Uncle Jack Kamp: July 9

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Uncle Jack Kamp: July 9th
9:15 am Soooo… after half an hour of researching the various rec centers in VB and comparing the various complicated schedules (to avoid a replay of last weeks scheduling fiasco) I think I know where we’re going.

The boys have been curious about the whole modeling thing. (When you are one of two cute red-headed twins, the subject is inevitable.) So I’m going to carry the camera around today to see what happens. Photos to follow.

1:00 pm Quote of the summer: Don’t get me wet! I’m in the pool!
First runner up: Stop smacking your brother with his own noodle, it’s not polite.

So to explain the quote of the summer: Byron and Blake were in the pool at the beginning of summer. (A little wading pool that we’d actually bought for the dog, but whatever. Other than shedding, not a lot of difference.)
Blake turned on the hose and sprayed his brother with it.
“Don’t get me wet!” Byron yelled out rather indignantly.
“Dude,” I said, “you’re standing in a swimming pool whining about getting wet? Seriously?”
His face turned red. “Oh yeah.”
So now whenever someone starts whining about something stupid, someone else yells out, “I’m in the pool! Don’t get me wet!”


Uncle Jack Kamp: Child Psychology 101

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1:15 pm Kids are like cats.

Me: Okay, you’ve been in here playing on your Nooks long enough. Time to go outside and play. [He proceeds to outline several options for outdoor play.]

Boy: I’m too tired. Can I take a nap?

Me: Now all of a sudden you need a nap? You can lie down on the couch outside.

Boy 2: Can I play on my Nook outside?

Me: No.

[Boys huff in utter disgust. General annoying whining from both. One heads for a hammock. The other drops onto the patio couch. Uncle Jack goes outside and starts filling the wading pool from the hose completely ignoring both boys. He sprays the hose straight up in the air to make it rain and he laughs. He attaches the sprinkler and shoves it under the water to make a fountain.]

Boy: Uh… can I do that?

Me: Just a minute. Let me get it set.

Boy: Oh. Okay. [Now he *really* wants to play with it.]

1:25pm Both boys are in the pool playing with the hose and filling up water balloons, laughing and playing faintly strange games with the water hose.

Okay. I get it. Lesson learned.

Uncle Jack Kamp: July 3

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A day off.
Hm. It’s awfully quiet in the house with the boys and their mom off on an adventure. Ahhhh…. sweet, sweet peace.
The house to myself.
I think I need to go get lunch somewhere while I write. It’s too darn quiet in here.

Uncle Jack Kamp: July 2

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Uncle Jack Kamp. July 2

12:30 pm Scheduling is complicated.

So, the pool opens very early, but the skate park in the same location doesn’t open until 9am. So, logically, we should hit the skate park at 9 am and then hit the pool after, which makes sense in terms of cooling off after exercise. Except that there is a day camp event at 11:30 am, so we’d be getting to the pool shortly before a mob hits it, and the boys don’t much like mobs. Okay, pool first (dry clothes packed) then skate park. Except once we get there we find out that while the pool is open, the water slide doesn’t open until 11am, the outdoor water splashy area opens at 11:30 am and the rock wall, which is the real reason Byron wanted to go to that particular pool, doesn’t open until noon. Not forgetting the summer camp thing that starts at 11:30 am. Okay. Seriously? What officious bureaucrat made that schedule?

2:30 pm  Why are Floaty Turtle and Floaty Starfish anchored to the floor of the swimming pool with a tether, rather than stuck on the end of a pole, if their actual purpose *isn’t* for 9-year-old boys to fight their way to the top of them while their uncle tips it back and forth to knock them off. I mean, come on, what fun is it if they can’t struggle their way to the top of Floaty Turtles shell only to have me quash all thoughts of success by dumping them off.

Stupid life guard and her stupid whistle. I’ll show her what she can… oh wait, I’m supposed to be a good example. Sigh. Let’s go down the water slide again.

