Me, just after climbing the Knob, before I got stung by a humongous ground wasp. The swim test in that lake earlier in the week nearly killed me.
I thought I might call this post "17 kids and counting". It's been harder for me to avoid the large family reality shows lately. They show up everywhere I look. Kate Gosselin and the plus Eight were even in the hall outside The Golden Gallery as they passed by on their way to Caravan Beads. They were on a day trip whilst they were vacationing on nearby Bald Head Island.
Who's to say what I would be doing right now if they had seen the signs for my customizable characters, a la Mot and Dot. Up to my neck in orders?
Well, I have my own big brood a'comin'. An "insta-brood", you might say. On Sunday, I will head into the wilderness with 17 kids for a week long camping experience. I say wilderness. There are trees. And we are sleeping outside. In tents.
It's actually gonna be fun, and I am really looking forward to it. I have known most of these kids for about 6 years. Some I don't know at all, and some I know just a little. Fortunately, I have been to this camp before, so I know my way around. I know where the best plumbed bathrooms are, and a locking shower facility. I'm not sure I could handle 17 kids without that.
I also will have help from 4 other dads. That's fun, too. The hanging out with other dads part. And it spreads around the responsibility for keeping 17 kids alive and out of trouble.
Last year, on this same trip, I was really tested by this one kid. He's a bit of button-pusher, and has a knack for engaging in the most disruptive activity possible at the worst possible time. It's a gift, a talent, no doubt. Of course, every time this kid makes me say I am never gonna do this again, I get some glimpse into why he might behave the way he does. What kind of baggage he has. So I tell myself I will do better next time.
Although, I am up against a genius here. But I do have back-up. Maybe one of our various parenting styles will get through to the kid. I think he just wants to belong, but he mistakes making himself the center of attention for belonging. His antics got so bad last year, that the rest of the group would not let him ride in the passenger van on the way home. He rode with me in our mini-van, and my son, who gave up his chance to ride in the passenger van so that the kid would not have to ride by himself.
I tried talking to the kid on the ride home, but he's pretty good at staying just out of reach. Your questions get vague answers, and you can tell he is not really considering your questions before answering. Getting kicked off the passenger van really affected him, but I could tell he really did not understand that his behavior was making other kids not want to be around him.
Here's hoping that he has grown up some this year, that he feels more a part of things, and that I can do a better job remembering why he might be so hard to handle.