Too Early for Sleep Away Camp?

This morning, I dropped the Pumpkin off at her school all packed up for her first overnight school trip. She is slightly nervous about being away from us. I am very nervous about her being away from us. She is very excited about doing academic work that isn’t in a classroom. I am slightly excited about not having to yell at anyone in the morning for the next two days.

Is nine too young for an overnight trip without Mom or Dad? In the case of the Pumpkin, absolutely. The only reason she is going is because this trip has been tied to her science grade so she has to go. We had to pay $130. I’m not crazy about having to go along with something I’m not entirely sure is a good idea and then being charged for it.

Her teachers only know the Pumpkin when she’s on meds. They aren’t there when it takes two grown adults and often a fair amount of yelling to get her out of bed, dressed, and presentable for school. I am hoping that seeing the other kids going through their morning routines will inspire her to also go through her routine. The worst thing that happens, perhaps she doesn’t brush her teeth or hair for two days.

Yesterday, she was in charge of packing her suitcase. I was very proud of her that she laid everything out just like I do and when we checked the list, she had collected everything perfectly. We then figured out the best way to fold everything so it fit in the bag. We reviewed the suitcase rule: only take out what you need and put everything back in so it stays together. Since she’s lost two sweatshirts in the last four weeks, I will be very shocked if everything makes it back home. We’ll probably have to go back and pick the stuff up because buying new clothes are out of the question.

Her meds are fairly hardcore. They’re a controlled substance that we need to show ID to pickup and can only get a month’s supply at a time. I’m not comfortable with any other adult other than her Dad or I administering her meds. However, being that this is an educational trip where she’ll have to follow directions, we decided to provide her teacher with her meds. God-forbid, in the craziness that is a camping trip with 50+ third-graders, something happens. I’m going to be furious because this entire trip is something that I am not comfortable with in the slightest.

What her teacher doesn’t realize, but is about to discover, that it’s one thing to have the pleasure of my daughter’s company when she is on her meds, but altogether another thing entirely when they wear off. For two hours every morning and from roughly 4 p.m. on-wards, you are going to have your hands full. At home, we’re used to the increased energy and have adapted. For someone who’s not used to the change, it’s quite a challenge to manage, even when the ratio of adult to Pumpkin is one to one. And there will be 50+ other kids. Naturally, I’m very nervous about this entire thing.

I am hoping that the newness of the experience will hold the Pumpkin in check. Often, new experiences are stimulating enough that she doesn’t even need meds to control impulses and process information effectively. Being around other kids may also help as she can see what she’s supposed to be doing at any given moment. I hope she has a wonderful time and gains a new sense of confidence that comes with being independent.

I will be very happy when she’s back home, safe and sound. Meanwhile, the Husband is going to distract me with things we normally can’t do, like a romantic dinner with cloth napkins at someplace that doesn’t have chicken fingers on the menu.


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