This blog post will be a “live document” that I’ll add to until summer wraps.
We kicked off summer with a three day, two night trip to Whistler on June 24-26. We went to Whistler last year with my sister over Canada Day weekend and it was great and feels familiar and comfortable and firmly a getaway from life. This year, MY had friends visiting and she was taking mini vacations to Whistler and the island (Victoria and Tofino) in June.
It felt 100% wrong to go out to the traditional Canada Day celebrations and we spent the day off from work in, cleaning up “two years of us being lazy” NPY puts it. Yes, we addressed some clutter that had been around for a year, maybe two.
Baby celebrated her birthday over Canada Day long weekend with a barbecue at my sisters, NPY’s family over the next day and observing it once again on her actual birthday.
Upcoming is Kiddo’s birthday and I was anxious to send out the emails inviting friends because then it’s real and I have to like do something. There some “politics” involved that NPY is not aware of and then eschews. It usually turns out for the best and I’m excited to spend the afternoon at the great location with play for the kids and great view for the parents.
The kids aren’t scheduled in anything this summer but I couldn’t resist the opportunity for them to go to swim lessons, weekly, around the same time. No Chinese school. We stopped TKD in the spring after over three years and achieving a green belt (sniff). We stopped music lessons in the winter after the teacher went virtual although I do intend on introducing him to piano playing and purchased Beginner Piano Lessons for Kids. I kept missing summer skate registration (we were in Halifax, and then we were at a bike festival at the time of registration) so we’ll resume in the fall.
Kiddo is scheduled for eight weeks of camp and that’s where the “live document” comes in where I’ll fill it in as he completes them – privacy, you know – and I realize that last year, I even provided a mini recap too. Sheesh, I had a lot more patience last year!
And then all I know so far is that I’m taking two weeks off the last week of August and first week of September. This year, Baby is in full-time daycare so it can be adventures galore for me and Kiddo, or some really unheard of me-time. No need to pull Baby out of daycare when we’re paying for it, right??
So, this is the section about Kiddo’s camps. I’m once again pretty excited about the line-up and feel like where I lack in tiger momming and scheduling him even more, I make up for in diversity of summer camps.
- Week 1 (July 4-8) – Funseekers day camp at Britannia Community Centre
- Week 2 (July 11-15) – “Chinese camp” at Vancouver Chinese Culture Centre (Chinatown)
- Week 3 (July 18-22) – Tennis & Art camp at Queen Elizabeth Park and Riley Park
- Week 4 (July 25-29) – Science Explorers camp at Roundhouse Community Centre
- Week 5 (Aug 2-5) – Vancouver Performing Stars dance camp at Hillcrest Community Centre
- Week 6 (Aug 8-12) – Sportball Soccer & Floor Hockey at Hillcrest (afternoon, three hours)
- Week 7 (Aug 15-19) – De-registered from Petit Architect architecture camp at Hillcrest Community Centre
- Week 8 (Aug 22-26) – Vancouver Maritime Museum STEAM camp (Theme: Seven Layers of the Ocean)
Week #1 This is Kiddo’s third time at Britannia Funseekers and I’m such a fan of this program despite some misgivings I had last summer. He was back in for one week in March Break and this first week of the summer. As much as I like it, though, I wouldn’t want him to return again (and again) in the summer unless other activities did not pan out.
He’s still as keen on making Rainbow Loom bracelets and we even bought him more elastics at home. This was the first time (in three camps) where they didn’t go skating. The field trip was to Grouse Mountain and I love that idea. He did such a gross thing – which is just going to happen because he is six and a boy – is that he declined water shoes on swimming day and then he did go on the pool deck and removed his runners and schlepped around on the pool deck and gosh the changing room and then put on his runners with wet/damp socks and his runners single-handedly smell like a hockey changing room. Oh My Gosh. Good thing those runners are beat up and getting binned as soon as the new ones arrive. He should have remembered that there are spare socks in his knapsack but he didn’t because he’s him.
Week #2 I was most excited about this one, to be honest. It’s the camp that I wished to attend when I was young, along with a bunch of new Chinese friends when there are so few in Halifax growing up, and I didn’t go to school with hardly any. Realistically, anyone I met at camp I never stayed in touch with except a couple of girls I was pen pals with for a short while. Even Chinese kids’ parents, my mother was not likely to approve of and socialize with, key for that friendship to continue.
