I took Penny to diabetes camp this past weekend.
It's exhausting, but she obviously gets so much out of it that I can't imagine not doing it.
Last year, we left right after school, got caught in traffic, and nearly missed dinner. So this year, I signed her out of school before lunch. We met Matt for lunch, then went shopping for snacks, and then hit the road. So, naturally, we encountered absolutely no traffic and were there an hour before check-in was supposed to start.
We wound up in the same cabin as last time, and since we were first through the door, Penny got her pick of bunks... so she chose the exact same bunk as last year.
When I moved the car back to the parking area, Penny hopped out of the car and immediately -- and I mean immediately -- spotted a four-leafed clover. How cool is that? I pressed it in the little notebook I'd brought along.
When our cabin counselor/nurse showed up with the name list, it turned out that Penny's favorite friend from last year's camp was going to be in with us again -- she nearly lost her mind with joy, and spent the next two hours avidly watching the door, waiting for her to show up, which she finally did just before dinner. We also had some new kids arrive; Penny made friends with two of them right away. (The last one, being a couple of years younger than the other girls, was a little left out occasionally, unfortunately.)
Just like last year, there were games pitting the cabins against each other. Some of the games were really cute, like the giant slingshot with the live target:
...or the game of human Battleship:
I think the ODU students running the games weighted the scores for participant age, because our cabin won! That got us a stack of $5 gift certificates to use at the camp store (which, weirdly, was only open for two hours on Saturday -- from 10-11, and from 4-5).
There was, of course, a fire after the games. (This year, they got it started while the games were still going on, which was nice.) With s'mores. Penny asked me to roast her marshmallow for her. "I want it to be perfect, Mom!"
The next day, we went rock climbing right after breakfast. Penny was initially on board, but got bored waiting for her turn and gave up. (To be fair, the girls who were on the wall ahead of her were both very slow, and very determined to make it to the top.) Several of our cabin-mates, however, made it to the top to ring the bell. Multiple times, even!
Then we went fishing. Penny was very enthusiastic about it, but alas, caught nothing this year. We took a short break after the fishing to visit the camp store and spend our gift certificates, and then went to the leatherworking shop, where each girl got to make a keychain, and each adult got to nurse a killer headache from all the hammer pounding.
After lunch, we had a Q&A session with the attending doctors -- some of the kids asked some great, thoughtful questions. Penny, tasked with "stumping Doctor Marta", asked what the carb count was on honeysuckle nectar, which did, indeed, stump all the doctors and nurses and counselors present. Then the kids went back to their cabins to work on their skits for that night while the Q&A continued with the parents.
Our first activity of the afternoon was pony riding (next year, we'll get to do real horseback riding, I think), and then a hay ride.
The hay ride was about half an hour long, and at about the 25-minute mark, the skies opened up. We all got pretty drenched, between the last bit of the ride and then the run back to our cabin afterward. We voted to skip the second activity of the afternoon, which was canoeing. (I was just as happy about that. I don't have the arm strength to handle a paddle, even if my only passengers are a couple of eight-year-olds, and it was WAY too chilly to even contemplate a tumble into the river.)
So we worked on our skit for a while longer, and then the girls had a pillow fight that lasted until the moms realized that they were dropping their pillows on the muddy, filthy floor. (Next year, if I remember, I will bring a spare pillow case -- one for getting dirty, and one for sleeping on.)
One of the girls had a Flat Stanley with her, and her mom's phone camera wasn't working properly, so I took lots of pictures for her -- Flat Stanley in the bunk, Flat Stanley climbing the wall, Flat Stanley fishing, Flat Stanley riding a pony... I love the Flat Stanley project, I really do.
For their skit, the girls sang along with Weird Al's "Pancreas", and when they said the word "pancreas", they turned around and pointed to all us parents, who were sitting behind them on the stage, holding their diabetes supplies. (To indicate that we're doing this job that the pancreas should be doing for them.) We had fun making it crazy (the adults popped to our feet and did our best jazz-hands, and on the line "metabolizing those carbohydrates," one girl held up a big gingerbread stuffie, and her dad snatched it and pretended to eat it). At any rate, we got a big giggle out of the whole thing, which was pretty much the whole point.
And of course, there was ice cream after that, and then we had the fun of trying to get a cabin-full of little, sugar-wired girls to settle down and go to sleep.
We were all sad to leave the next morning -- well, the girls were, at any rate. The adults were all looking forward to clean bathrooms and proper showers and sleeping in our own beds!