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Why You Need Plan B during Cousin Camp

July 20, 2019

So who’s strongest? Working together gets the job done. (Ha. The bale doesn’t actually budge.)

Another Way for week of July 19, 2019

Why You Need Plan B during Cousin Camp

The second in a four-part series on “Learnings from Cousin Camp” by columnist Melodie Davis.

Last week I began this short series on the pretty ambitious but so-rewarding experience of having our three oldest grandsons stay with us for one week. We came up with a day by day schedule, and like all good schedules, promptly wiggled some things around.

If you read last week’s column, you may recall Tuesday’s plans:

Go to morning $1 parent-approved movie, Paddington Bear 2; shop for sleeping bags at Walmart?; playground if time; write letters home and field trip to post office.

Whoa boy: that was way beyond ambitious, and here are some memorable moments on how we needed to punt.

First, this was the first time these boys had been to a real theater, period. Also, none of them watch much TV, and very few videos, mainly at preschool or at childcare.

A one-and-a-half hour movie—with the previews and “commercials”—took up almost all of the morning. We wound up just running to Chick-fil-A afterwards for a quick lunch, even with longish lines!). Chic-fil-a was our pick because it provides a gluten free option for grandson J.

Paddington 2 turned out to be quite traumatic for the youngest boy, H, who is three and a half and normally doesn’t cry very easily. But as his mother had reported, if he breaks down, he just wails and can’t get his breath, quite dramatically. Yet I do not regret going to this movie (spoiler alert). For me it was a side-splitter—just hilarious i n places and completely kid safe but very sad at one point when it looks like Paddington is going to drown. I kept telling H that Paddington wouldn’t drown. But we spent significant time afterword calming him down. As we left the building, he kept looking back at it, perhaps trying to figure out just what kind of place a theater was. I think he was also uncertain of what was real and unreal.

I was relieved a day or so later when he volunteered that he was scared that Paddington was going to drown when he fell off the train into the water. I was glad he was able to talk about his experience and feelings. The ending of the movie is very happy with a teachable moment, so I’ll leave it at that.

H draws pictures for his “letter” home.

Any doubt these boys love their Aunt Doreen?

We skipped the stops at Walmart and our town’s best playground—we really didn’t have time before afternoon rest time. It was also so hot that week I couldn’t imagine them playing in sleeping bags under a real or pretend tent, and it was too warm to think of trying to set up a tent which hadn’t been pulled out of the basement in over 10 years (perhaps moldy?). Later in the day, after naps/rest time, the two older boys did write “letters” to their parents—me spelling words that they wanted to use. And then they drew pictures and added lots and lots of stickers. They still love stickers. But by this time, I knew that trying to write a letter was quite beyond the three-year-old’s interest level, so he just colored on paper.

With sun hats and hearing protection for all, Doreen drives the boys on their requested “tractor ride,” while Grandpa rides tailgunner.

The lesson here? Make a master plan, but be flexible. My plan to work on their “Cousin Camp 2019” T-shirts got simplified and reduced to about ten minutes the next day. These boys aren’t into long craft projects! I also wanted to take the kids to our post office to mail their letters: a quaint old timey office where one lone postal worker processes most things by hand. I had reasoned that in their lifetime, they’ll see the demise of most smaller post offices—or perhaps all. It was still a learning experience: where you put things on an envelope (the return address, the stamp, and the main address); and how to lick an envelope—another new experience. Instead of driving to the post office, we just dropped them in my mailbox. S asked “Why is your mailbox on the other side of the road?” Kind of sounds like the beginning of a bad “chicken cross the road” joke. All in all, a “new experiences day” in a week of mostly fun.

My next column is called “Don’t Try This Alone.” Don’t miss it!

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Having a Plan B is always good advice! When have you defaulted to Plan B or C with your family or activities or travels? We’d love to hear your trials and your triumphs.

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For a copy of all four columns on “Learnings from Cousin Camp,” you can write or email me at anotherwaymedia@yahoo.com or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834 and I’ll send it to you by mail or email when the series is finished.

6 Comments
  1. Silver, Beverly P - silverbp permalink

    I tried to go to the pst but Safari said it could notl find the site. Really curious about Chapter two. Could you send it again? Thanks! Bev.

  2. Plans A-Z would all work. It’s all about the love. Shown in abundance in this post.

    • I like your thought here that it doesn’t so much matter what you do, it’s the love shown and shared. Thank you, Shirley.

  3. Very age-appropriate with tangible stuff to save here, Melodie. I remember when our grands were the ages of yours.

    Now they’re into bowling and horse-back riding. Yes, it’s all about the love!

    • Thanks for commenting and sharing what to do with teens/adolescents! Now I have even more ideas from a day camp we helped with last week (and Stuart did two weeks).

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