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Friday, May 18, 2012

Code Green

by Jody Worsham All rights reserved for Camp Sin-a-way-for-Summer
My seven-year-old has decided that he is through with first grade now,even though there is another week of school left. I know this because his behavior rating he gets from his teacher at the end of each day has not been green. Green is "good", Yellow is "Better get your act together, son." Orange is "No tv, video games, or snake barfings." Red is "Butt whoppin' time". This week he came home with either orange or yellow every day.
In a last desperate effor to finish the week on a high note, I resorted to the age old method of discipline parents have ascribed to for generations...bribery. If he came home with Green on his behavior card, we would go camping in the woods. This is a major sacrifice on my part. To me camping is an air conditioned RV with cable, running water, and a McDonald's and Wal-Mart within two miles.
This afternoon he proudly showed me his Green card; that sounds funny. When I asked him if it was hard to get Green today and he said "No." "Then why didn't you get green on those other days?" I asked. "I didn't have a goal. Let's go camping."
We had to stop at Wal-Mart for Hershey chocolate bars, graham crackers, and marshmellows. You can not go camping without making S'mores. I talked him into eating our hot dogs at the house before we loaded the pick-up and headed across the street to some wooded acreage we owned. My plan was to stay until midight, then come back across the street to our house. He evidently thought we were going to live there the rest of the summer judging from the number of sleeping bags, extra clothing, stuffed animals, bottled water, pup tent, flashlights, and games he had packed. His sister packed twice as much. Girls tend to do that. They were as excited as if we had announced we were going to live at Disney World for the rest of our lives.
Two hours later the fire had died down, we were sticky with marshmellow goo, and Dr. Hubby and I were enjoying watching the fire and having a conversation. The novelty of camping out had worn off and without any snakes to entertain themselves, the children resorted to their stand-by activity ...aggrevating each oher. They alternated dragging the sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals from the tent to the bed of the pick-up and back while maintaining constant bickering, complaining, and tattling. I finally got in the bed of the pick-up to see if I could get the seven-year-old to settle down and go to sleep. We enjoyed looking at the stars for about five-seconds;then he started telling me about Pluto and why it wasn't a planet any more, that we were on the dark side away from the sun and the Chinese were waking up about now, when would the sun burn out, and the fact that he didn't understand why Mars was still a planet. With my lesson in astronomy over and my back and rear-end numb from the hard pick-up bed, I went back to my lawn chair and the fire.
"Don't worry," said Dr. Hubby, "the coyotes will start howeling soon and they will be ready to go back to the house." They started howeling right on cue. From the pick-up bed I heard "I've got to survive. I'm only seven." I looked at the pup tent which was the right size for a three-year-old and noticed that the ten-teen must have been practicing her cheerleading routine inside or else she was preparing to go to war with the coyotes because the tent resembled some alien pod struggling to morph into Godzilla.
At 11:00 all was quiet. We started loading everything back into the bed of the pick-up, being careful not to disturb the sleeping survivor. The ten teen was crushed that we were leaving and wanted to know if we could come back and spend the whole night tomorow night. I promised that we would camp again, soon. I just didn't tell her how soon.
I am considering withdrawing my first grader from school early. I don't think I could surivie anymore Code Green bribes.


Anonymous said...

ya gotta come up with a bribe that doesn't involve self torture. How about a movie and an extra large popcorn?

Sharon said...

What a story! Perhaps for green for the whole last week he could earn an afternoon at Chuck E Cheese.

Wanda said...

Funny funny. My idea of camping is a Hilton with room service. So glad you survived tho. We have a book to finish.

Jody Worsham said...

anybody know why my paragraphs aren't showing up? On the new post where I typed this, all the paragraphs are there but when I look at it , it is one giant loooooong paragraph.

joanne lee said...

All I can say is that you are one brave woman!