled to. She thinks she was given extra pay our of the kindness of our hearts, I told her it was but there aint no more. Now she’s bitching about calling the labour department. I called first and we’re good. She’s a noob. 🙂
8. My Achilles. I finally stretched a lot and went for a run to test it out. Ran for 10 minutes and there was no pain, but it felt really weak, like any sudden movement would cause it to hurt. I hate that. I need to run to stay healthy.
7. My weight. I blame it on Halloween that I am forced to eat those fucking little chocolate bars like they are going out of style. Because they are small does not allow me to eat 10 of them at once, right? OR does it…
6. Fair-weather friends. Either you’re my friend and you want to hang out, or we’re not and that’s fine, but don’t string me along by being phony and they never come out. I can’t waste time on this whole being social thing… After planning a few outings, if it’s not reciprocated, I’m done with you.
5. Jedi vs. Sith on Facebook. I’m fucking addicted! Grrrr. As of last night I was 78th in the world. 14 million players have this application. I have 4100 points (3 points for a win, lose 1 for a loss) and the leader has 40,000.
4. Hulk Hogan signing with TNA wrestling. It’s a shitty promotion that might have potential if they cut the gimmicks and produced a decent show. Crappy writing and even crappier plots make me wonder why this show exists. Besides the fact that I hate the name “TNA” since it is too close to “Tits ‘n’ Ass” but Total Non-stop Action is not the name for a successful wrestling organization. And Hogan… 56 years old. Seriously.
3. My choice of area for trick-or-treating this year. Sucks ass. I expected the $2 million dollar home owners to kick out some kick-ass treats for the kids. But one candy-bar per houses?!? Cheapskates! How disappointing. Not making that mistake again!
2. Guns and Roses. I’m still pissed at them for their simply horrible release this year. I kind of wish they had released a bunch of stuff throughout the past decade so the shit they put on this album might have come out in other releases. There is no good hard rock nowadays and as I listen to a few of their songs on my iPod It makes me even more pissed off. They used to be great. Same for Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver. Where is the new Saliva, Disturbed and Rob Zombie?
1. Iran. Saw this news story and it pisses me off, considering Iran claims to be doing nothing wrong. Ever.
The seizure of a massive shipment of Iranian arms bound for terrorist organization Hizbollah, proves the arms flow to Syria and south Lebanon from Iran. The attempt to smuggle arms to Syria and Hizbullah was an Iranian violation of a UN Security Council resolution. Typically, Iran continues to smuggle arms to terrorists under the guise of legitimate international commerce, turning the Mediterranean Sea into a platform for illegal action.
The weapons seizure “unequivocally and without a doubt” proves the Iran-Syria-south Lebanon weapons-trafficking route.
The ship was released overnight Wednesday after 36 weapons-filled containers were unloaded, and the 12 crew members boarded the vessel and made their way back on their planned route.
Hundreds of tons of weaponry, the largest arms seizure in Israel’s history, were intercepted in the daring raid by Israeli naval commandos aboard the cargo ship sailing 100 nautical miles west of Israel.
The arms shipment was 10 times the size of the cache found on the Palestinian arms ship Karine A in 2002, defense officials said.
The different types of arms offloaded from the ship were familiar to Israel as those Hizbullah already possesses in its arsenal, Israel Radio quoted defense officials as saying.
Military sources assessed Teheran would be forced to change its smuggling routes following the Israel Navy’s successful operation.
The cache was hidden inside shipping containers belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) which departed from the Bandar Abbas Port in Iran some 10 days ago, were unloaded in the Egyptian port of Damietta and then loaded onto the Francop, a German vessel flying an Antiguan flag.
On Wednesday, Israeli PM, Netanyahu addressed the international community concerning Iran’s material support for terrorist organizations by saying, “Iran is sending these weapons to terror organizations to harm Israeli cities and kill its citizens. The time has come for the international community to exert real pressure on Iran to stop this criminal activity and to support Israel when it defends itself against these terrorists and their patrons.”
This is going to be a tough task considering the axis of evil lined up to denounce Israel left, right and centre every time something happens in the middle east.
I’m a little confused yet again.
After all that time working in the government and wondering why it was that so many people cared about things I did or said – non-work related – I can to the conclusion that it was them, and not me. When I left the government, some whack-job googled me and used that to pressure my former manager into investigating my leave. Whatever. The issue that creeped me out was why someone would even care about what I was doing so long after leaving there.
It’s not my problem, it’s theirs right???
And then I get an email in my inbox Friday morning, and it reads something like this;
“Dude, I can no longer be friends with you because when my spouse and I were having problems I confided in you. You and your wife obviously talk to each other. My spouse and your wife have mutual “acquaintances”. I don’t want what we talked out to get back to my spouse. That would suck for me. Have a nice life”.
I read it over.
Blinked a few times.
Read it again.
Then I started shaking my head. My wife does not know your spouse, and the “mutual friends” if we use the Facebook terminology, are 4 people that my wife has not spoken to in years and has not seen since I met her 9 years ago.
Besides, over the past year or 2 if there was any opportunity to talk to any of these “friends”, I’m not so sure that your situation would come up at all. No offense. It’s just not that important.
Wondering why you think I, or my wife, would tell anyone about what happened with you guys. Thinking that being “friends” with me must have either been that insignificant that it’s easy to toss away, or you must really feel that I have some ability to broadcast to the world specific details of your life – which you described to me and a few others using your name, your spouse’s name and exact details.
I have a hard enough time getting a full night’s sleep and remembering where my office pass is in the morning.
Hope you have a nice life too.