Anyhow, Kiddo has been attending Chinese school for the past two school years at S.K. Lee Academy, the Chinese school, and last year I was worried about him taking a break from Chinese school in the summer. It turned out okay and any loss in the language (they learned a lot the first year) I attribute to the sh*tshow that was the class run by this years teacher. This year, I was discussing a lot with SIL about camps since her older one is done his first year of elementary school and they can no longer have him around full days every day. (Hah.) She was someone I could convince to send her kid to Chinese camp and I think she got some pressure from her mother, MIL. (Hah.)
When I registered, I received a gloriously bright camp uniform t-shirt – it’s neon yellow with the school name and logo printed large on the torso in red. It was $10 for that and well now he has to attend another camp to spread the cost over it. I also learned that their field trip would be a separate additional charge. When I went to register, I walked from home and that was an unpleasant experience as I got closer: smelly alcove entryways, cautiously navigating around people occupying the sidewalk, vigilant there wasn’t anything I needed to dart away from quickly. It made me reconsider sending Kiddo in person to the school this coming fall – also because Baby isn’t old enough to start with him in the fall (next year). I swallowed my anxiety about the camp location because NPY would quickly, wholeheartedly agree. I often believe many people exaggerate in their mind the possibility of something happened after seeing the news and live in irrational fear, so there are many things I don’t vocalize and I believe in living rationally (or naively). Kids don’t need both parents voicing irrational things.
Anyhow, it’s a long camp, from 9 am until 4 pm and I found that 4 pm was a little tough because we are accustomed to Kiddo winding down at home, finishing his lunch, doing his own before Baby returns home from daycare. But it was just for one week. From Kiddo’s reports, there was hardly any Chinese being taught and goodness knows how much of camp was in Chinese. He said they spoke Cantonese, and Mandarin, but there was no math or writing and hardly the songs. There was storytime but it was in Mandarin so he did not understand it. I guess it’s just day camp then! They went to Scienceworld for their field trip and walked there. Kiddo said there were so many other camps there – he was last there for March Break Britannia camp – and there were other kids wearing the same shirt as him but not from his camp. Ah, so many the Richmond branch of S.K. Lee Academy camp was there on the same day?
It was a different turn for us to be in Chinatown every day. It is the closest camp to where we live with easy, if not free, parking. NPY picked up pastries from New Town a block away once during the week and on Friday when Kiddo did not want to walk by certain people on the way to our car, we crossed the street and came across and spent a few cultural minutes in the Chinatown Storytelling Centre.
Week #3 Kiddo attended tennis & art camp mostly alone this week and that was not planned. His cousin was down and out with a cold for four of the five days. Did he get his cold from Kiddo the week before? :o I haven’t scheduled Kiddo in any camps alone but for one and he was sad going out the door but would be happy when he returned home, delighting in being able to play tennis.
While I did all the morning camp drop offs last year because work had a no-questions-asked flexible work arrangement, it was not offered this year (i.e., some questions ask, no bonus incentive where they pay you a smidge more than the hours you do work), I haven’t done any this year but I remember how gorgeous the courts are, how inspiring it would be to learn there. He learned backhand this year.
As for the art, disappointingly, they had the same canvas projects as last year so Kiddo opted out and didn’t come home with reproductions that I’m happy to add to his gallery wall. He did create a moody original piece :D which I attribute to him feeling alone: it is a dark underwater scene where you can only see the silhouettes of marine life. I still love the combination where they lounge around outdoors. For us wondering if there isn’t another strain going around (there is), a full week of outdoor camp was a relief in a way.
On Wednesday, Baby was sent home from daycare because she threw up a few times. On Thursday, she had a fever and she was barred from returning to daycare for the rest of the week on account of the vomiting on Wednesday. After a really bad night where she had a fever and seem mildly delirious, I took most of Friday off and took her to the clinic (skipped telemedicine after we mentioned to the MOA about her discomfort eating) and got a Hand, Foot & Mouth disease diagnosis for her. (A week later, I would learn that someone in her room has a younger sibling in another room where everyone got it.)
Week #4 On account of Baby having HFM and Kiddo wasn’t always masking around her, we cancelled all weekend events including his birthday party with friends. On his actual birthday on Sunday he started being symptomatic with chills, fever, vomiting (three times, the same as Baby) and so he was out of camp for the first two days.
