Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys

Brennan went to camp for the first time this year. He was very excited. Addison has been the last 3 years, and Brennan was ecstatic that it was finally his turn. He talked about it for weeks -- that he was going to camp with his friend, Tommy.

We had a minor diversion early that week: Brennan got hit in the head with a baseball bat and had to have five stitches. Asked how it happened, he replied, "Standing too close." Yep. Hoping Darwin's theory will mean that he'll use his head a little more (or is it a little less?) next time he's standing next to the kid with the bat. That was on Monday. On Friday, Brennan got the stitches removed to cut down on scarring. So, having had experience in these matters, I told him to be sure to put sunscreen on his face every day because scars don't tan well. Otherwise, he might end up with a bright red war wound on his forehead for the rest of his life. He assured me he would.

Having outgrown all but his peanut allergy, food was not so much of a concern. In fact, I was quite glad that he would get to partake of daily canteen (i.e., Coke and candy) with very little restriction. The only minor concern was that the daily I-don't-like-that-food option was the make-your-own PB&J. Now, we're not quite certain just how allergic to peanuts he is since he's never been exposed, but his blood test numbers are (literally) off the charts. We do know, though, that there's no problem with him being around peanuts. We just don't want them on or in him. He can theoretically sit right next to someone having a PB&J with no adverse effects. So, I told him not to get in a fight with the kid at his table eating the peanut butter sandwich. He assured me he would not.

I helped him pack his suitcase. I even separated his clothes into ziplock bags for each day -- complete with a change of underwear. We talked briefly about this, too, but I wasn't too worried, because I was assured by our veteran camp-goer that campers are required to take a shower every day. After all, if you have a ziplock bag for every day and you're required to take a shower everyday, by the transitive property of logic and mathematics, one can assume that the boy will take off the entire old outfit (including underwear), take a shower, and put on the entirely new outfit (including underwear), post-shower. Good dad.

With preparations complete, we loaded up the car, and drove out there. It turns out that, not only was his friend Tommy there, but also several of his other friends. We arranged for them all to be in the same cabin. I felt sorry for his counselor. He had an almost entire cabin-full of rising third-graders -- most every bit as rowdy as Brennan. All I can say is I'm glad it was him and not me! I do have to say, though, despite all the things you're already anticipating I'll say, apparently, Brennan was the master bed-maker (a trait we'll be sure to make use of at home now that we know!)! He won best bed in his cabin one day and was apparently hired to make sure that the beds were made properly for all the boys that were (shall we say) bed-making challenged -- to ensure that the entire cabin wasn't penalized for untidiness. So, props to my son! Who knew?

Well, I missed my son. I e-mailed him everyday, but never heard from him. It was probably a good thing. That at least meant that he wasn't sending letters saying he was homesick! So, I was excited to go pick him up. When we got there, Addison saw him first and rushed up to him. I followed behind and the first thing she said was, "Look at his shoes!" I looked down and they were solid brown. They used to be blue and gray. The conversation then went something like this:

"What happened to your shoes?"

"I was wading in the creek looking for crawdads."

"With your shoes on?"


"How many days?"

"Pretty much every day."


"So, did you use sunscreen every day?"


"How come?"

"I didn't have time!"

"You didn't have time to put on sunscreen?"


"But you had time to hunt for crawdads?"


Amazingly, his scar looks pretty good. I'm thankful, but wondering why I don't catch breaks like that...

Later, at home, unpacking his suitcase, I found one pair of socks that went straight into the trash (still wet), another that looked salvageable that went into the laundry, and five pair that were still rolled up neatly in his suitcase. I said (You can see it coming, can't you? After 11 years of being a parent, I still have a propensity to ask dumb questions!), "Why didn't you wear these socks?", to which he replies, "Well, I didn't want to get my socks all messed up wading in the creek looking for crawdads!" Right. Guess it was okay for those shoes, though!

Still sorting through the suitcase, I notice that pretty much everything is wet in there. I ask, "Why is everything wet in here? Is it because your towel was in here?" He responds, "I don't know. Maybe. Or it might be that my clothes fell in the water while I was taking a shower." Really? How is it that all your clothes got wet in the shower every day??

Finally, as I come to the bottom of the suitcase, I find ziplock bags in there with...wait for it...clean underwear still in them! I said, "Why is there clean underwear still in here?", to which he responds, "I don't know." Still having not learned my lesson about asking dumb questions, I continue, "I thought you were supposed to take a shower every day." He says, "I did!". "Wait," I said, "you took a shower every day, but didn't change your underwear every day?" Shyly, "Right." "So...How many days did you change your underwear?" Mind you, he was there for 8 days. "Oh, prob'ly three." Un. Be. Lievable.

I just shook my head. I wanted to be upset with him, but instead I just laughed to myself. I vaguely remember doing stupid stuff like that when I was a kid. Some things never change between generations. And some things are obviously in-bred...To boys! Stop thinking that! I heard that! It's all boys -- not that he got it from me! At least it's never a dull moment around our house! Oh, and the shoes? They went in the trash...right after he wore them to the store to buy new ones. I leave you with a couple of pictures of the old shoes. Any other parents seen these shoes before?


  1. Laughing out loud at this post! I must say though, it makes me a little scared- is this what I have to look forward to in a few years?? You are such a good dad, Tim, and Cristi is a wonderful mom. I admire you both!

  2. I'll have you know that it's your fault Lauren's tossing and turning in her bed right now -- I couldn't help but laugh so loud that I disturbed her.

    I love you and especially your talent for asking all the dumb questions. :)

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