Monday, June 30, 2008

A Three Hour Cruise...

Nothing to make one yearn for a desk job like hard, grueling labor. Take, say, cattle roping, working an offshore oilrig, or heavy construction. All look pretty cush after three days of three hours straight with 15 toddlers.

Yes it’s joyful to spend time and share in the innocence and play of children blah blah blah. But I am wearing out the little belt holster on my cell phone from checking the time so often. It is astounding the pure elasticity of time from, say, 10:42 to 10:44. Can that really only have been two minutes? We just sang, crawled like crabs and did an art project? In contrast to the Buddhist idea of relaxing into the impermanence of everything, that time is passing and so shall all things, I may well have discovered the one thing that brings time to a clawing, numbing, screeching halt.

So 15 kids – Adler, August, Bodie, Bennett, Clara, Ethan, Hannah, Jessie, Joshua, Juri, Kanto, Marisa, Matthias, Rohan and Sadie. All cute and charming individually. Put them together and I feel like the targeted Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

This week we tried a range of activities: collecting and painting rocks like lady bugs, singing everything from Rolly Polly to I’m a Little Tea Pot, dancing to Aloyce the drummer, and crown-making This is the stuff of college application essays.

Lessons learned from week one at Camp Msasani:
  • Many short activities are needed. The morning is now broken into 8 different segments ranging from circle time/singing to art activities to movement activities, with plenty of free time.
  • Hydrate hydrate hydrate – dealing with toddlers for three hours is, according to experts, comparable to running a marathon. So lots of liquids, carbo-loading, and glucose gel.
  • Have bloody mary’s ready at 11:30 pick-up. It gets parents there on time and is a nice carrot to make it through the morning.
  • Change Ivy League curricula to somewhere address toddler’s mercurial needs. Maybe cut a little Milton or Shakespeare and substitute with something more real world, like how to deal with a screaming two year old in the midst of a temper tantrum because the dog won’t let her grab its tail.
  • Finally, don’t worry if you screw up. Stay just shy of permanent traumatization and you’ll be fine. They won’t remember any of this, because, hey, they’re only two years old!

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