While I checked out and reminded myself of the price of Tennis & Art camp (around $70/day) when his cousin missed almost the full week, I checked out the price of science camp and it was pretty much the same! Geez whiz! He still had a mild fever on Monday when he did a “dig” for rocks with a fantastic National Geographic kit that MY bought him after discussion with me his interest in rocks. Kinda science.
He came home from science camp on Wednesday with this plastic cup covered with a balloon and he was pulling it back and a balloon attached to a straw inside would inflate. But he didn’t know what it represented. Well, it didn’t look like a heart or digestive system so I figured it was the lung’s alveoli? Yes. And he feigned that he did hear that. Seems to be a theme. While I thought he would spend a week on anatomy where there was a crime to solve with forensic science, apparently they spent a day on each discipline: chemistry, biology (anatomy), forensic science. They made slime and a crystal in a jar I think that will not crystallize. They took fingerprints and Cosmic Carmen gave them each a snazzy magnifying glass on the last day.
I only did drop-off and pick-up on the final day and wondered where it would take place because the main entrance I was aware of did not seem parking friendly but the Drake Street entrance has sufficient parking and I saw that a couple of camps were being conducted in the big round house space divide by fresh portable white walls and it was cool in there and a really neat environment for them!
Week #5 I was most super excited to get Kiddo into VPS dance camp because of the positive experience I had last year when he went to musical camp and they gave a performance of Aladdin at the end of the short week. I got Kiddo into the short week again, but this year it was a full day (6 hours) instead of “half day” (4 hours). He has resisted dance lessons so far and I wanted the full introduction.
As it would turn out his cousin got HFM from Kiddo/us and spent the whole week at home which was upsetting to Kiddo but I admire that he got through the week and practiced and learned and is able to articulate that he likes hip hop and contemporary (“tempory”). On the first day, he cried at drop-off and hung back while the kids made introductions. What I learned when I finally did a pick-up on Thursday, is the kids could be split into and older and younger group of about eight each. There were three boys in the younger group and one boy in the older group. They would perform to six songs from The Greatest Showman, representing hip hop, Broadway/theater, ballet, contemporary, and jazz. (I think it counted as six songs because the ballet number was split with the younger ones performing separately from older kids.)
It was a lovely thrill to see what Kiddo picked up in four days and learned about practice and repetition. It sparked me to buy Just Dance for Nintendo Switch (also, it was on sale) to bring more dance to our house. And… I’m super excited that in three years (when Baby is six), Kiddo is still within the age (under 12) and they can attend the camp together. Basically, in two years, Baby can go to camp with Kiddo, like Britannia, Chinese camp, etc!
Week #6 I would have preferred Basketball & Floor Hockey over Soccer & Floor Hockey and last year Kiddo had a positive experience at Basketball Sportball camp with the same coach (Coach “Hy” – I don’t know the spelling). And a school friend’s mom who also registered for this camp has known Coach Hy since her kid was a pre-schooler and upon learning that the coach got married recently and thus took Monday off, sighed, “Even they are growing up!”
It was a short camp and a lot of running around to Hillcrest with pick-up basically heading out two hours after you get back from drop off. Kiddo ended up spending all day with his friend on Thursday because NPY and I both had to be at the office and in turn, I pick up his friend on Friday afternoon.
The kids loved it and I loved how active they were for a few hours and how much fun they had. Last year, it was his introduction to basketball and this is his first official introduction to (floor) hockey. We have these baby sticks like two feet long and now he wants kid sticks omgosh I do not condone that. We need a locker for all the sports equipment!
Week #7 I de-registered Kiddo from super-pricey Petit Architect camp and had a list of activities he could partake in while he was home, to keep him out of my hair and be marginally intellectual: a puzzle I ordered, advancing his reading level in RazKids, picking up how to program using Scratch Junior, learning to dance through Just Dance for the Nintendo Switch. Very, very, disappointingly little was accomplished and I could tell at the end of the week he was a little bewildered and bored by playing his usual stuff. But he declined to do other things. Not too much screen time was involved in the week.
Week #8 Feeling a bit like we limped to this week, it finally arrived. Edna told us about this camp and it was a very good price, for a STEAM camp and with operating hours of 9 am until 4 pm. We were further impressed how they had us list each day who would be picking up and they would be checking ID. It seemed like Kiddo absorbed the most the A part of STEAM (art) and he couldn’t recall for me after a day what they learned but he would tell me details one at a time later. It wasn’t awful to drive to the museum each day and there were even more efficient ways to get there if you needed.