It is almost spring and the first specks of bold, new colors are sprouting among us.
No, not spring flowers silly. Sport and activity sign-up sheets!
We are averaging two to three a day at our house. Hot pink, neon green and goldenrod yellow forms abound, each competing for the first attention from our checkbook, if not our children.
Nothing. That lag time between New Year’s Day and March 1 really should have a name. I suggest we call it Eight Weeks of Blessed Nothingness.
Only in January and February can we really avoid the scourge of athletic and related competitions being waged all around us. At least this is true if you are fortunate enough to live in cold-weather climate.
You warm-weather people, on the other hand, are on your own. You probably play Little League Baseball on Christmas day for all I know.
Nonetheless, for the rest of us, blessed with icy winters and a cold, gray damp that causes the very breath to seize in our throats and seriously undermines the will to live, the first twinkling of spring can only mean one thing:
Get out your checkbooks and give your writing hand a good stretch. If not, you will surely cramp up badly as you fill out, one after another, the various papers for all the extracurricular activities and sporting events to come. These days, my counter runneth over with sign-up slips, sheets and forms galore.
Little League. What’s not to like, after all, about sitting on wooden bleachers built during the Revolutionary War, as parents all around you compete to see who can scream loudest at their children, other people’s far less talented children, the coach, fellow parents and the ignoramus who designed the field so your team is always facing the setting sun?
If small, weak-limbed players who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn manage to put a ball-shaped crack in your vehicle’s windshield, you will indeed have some priceless memories of the season.
Cheerleading Camp. Why let your child learn to do cartwheels and kickstands in the privacy of your own home?
And, why risk grass stains and the occasional errantly kicked table lamp or priceless heirloom, when you can pay upwards of $10 per half-hour to let your child learn to roll around the floor on the comfort of a sweat-encrusted gym mat?
No extra charge from some pint-sized, self-declared diva to declare your child’s shorts, T-shirt, shoes, hair clips or earlobes are “stupid” and thus scar her for life.
Cub Scout Day Camp. This one doesn’t even begin until June, but the intrepid, Type-A personalities at “Scout Central” want to make sure we all reserve our spaces early.
Apparently, there is a huge run on parents vying to sign up small boys for the chance to play with target pistols, bows and arrows, and fire.
I don’t see why I can’t simply allow my son to flirt with putting an eye out at home for free, but apparently one must pay good money for this.
Meanwhile, there is a real dearth of camps that really ought to exist, but don’t.
Make-Your-Own-Bed Camp. This exciting, one-week camp would introduce children to the wonderful world of bed-making, guaranteeing your child’s emergence from a well-rested stay, ready to wrestle a twin-size, Care Bears comforter into submission.
For a slight up-charge, young campers will learn how to pile 14,000 stuffed animals into the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement atop the bed at least once per day.
Laundry Camp. This camp would walk your child through the entire laundry experience: “Socks and Undies: Is Pink the New White?” and “Towels Are Not Actually Able to Walk Themselves to the Hamper.”
Note: Fathers would be cordially invited to attend this one free of charge.
No Means No Camp. Yes parents, it really IS a dream come true. With successful completion of this camp, you could retire, once and for all, the phrase “Which part of no didn’t you understand?”
Your child would return home able to understand the meaning of the word “no.” Advanced camps would include “Because I Said So” and “I’m the Mom/Dad. That’s Why.”
Still love ’em. That’s not to say I don’t love extracurricular activities as much as the next guy, assuming the next guy isn’t too fond of them and he is open to saving me the choice spot on the bleachers.
(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is an incurable joiner, even as she complains bitterly about it. She welcomes comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 38, Salem, OH 44460; or http://userweb.epohi.com/~kseabolt.)
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