Posted by: Ofer Aronskind | June 12, 2011

Parenting Tips from A Camp Counselor

So I’m sitting in my backyard, minding my own business. Its hot –90 degrees — I have my dogs beside me, I have my NY Times, I have a pen to do the crossword with and I have a tall glass of iced coffee. Does life get any better? And then, the party starts. Unbeknownst to me, due to the heat, the Millburn school system decided to let the kids out at half day. And sure enough, it looks like they let them all out right into my backyard. First, a procession of junior boys being led by my oldest son. Not one of them under six feet tall (several 6’3”, 6’4”, you get the idea). I now feel like I’m lost in Land of the Giants. A TV show reference totally lost on this group of seventeen year-olds. Next come their female counterparts, towels in hand, ready to go swimming. Five minutes earlier it was just me, the Times and my iced coffee….now there’s thirty kids in my backyard. It goes without saying — there was no crossword puzzle being attempted that afternoon.

Wait, it gets better. By the time I go in the house to get drinks, snacks, order pizza…the works, the next group shows up. This time its my twin fourteen year-old boys being followed by their own procession of eighth graders — boys and girls — looking to cool off in the pool. Problem. The seventeen year-old thought he had the backyard all to him and his friends. The fourteen year-olds thought they had afternoon possession of the pool. Now the two armies — fourteen v. seventeen — are ready to engage in battle. The fact that all of them ruined my quiet afternoon isn’t even on the table.

What to do?? I jump into action and using my years as a camp counselor, I organize a game of wiffle ball for the fourteen year-olds while the big kids swim. Then later they switch and the fourteen year-olds jump in the pool. By the time the pizza arrive there is peace. That is, for everyone but me.

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