One Down, One to Go


April 9, 2007 by Marj Hatzell

Friday I hit rock bottom. Not Bugaboo, ME. I HIT ROCK BOTTOM. I think if I wasn’t feeling so crummy I could have handled it better. Well, except for when he poured the hot sauce all over the house. And I mean all over! Rug, couch, wood floor, linoleum, appliances, nothing was spared! But thanks for all of your words of encouragement. Today I am much better. Well, except for my back!

Bug Boy goes back to school today after a week-hiatus. We spent the week doing playgroups with his buddies from school, reading every book in his library, building forts and ramps all over the house and basically just talking. We talked about things he likes, things he does NOT like (red food, except for Salsa and ketchup) and how he does not like the fire whistle in S’more. In fact, he made sure he told me each and every time he heard it this week.

This morning he was quite excited to be going back. Bug Boy is certainly a routine-oriented child. He likes his sameness, he likes knowing what to expect. Despite my best efforts to give him a weekly and daily schedule this week (and the distraction of his cousin staying with us from Wednesday to Friday) he was still off. By Sunday he was anxious and short-tempered. When we began packing his lunch and picking out his clothing in preparation for today, he was suddenly a changed-child. He thrives in his school environment and routines. I am thinking harder about summer camp now.

Last year he attended a camp specifically for children on the spectrum. He was in a great group with boys just like him. He was relaxed and happy and had a wonderful time. He also attended all summer, for free.

This year we feel he has made plenty of progress, basically disqualifying him from the camp. We do not want him to back-track and so we want to send him to a typical camp for a few weeks. The problem is they all cost tons of money, anywhere from, $175 to $400 a week. Depending on where we decide to send him, he may get to go for one week or four weeks. The Y camp is too sports oriented and they spend too much time outside. Since Bug Boy has exercise intolerance and heat/sweat issues (part of the metabolic stuff) I do not want him outside in the blazing sun for six hours a day. It could cause him to seize or to dehydrate very quickly. We found a neat camp run at the college for $250-$275 a week (Future Stars, I kinda like the way it sounds) and they have a schedule almost like school. They do academics, arts and crafts, sports, swimming, computers, drama, you name it. This is my favorite of all of the camps so far and we could send him for two weeks. A well-rounded program right in town where he may have school friends attending. The last camp we are considering is modestly priced at $160 a week. We could afford to send him for 3 weeks. It is a Nature Camp run at the arboretum. He would be under nature’s canopy learning about bugs, trees, plants, creek life and weather. He would be running around the woods with his school buddy (which is how I found out about it). But he would also be eaten alive by bugs, and he is allergic to mosquitoes. I’d have to spray him with chemicals everyday. He would also be outside, although it may be cooler there since he’d be in a wooded area. They do not do swimming there but they do get to go to a creekside swimming hole and play in sprinklers each day.

He will go to camp but Darling and I must decide in the next two weeks. I hate being pressured! At least I do not even have to consider what to do with Bugaboo this year. He has year-round school! Easy decision!

4 thoughts on “One Down, One to Go

  1. Anonymous says:

    So it sounds like you can afford 2 weeks of the college camp or 3 weeks of the camp at the Arboretum, but the arboretum camp has the bug/chemical issue. My opinion (from the one who has no children and really no clue)? The college camp because if he has an allergic reaction he will be miserable, unable to tell you, and that in turn will affect you, the rest of your family, and life in general. Let us know what you and Darling decide.

  2. Mommy Brain says:

    {{{m-j}}} We all hit rock bottom from time to time. You’re allowed. I’ve actually sent people to your blog when their son was diagnosed with Autism because I think you do such an awesome job with your kids.

    As for camp, is it possible to spread out the weeks? Instead of two weeks straight do one week on, on week off? That way you spread out the scheduled time? Good luck with your decision!

  3. Perky says:

    Also check out some of the daycares in the area. Our daycare does “camp” in the summer. That means that they keep their regular schedule for the most part, but do a little less academic work and a little more fun stuff. And the weekly price is on the very low end of what you’re looking at (about $160/week). Many of the “graduates” from the daycare come back for the summer until about age 8 because it’s so much fun and so affordable!

  4. farmwifetwo says:

    I hate summer camps. I sent my eldest last year and even with support it just didn’t work. I sent him to a March Break camp but there was too much going on, and not enough supervision for a high needs child that gets bored easily. I’ve got that came down from 2 weeks to one for the summer.

    The where isn’t important, the what is. They must be kept busy the entire time they are there or it needs to be a low child/adult ratio. Dead time… and they fall apart or get bored which is just as bad.

    This year a friend of mine is taking kids at her home. Another is going to do a summer daycamp with the Y here in the village…
    both understand “dead-time” both work with kids.

    Guess where I’m sending my eldest. The little one will stay with his respite worker. I’m going to send them 2 or 3 times a week.

    Good luck. Ask lots of questions.


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