Thursday, June 12, 2014

Alone time with Sam

This week Ben's in YMCA day camp. It's Art 101, but they also do a lot of traditional camp activities, like swimming, singing and games. He's gone to day camp before, but this year he's going all day, from 8:30am-3:30pm, roughly school hours come August. I think this is the longest amount of time Sam and I have spent together, alone, ever. And I have to say, it's been a delight.

For months now our lives have revolved around the Terrible Twos. Sam has been very whiny and tantrum-y and all listening skills seem to have gone out the window. Unfortunately, Ben's also realized the power he holds over Sam. Sometimes he uses that power for good, encouraging Sam to finish his meals or brush his teeth. But more and more lately he's been drifting to the evil side, merely "suggesting" Sam throw his food or spit at someone. It's been incredibly frustrating and I've found myself yelling more and more, but feeling like I've been accomplishing less and less.

At the beginning of summer I always have these rose-colored glasses, tricking myself into believing we're going to have a fun, sun-soaked summer lounging at the pool and flitting from playground, to outdoor concert, to food truck event. And it never quite works out that way. So even though we'd only had two weeks of summer, I was very ready for Ben to be in camp this week. I needed my quiet afternoons back.

Getting to spend time with Sam alone has been a benefit of camp. He's been so much more pleasant and I think it's because I can actually give him some focused attention. He's never really had that. We can do activities on a two year old level, instead of me having to find something that will entertain a two year old AND a five year old. I get to listen to what he says without someone else talking over my shoulder. He gets to choose all the games and the TV shows and activities, which is completely novel to him. It's been a good week, and I'm looking forward to Ben's next week of camp, in July.

That being said, all day every day Sam's been asking about when we're going to pick up Ben. He's never really known life without Ben for long stretches. The transition to kindergarten might be hard on him, too.

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