Sunday, 1 May 2011

Pavlov Would Be Proud

I look over at the caller ID. Kids' summer camp. Glance at my purse. Yup, cheque still in there. Envelope didn't mail itself.

I answer the phone cringing.

"Do you have a minute?" Camp Director asks. Quick sigh of relief: he's not calling about the money, followed by a sharp intake of breath: something else might be wrong.

Turns out a family called to complain about one of my kids. The middle one, G. I can't help but gasp - "Are you sure it was G? My boys really look alike."

Camp doesn't want to give me any of the details. Wants me to speak to G and ask him if anything happened with him and anyone else in camp, gently steer the conversation over to a canoe trip and see what I can come up with.

I call my husband from the car crying hysterically admitting that I have almost no information other than a vague hunch that something is really wrong calmly tell him the story. Husband says "G? Are you sure it was him? A lot of people mix them up."

I race home in time to take G to swim team. He opens the car door and I, gently as instructed, steer the conversation as casually as possible: "Do you have your goggles? Did anything happen at camp this summer when you were on the canoe trip?"

"I took my sister's goggles. We didn't go on a canoe trip."

Off to a great start.

"Did you go on a camping trip?"

"Oh, a camping trip. Yeah."

"Did anything happen?"

"Like what?"

I don't have this kind of time. Throwing all illusion of an enigma to the wind, I say: "G, someone called camp complaining about you. Apparently something happened on the canoe I mean camping trip that didn't go very well. Did you have any problems with anyone at camp?"

"Are you sure they meant me and not my brother?"

(Finally, we are getting somewhere.)

"They definitely meant you."

"OH well there was one guy."

"Uh-huh?" Like sand through the hourglass.

"And he spit on the floor all the time and I thought it was really gross. He spit on the FLOOR, Mom. The floor of our BUNK. On the CANOE TRIP he SPIT on the FLOOR of our TENT. Where we SLEPT. He spit EVERYWHERE. I tried to talk to him but finally I had no choice. I had to do SOMETHING. I had to take MATTERS into my own HANDS"

Nervous. The G honeymoon may be over. "So what did you do?"

"I put him on a chart."

"A chart? Is that a camp thing?"

"No, Mom. A CHART. Like for behavior. Every day that he didn't spit I gave him a star. And then at the end of the week, if he had all stars, I promised him an Aero bar from the tuck shop. And you know what Mom, the plan totally worked. He stopped spitting that day. His chart FILLED up with STARS. He must've really wanted that chocolate bar."

Now, if only I can get the envelope to mail itself...


  1. you must be so proud! G is the spitting image of you. Pun intended.

  2. Im laughing so hard im crying!!! and in the back of my mind i have confirmation of my parenting techniques from a child! i love it