Uncle Jack Kamp: Supplemental (Emphasis on “mental”)
So…… five hours of chasing the B-boys around a swimming pool, tipping them off Floaty Turtle, up the stairs and down the water slide (Wait a minute. Adults can ride the water slide, too! Booyah.) With a host of etceteras.

Then, a one hour Zumba class and Jesus Christ, can I just sit down for a minute, wait, maybe I’ll just lie here a moment.. or… maybe Netflix is a really good idea.

Tune in tomorrow to hear Uncle Jack scream: Charlie Horse!!!!

Uncle Jack Kamp: July 1

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Uncle Jack Kamp July 1st: So it was a quiet morning, with no antsy or whiny behavior. Hm. Make them play outside or let them chill? Or ask them…

Me: So do you want to go to the pool, or just have a lazy day?

Byron: I wanna go to the pool– wait. We did a lot yesterday and I got a headache. Maybe we should have a lazy day so I don’t overdo it two days in a row.

Yep. He’s nine

4:15 pm  Extremely quiet day. Either they really did have a couple of very active days or they are plotting to take over the world and hope to catch me off-guard. Usually, by lunch time they’re getting squirrelly. Today, very sedate through the afternoon. I pity their parents tonight. (hee hee.)

Perhaps I should plan a trip to the pool, a playscape and maybe laps around the track for tomorrow. (They have said they want to lean to “run track.”) My guess is all this relaxation will make rabid monkeys of them tomorrow.

Unless they enslave the planet as we sleep and force us all to wear tuxedos while we do their bidding. (Bwa. ha. ha.) In which case I will no longer be responsible for planning the day. (Woo hoo!)

Since people seem to be reading these after all, this from yesterday…

[At the community swimming pool. Very busy day at the pool. Uncle Jack plays tag with Byron and Blake and a friend of theirs. Uncle Jack, of course, is permanently designated as “it.”]
Blake: [Swims away from Uncle Jack, shrieking like a terrified little girl.] Don’t let Uncle Jack touch you. He’s a monster. Stay away! Stay away!
ME: While I applaud your sincerity in the game, perhaps you shouldn’t shout that at the top of your lungs about your middle-aged uncle while we’re all swimming half-naked in a crowded pool.


Uncle Jack Kamp
9:30 am I discovered the secret to time travel. Tell a nine-year-old boy he needs to do something other than video games for an hour. Time. passes. so. slowly. it.. starts.. to.. wind… backward….

“No. Seriously, if I don’t do it right *now* I’ll never be able to do it again *ever*. Seriously.”

Uncle Jack Kamp: Supplemental

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So I had this realization. Yesterday wasn’t all that physically demanding. Sure we ran around a bit, but it was nothing like adventure day with hiking and the ocean. Yet at the end of the afternoon, I was balls out tired. Am I really that old? Well, that’s likely part of it, but 45 isn’t really walker time by a long shot.

It’s part of the reason parents are always tired. Even when I’m sitting here at the computer, at rest to the eye of the beholder, my “engine is running.” A big part of me is paying attention. I’m listening for shouts, yells and screams, and its like the driver for a getaway car. I never turn off the engine and have my foot on the gas, waiting for the moment I need to burn rubber.

There’s a part of me like the getaway car, no less the driver. I’m ever vigilant in case an argument starts, a boy hurts himself and I need to administer first aid, in some way I need to suddenly turn into a super hero.

Caregivers never take off the cape.

It’s exhausting.

The question is whether I can take off the cape from time to time now that I know that I’m wearing it. Will I be able to chillax on the hyper-vigilance or is it endemic to childcare? I’ll let you know.

By the way, this phenomenon is something I’ve understood intellectually in talking to parents and in observing Ryan and Hope over the past two years. Experiencing it for myself is different. I’ve watched the boys before, but rarely more than a day or two at a time, so I’ve never before been immersed in is long enough to really have that “aha moment.”

