Thursday, July 29, 2004

When summer vacation happens, children everywhere are thrilled ... for about the first week. Then boredom sets in. We, as parents, are responsible for the supervison and (to a lesser extent) the entertainment of our children. Some parents just send their children outside to play. Some buy new cartridges for the family X-Box. Some ship them off to other relatives' houses and hope that they find a way to keep them busy. Some, (like us) enroll our kids in daytime themed "camps" where they are supervised for us while we work to, uh, pay for the said camp. That just doesn't sound right, does it?

Banana and McMonk have started their run of summer camps. These past two weeks, our two little hams have been enrolled in the Pumphouse Theatre's camp. They get to learn about set design, diction, script writing, singing, costume preparation and other aspects of putting on a show. Each day as I drove them to camp on my way to work, they would bounce around in the back seat, revving themselves up so that they could run showmanship laps around each other and the other campers the moment they arrived. Even as we were getting out of the car with the other kids within earshot, Banana and McMonk needed to talk over each other. All of them at once seem to need the attention of the counselors, who were on the caffeinated activation level as their little charges. Wild hair styles, flashy clothes, ear-catching voices were all part of the normal atmosphere. They were in for a super, super, SUPER-charged day. It was an agoraphobic's nightmare. The end of the day was a different story.

When we came to pick them up, our children would quickly wind down from their frenzied, manic camp personas to a quieter version of themselves. They reverted to a version that needed solitude to recharge before the next high-energy camp day. We each breathed a sigh of relief and took them back home, where they retreated to their rooms and where they would read, play quietly or just relax for the rest of the evening.

Tonight was different. The plays that they had put together over the span of the camp were presented. Fifty sets of parents sat in the darkened theatre and watched what their children had been up to for the past two weeks. Filled with inside jokes, the performances were delightful. Each of the campers got the spotlight (literally) for a few moments. Lines that they had been dying to say, longing to deliver were finally presented. The performances were aimed at humor, but each character had wry, subtle touches of individuality that would only be recognized by a parent.

I am impressed but not surprised by the confidence that Banana and McMonk show when they are on stage, delivering to the masses. They are the kind of cool, confident kids that I was afraid to talk to as a youth. I hope they are nice to the shy, quiet kids.

No comments: