Monday, August 15, 2011

The Big Question

Curiousity may kill cats, but I'll be willing to be it kills moms sometimes, too.  The question I've heard most today is, "How did you manage to get a week off??"

The answer?

One kid in school, the other at camp.  Simple as that! 

Of course, it's never simple.  All this does involve me criss-crossing town twice a day to drop off and pick up my camp-bound son, and I did have to pay for it, and I do have to pack two lunches each morning (which is apparently exponentially harder than just packing one?? Who knew!), but hey, we all have to make sacrifices, right?

Back at the beginning of summer... say, April... I started talking to M1 about summer camps.  I gave him two options.  Option A consisted of an entire week of away camp; Option B consisted of a week at 1/2 & 1/2 camp and a second week at an entirely different camp later in the summer... so late, in fact, that school would already be in session and he would have to cram 36 weeks of education into 35 because we would still be following M2's school schedule... unless, of course, he wanted to extend his school year an extra week.

He chose Option B.  With cramming.

Now, after the incident at 1/2 & 1/2, he had been considering going with Option A next year, but I told him to hold off on that decision until after he'd been to his second week of camp.  I had a hunch that it was going to be a much better fit for him altogether and wanted to get his thoughts on the matter... and that we would cross next year's camp bridge when it came.


Q:  Why did I think this would be such a good fit for him? 
A:  It's a robotics camp, for kids going into grades 3-5, based around the Lego Mindstorm kits.  So it's specialized, a small age group, indoors, with - *gasp* - adults running the show instead of teen counselors!

Listen closely.  You'll hear angels singing.


I dropped him off this morning with a little trepidation.  I think that's to be expected.  The good news was that the list of names on the sign-in sheet totaled about 15.  Some, apparently, did not show, so the grand total is now 11.  Eleven children in the entire camp for the entire week.  There are no other camps at this location, and many schools are already back in session.  This makes this class smaller than the identical session they held earlier in the summer.  The atmosphere felt very comfortable.  After he put his lunchbox in the fridge, the kids were ushered into a cozy room full of computers so they could play on flight simulators.  Gosh, what a rough wait.  M1 could barely wait to be rid of me, so I left.

I ran errands.  I exercised.  I started cleaning my house.  Maybe it wasn't a fascinating day, but it was amazingly productive.

I picked M2 up from school first, and then we headed through town to pick up M1.  I'm not sure how the teacher managed it, but when I arrived a few minutes early, all 11 children were sitting quietly, raising their hands, and seemed absolutely captivated.

When I finally got my boy to the car, I learned just how excited he was about the program.  He's enthralled.  He's learning to program.  He gets to build the robot however he and his partner want.  The kids are paired in groups of 2 - one group of 3, which M1 declares is "not fair" - to build their robots.  M1 is paired with a boy named J, and M1 claims they get along quite well... he says they seem to have "a shared mind" about how the robot should look and work.  I'm sure you can imagine the relief on my face.  M1 also said that there was "no place for me to get punched... except on the playground," but that everyone played tag - the one game that he knows how to play extremely well!

I'm beyond thrilled that this is going so well for him.  I can't wait to see what challenges they cook up for the kids over the next few days, and I told M1 that I wanted to come see his robot on Friday when the camp wraps up.  Then I asked him if he was excited to go back tomorrow.

"No, not really."

Wait, WHAT???

"Well, I was excited today, but now I know what's going to be happening, so I'm not excited.  I already know it'll be another day full of fun."

A true Aspie answer.  What a great camp!

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