Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bug Spray, Summer Camp, Self-Denial

My brain is scattered tonight, a thought here, an image there, an idea somewhere else. Coming back from vacation is like this. It's hard to readjust, even after just a week, to alarm clocks and routines and focusing on work. It's hard to move to someone else's tempo instead of my own.

The only thing I didn't like about my vacation was the mosquitos. I came back with about twelve bites on each leg and for some reason I am really, really reactive to mosquitos this year. All of the bites turned bright red and have been very itchy for days. I've been having to use topical diphenhydramine and then take oral allergy medicine on top of it. Mosquitos seem to like me better than anyone else in my family, too. My husband and daughter don't have mosquito bites at all. It's not a great way to be popular, honestly.

I don't usually use bug spray. I worry that maybe it's not so good for me, that it's poisonous. But I don't want any more mosquito bites for a while, and it's kind of hot to wear long pants. So this week when we go out for evening walks as a family I've been spraying on the bug spray. Bug spray smells like summer camp, I have realized. I mentioned this to my husband and he responded instantly "yes!" so it's not just me. Such an odd thing, for two of us to be thrown back across a quarter century of time to humid Virginia nights in the woods with a bunch of other self-conscious awkward adolescents.

Our daughter is already asking if she can go to sleep away camp. I am not sure how this came up, although I suppose my husband and I were telling stories at some point and she overheard us. She's only four, so I tell her yes, but not until you're older. I wonder what she'll think of it when she goes. I remember being lonely and missing my mom, but my daughter is pretty calm about being separated from us. Of course, she's only ever spent the night with grandparents. Summer camp is a whole different ball game. I have to remember though, that she's herself and not me.

One way we're alike is that we don't like self-denial. We were getting ready to walk tonight and everyone was ready to go; shoes on, bug spray applied, bathroom stops taken care of. Our daughter was tired and asked to ride in her stroller. Mostly she's outgrown this but she did have a very active day and my husband and I wanted to really walk, so the stroller suited everyone's agenda. We retrieved it from the garage and opened up and then the requests began.

"I want a blanket."

In the past we have tucked blankets around her in late fall and early spring. It's too hot for blankets today, plus I don't want to go back in the house. It's already close to bedtime and I really want to get a walk in.

"No, it's too hot for blankets."

She climbs in the stroller and then announces "I want goldfish."

In the past we have given her a small snack in the stroller. We justified it to ourselves saying that she often doesn't eat much, she tends to be a little underweight, and it gets a few more calories into her. It also keeps her happy and quiet for at least a while so that we can enjoy our walk, which is probably the more honest reason for the treat. Tonight though, she ate a good dinner. And I still don't want to go back in the house and lose time from my walk.

I tell her "No, it's time to practice self-denial."

She immediately lets out a wail and announces "I don't like self-denial!"

Me too, sweetie. Me too. But we still went for a walk.