And for any of you thinking, “See? Now you feel my pain.” No. I don’t. Neither do the millions of other people unable, for whatever reason, to have kids of their own. I feel amazingly grateful that I have this opportunity, at least for one summer, to experience this kind of exhaustion and to try to overcome it. It’s awesome!

For anyone complaining about the horrors of parenting (and I see comedians shared on Facebook all the time) I personally know at least a dozen folks who’d happily take that “problem” off your hands.

Uncle Jack Kamp: June 23, 2014

uncle jack kamp copy7:00 am Ugh. Awake before the alarm. Good news and bad. Today’s adventure will take us mythical Mt. Trashmore. No. Really. That’s its name. They piled metric tons of garbage in a hole next to a lake. Piled a ton of dirt on top of that, and now kids play there. Tune in tonight to see if any of us glow in the dark.

8:30 am A year ago, I’d take the boys to the Mt. Trashmore playscape and they’d sprint to it and run from the monkey bars to the climbing walls to the slides so fast that within half an hour I was dripping wet and panting. They still have fun but in a sort of, “Well, yeah, okay” sort of way. I guess they’re growing up. *sniff*

9:00 am On the other side of it, the bike/skate ramps here seem a *bit* too advanced for them. Byron’s face seemed pretty scared. Soooo… a little to old for the one. Not quite experienced enough for the other. It’s one of those awkward ages.

9:30 am A-a-a-nd the other skate park is closed for repairs. (Until June 30 for whom it may concern.) This playscape seems a bit more up their alley. A slidey bar thing they loved and a real tire swing (as opposed to the fake one at the other park.) Okay… they’re still kids!!

12:00 noon Lunch with cartoons. So. Um. Scripted cartoon pretending to be a spontaneous reality show like “Survivor.” *blink, blink* Um. Okay. Never mind. Lunch is over, time to hit the park again.

Uncle Jack Kamp: Day Five

uncle jack kamp copy7:15 Seriously contemplating purchase of an IV drip for caffeine that is timed to start fifteen minutes before my alarm rings. I consider trying to invent such a thing if it doesn’t exist.

8:30 am Frisbee golf! We play it “cooperative mode.” I’ve learned that using terms from video games makes ideas more palatable. “Cooperative mode” allows me to avoid fights over cheating, how many throws we’ve each made and general mayhem. It also means there is only one RFO (Randomly Flying Object) in the sky at one time.

9:00 am Random stranger offers to let us borrow his discs. I suspect they have been laced with crack, so I decline. He is rather adamant, I suspect now that rather than a crack dealer, he might be a disc salesman who hopes we’ll like his product so well we want to buy one of our own. Hm. Same thing, really.

I refrain from telling to to go f$$$ himself in front of the boys. I really don’t want three or more RFO’s in the air at once. Seriously. Is the phrase, “We’re perfectly happy playing exactly was we are, and don’t need any more discs, but thank you for offering,” difficult to understand? Apparently, I have slipped into Polish.

No, the idea that he might just be a friendly person never occurred to me.

9:30 am And we’re done. When you’re 9 years old, the shortest distance between two points is anywhere you go as long as you run top speed. All eighteen holes in an hour. Well, except for 12 which we never did find, and we couldn’t find eighteen either, so we just threw it at the nearest basket we could find. Which happened to be #7. But the boys had pretty much had enough of that game and it’s easier to say, “Hey, let’s call that 18 and we’re done.” Bazinga.

“Now we need to find somewhere to wash our hands and go to lunch.”

That was Byron, not me. I should probably find it disturbing that the 9-year-old is more fastidious than I.

And it’s only 9:30 am. But the guys really seem set on the idea that “lunch” follows frisbee golf. The possibility that there may be time between game and “lunch” does not appear to be an option.

