Camp Mommy

So today was the first day of Camp Mommy (the week between camp and school — I’ve never really been a fan of the name, but for now I’ll hop on the bandwagon). It was a big deal for me. This whole summer has been a bit of a blur so far. Rant: I say ‘so far’ because, even though camp is over and back-to-school season has gone into effect at every single store nationwide, there is still well over a month of “summer” left! You’d better believe I’ll still be wearing white and carrying sunblock under my stroller at all times, and you won’t be seeing me with Lincoln Park After Dark on my nails for a while. Rant over.

Why has this summer been a blur? For those just tuning in, I had a baby in the middle of July. The weeks leading up to her arrival were filled with extra pounds to carry, a decrease in the speed of my strut, varicose veins, frequent trips to the bathroom (more so; I’ve always been a frequent flyer in that category) and a Unisom addiction. On the other hand, for almost three weeks I had all three kids in day camp, leaving me six hours a day to myself in what I fondly refer to as the Summer of Al. I’ve also heard it  called “Mommy Camp”, not to be confused with the title of this post. Mommy Camp is awesome. You can nap. You can get your own 16 Handles. Go ahead, have an adult conversation without interruption. Take a bus. Sit by the pool and don’t worry about the fact that it goes up to nine feet. Go to the bathroom without a toddler eagerly hovering until you’re finished so she can hand you a dime-sized piece of toilet paper. You can go shopping, wander aimlessly, sit on a bench, people watch and a personal favorite, cross the street even when the red hand is still lit. Gasp. Mommy Camp is the best; please sign me up for the early bird rate for Summer 2017.

Mommy Camp came to a halt when this baby was born. Don’t get me wrong: she’s a joy. And I could still do many of the activities I used to do back at Mommy Camp. Granted, there was this tiny human following me everywhere, but she isn’t grabbing the slurpee out of my hands just yet. Up until last week there was always an extra set of hands. Whether it was Omi (Craig’s mom) or Craig, who had four weeks of paternity leave, I didn’t truly have all four boogers to myself except maybe for a couple of hours between camp and bedtime. But then day camp ended. Or should I say, Camp Mommy began.

Ever since I found out I was pregnant with baby G, I’ve been trying to figure out logistically the best way to ride the subway. Every kid is different. It happens to be that my 3.5 year old still rides in the stroller. Maybe that’s an issue that needs to be worked on but for now, making him walk isn’t an option and Lisi can’t be trusted. The plan was that Annie would walk, the middles would sit in the double stroller and the baby will ride in the carrier. I grabbed my Metrocard and hit the road.

I decided to start with a bang while I had the energy. I didn’t really have a plan when we left in the morning other than taking the train to the opposite end of the city. I fell in love with Battery Park last summer and thought we could head there. When we successfully made in down to Bowling Green, a trip that required two trains and five elevators, I felt a rush. The kids were happy and we had plenty of food so I announced, Who wants to go on a boat? Three hands enthusiastically shot up into the air, Meeeeee! At the end of last summer, we all went to Governor’s Island. In all honesty, it sucked. It was crazy hot and super crowded, and we were cranky and hungry. Terrible mix. I thought we’d redeem it.

Of course the ferry ride alone did it for them. It’s a $2 trip, and we sat downstairs with the bikes on the lower level. I nursed the baby, Annie stood outside totally mesmerized and Judah was giddy while staring at the Freedom Tower, the inspiration behind so many of his Magnatile creations. 

When we got to the island it was a lot different than last year. It was empty. Almost all of the stands were closed and maybe a couple dozen people were there total. It was as if we had the island to ourselves. We picnicked and chilled. There was no line for the swings, the hammocks were pretty much empty and the porta-potties were clean. I think it may have been just as hot as last year, but Starbucks gave us venti ice waters so we were happy.

A great day was had by all. I’ll leave out the part about the giant baby-shaped sweat stain on my shirt from wearing Gabriella. And the part where Lisi had a meltdown and insisted on standing in the stroller. Or the time when I almost left Judah on the island because he refused to get out of his hammock. But hey, I did it. I did it by myself and I’d do it again. I can’t wait to see where Camp Mommy takes us. And by Camp Mommy, I mean life. 

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