Spring Break, Magic Camp, and the “B-word”

By Juli

For me, this Spring Break has been … difficult. Now that my work is very full-time and my husband’s work is also full-time, and my children are both in school, I have become accustomed to the amount of time I have to do my work either after I drop my kids at school, or before I pick them up from school, and Spring Break does not fit very well into this plan. Also, Spring Break has apparently introduced a new word into my children’s vocabulary, a word that I happen to despise. I call it the “b-word” because for me it is worse than the original “b-word” (I may change my mind on that if my children start using the original one, though).

The “b-word” to which I am referring is the word “bored.” An example of it’s use is in the following exchange:
“I’m BORED, Mommy!”
“Well, work in your activity book,”
“But I’m BORED of my activity book!”
“Well, go clean up your room.”
“But I’m BORED of my room and I’m too TIRED to clean it up.”
“Well, go play with your stuffies.”
“But my stuffies are bored TOO!”
“Well, I am making dinner and cleaning and getting ready for work tonight and preparing our taxes and trying to contact your father! I WISH I was bored!”
“Mommmmyyyy. I’m BORRRRRED!!!”

So, somehow, their boredom is MY problem, and even if I COULD tune them out, they will be able to MAKE it my problem with their whines and their bodies slumping all over my workspace. So, realizing this during the first of two long weeks of Spring Break, I knew I needed to find a solution, and I needed it fast.

Thus I had to improvise — I looked for programs to put them in. Programs that had to be conveniently located, not too expensive, and would keep my kids engaged for hours while I scrambled to keep up the work-life balance that I was only barely managing before Spring Break.

And then I stumbled upon Magic Camp.

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Magic Camp! Located only a few minutes from my house! Magic Camp! Three hours a day for four days of a fascinating, magical experience for my kids! Magic Camp! It was affordable, and came with the promise that their neighbourhood friends wold be enrolled too! I signed them both up.

When we arrived for the first day, the room was bare, save for a lone magician, some tables and chairs, and some LEGO in the corner. The Magician was friendly enough, and excited to meet the kids and introduce them to magic, but I was wondering how he was going to keep the kids entertained for almost three hours, for four days, all by himself. When I picked them up after that first day, I was greeted tearfully by my 5-almost-6-year-old. “Mommy … I want to do the wand disappearing trick, but I can’t, I just can’t because I don’t know how … and I know I want to be a MAGICIAN when I’m growed up, mommy!” It only took her a little while to come to the conclusion that she could still be a magician when she’s “growed” up, without learning all of the tricks there are out there. So — success! Not too shabby, Magic Camp.

But then I realized the major flaw with Magic Camp. Now I have to be a 24/7 audience for magic tricks from my two little magicians. This was adorable at first, especially when my son would perform one of his new tricks and I would incredulously cry out, “How did you do that!?” and my son would adopt a knowing grin, bow, and theatrically whisper “… magic!”

But soon it became a little difficult to do everything I needed to do while still giving my full attention to two competing magicians who would each require me to watch their tricks intently with complete focus, and who were also learning the technique of showmanship (apparently a very important part of being a magician), which means that their tricks require a very long set-up and a very drawn-out conclusion. I can’t dare to look at my phone for a second while there are two different magicians on either side of the room willing me to look at both of them while they are pulling a magic wand out of a tiny envelope through the power of magic.

And then, as the days of Magic Camp wore on, and it perhaps lost a bit of it’s “magic,” the dreaded b-word began to resurface.
“It’s time to go to Magic Camp!”
“But I’m BORED of Magic Camp, Mommy!”
Sigh. Of course you are. Also, now there is a very expensive magic kit that is available for purchase, and both my kids need me to buy it for them, even though my son got a magic kit for his birthday a few years ago that he has barely used. “You have a magic kit, A,” I said. “BUT this one does ALL DIFFERENT TRICKS, MOMMY! If you only pay $15 and I pay $15 we can get it!”

I have already spent $114 for each of them to attend Magic Camp for four days, one of which isn’t even a full day because apparently I have to come to watch their magic show, and apparently I also have to bring wads of cash so I can buy them both magic kits and they can both fulfill their four-day dream of becoming magicians. Hooray.

The good news is that I think I’ve figured out the trick. The trick of Magic Camp, you see, is that the Magician takes your money and, POOF, makes it disappear! Like MAGIC! But he can’t make the boredom disappear for your children, unfortunately. So the “b-word,” it seems, is here to stay. Until it is replaced with the other b-word, of course, when mommy decides to become a total “B” by refusing to spend large amounts of money on a magic kit.

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