9:45 am At Panera. Yes, they serve lunch all day, which is nice because the boys are set on mac and cheese, and I’m not sedated nearly enough to deal with  disappointment. I don’t know the Panera menu at all and I’m juggling a reckessly perky cashier, Blake and the large chocolately death bomb he’s picked up and must put back,  Byron who is explaining the importance of baguettes and the woman behind me in line who just stands there breathing like I’m taking too long.

So, okay, two-fer lunch special sounds good and cheap. I take the first item on each menu for the two-fer, only to realize that it’s two-fer but each item is priced separately. Then why the hell is it called two-fer? Holy crap. $$$ Whatever. Give me the blinky coaster and let me get away from the breathing woman.

10:15 am Weird man in fedora sits behind me and starts talking to the boys. They seem entertained, so I refrain from telling him to f$$$ himself.

10:20 am He won’t shut up. Seriously, am I wearing a sign today that says, “Hi, although I refrain from looking you in the eye and when you mutter your first word at me I glare at you with every ounce of feral strength I possess, by all means keep f-ing talking to us you infernal moron.”?

Apparently, being out in public with cute red-headed twin boys is an invitation to every wack job out there to start up a conversation. I begin to think it would be a good lesson in not talking to strangers if I scream like a howler monkey every time someone approaches. Perhaps pepper spray. Or a good kick in the nuts.

1:40 pm Quiet afternoon so far. The boys are entertaining themselves with videos and games and the occasional wrestling match that has rules based on some sort of unfathomable quantum mathematics. I am reminded of “Calvinball” from Calvin and Hobbes. Huh. Living with the boys makes that comic strip so much more meaningful.

Dare I rock the boat and suggest some sort of organized activity, or shall I let the sleeping beast lie? Tune in later to find out…

Uncle Jack Kamp: Day Three

uncle jack kamp copy Day Three: Adventure Day!

7:30 am I hate my alarm clock.

7:45 am Crap. I think I need to get up earlier for Adventure Days. I know, I know some of you wake up at the asscrack of dawn, but some of us worked second shift for 25 years and have a brain that won’t shut down until 1am. Where’s that darn energy drink?

8:00 am Hope dropped off. She packed lunch and stuff for the boys. Yay. Off to the state park.

8:30 am Park ranger took my five and handed it back to me, rather than giving me a dollar change. I could use this as a teaching experience in honesty for the boys…. or I could use it as a valuable lesson in paying attention when you’re doing your job. Sidebar lesson on the meaning of “justification.” Fiver will go for snacks after the beach.

9:00 am When you call the exercise stations on the nature trail “toys” or “miniplayscapes” and let the boys do whatever they want on them, they are much more likely to have fun working out.

Note to self: it’s been twenty-five years since I walked on railway rails. Sense of balance isn’t what it used to be. Sometime later am. We’ve hiked a mile. Boys still seem entertained. Should I test their self-awareness and let them walk until they expire, or help set boundaries and suggest we head back? Hm, when guinea pigs get annoyed, they squeal a lot. Boys are much the same. We head back.

10:30 am Boys ask to go to playscape in the park. We end up climbing the trees and completely ignoring the playscape. Awesome. Although, for 9-year-old boys, their “ick” boundary seems awfully low.

“Ew. What’s that?”

“Looks like tree sap. It’s fine.”

“Gross. I’m not climbing in that tree.”

“Seriously? Ew? Hold old are you?”

11:00 am Hit the beach! My sandals suck. Ouch. Hot sand. Damn sandals won’t stay on.

FUN!! I had never realized the number of jokes one can make about swimming noodles.

12:45 pm Hm. Boys are enthusiastic about staying longer. Once again, I am tempted to experiment on them to see if they know their own limitations. In theory, by the time they get completely sunstroked out and horrendously cranky, their parents should be home, so it won’t technically be my problem anymore. Except that Ryan knows where I sleep and payback, as they say, is a bitch. I choose to set limits and they seem fine with it.

2:00 pm Safe at home. No one seems overworked. Well, except maybe me. And I still need to teach Zumba tonight!