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July 27, 2012

Another milestone for Alistair this summer was his first foray into day camp.

He went to Lego Robot Camp (actual name:  Early Elementary Robotics workshop) at a local university for a week earlier in July.  Actually, it was only three half-days, but you get the idea.

Little boy + Legos + Robots, what could go wrong?  I thought I’d picked a winner – and indeed, I did.  He had a great time!

The instructors sent a daily update to the parents:

Day 1: 
We had an amazing day! This is a great group of kids. Today we started the day with the children introducing themselves and telling everyone else about what they had built. Next everyone built sturdy towers. They were asked to make the towers sturdy enough to stand up to the wind (a flick with a counselor’s finger). We ended the day with an introduction to the RCX and everyone made something move.

Day 2:

Today, we worked on transportation for the town. The children chose to build a train, a bus or a car. This allowed them to get more experience with sturdy building and beginning programming. Next, each group began working on their contribution to the city. They will finish these tomorrow and display them during tomorrow’s open house

Day 3 was the aforementioned Open House.  Alistair and his partner Mateo were pleased as punch to show off their project:

He and I went to lunch at Johnny Rockets afterward, which is conveniently located in the same mall at the local Lego store. Purely coincidental, I’m sure.

This week was his first week at our town’s community camp, and I’m sorry to report that his experience was not so pleasant there.

I got a phone call from the counselor two hours into his first day, saying he’d been crying for the past half hour and couldn’t calm himself down.  My father picked him up and brought him home.  He said he didn’t like it, it was boring, it was just not fun.

When we got home, Larry and I tried to solve the problem the good old-fashioned way – with bribery.  “If you go to camp every day for the rest of the week, you can get a new app every day, and on Friday we can pre-order the new Mario game for 3DS.

So he made it through Tuesday, and got a new app.

However, come Wednesday morning, he was sobbing before we even got into the building.  SOBBING, I tell you !  He laid down on the floor and sobbed.

Now I don’t know what you would have done in this situation, but I’ll tell you what I did.  I turned around and brought him home.

Oh, I lectured him all the way home about how there are plenty of things in life I don’t like to do, that I find boring, etc., etc., but that I have to do anyway.  (I may have lost my composure at various points.)

I told him he was not to play Wii or on the computer.  No problem.

And he didn’t – my mother said he never even asked to.

When we got home Wednesday night, he said he didn’t want to go anymore, and that he’d clean his room and read books instead.

Listen, when a six-year-old boy tells you he’d rather clean his room than go to camp, you have to give in.  And ask what it is about camp that he didn’t like.

He said it’s very noisy and loud and he didn’t know a lot of the kids and that nobody really played with him.

Now, after speaking with my niece who goes to and LOVES the same camp, here’s what I’ve got:

The schedule for the day goes like this:


Free playtime (ie, kids play what they want, with whoever they want)


Pool time


Free playtime

end of day

This sort of schedule doesn’t work for Alistair at the best of times – If he’s invited to play, he’ll play just fine.  But left to his own devices, he will sit and watch a bunch of kids play rather than walk over to the group and ask to join.








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