Chef's Widows' Son is Technology Obsessed at Nature Camp

Last night the Chef and I dropped the boy off at his nature camp overnight campout. He was all suited up with his sleeping bag, a tent, a change of undies, and an endless supply of snacks and coconut water. Before we left the house, the boy ran downstairs clutching his DS. He approached us and said that everyone in his group was bringing their DS so they could all play together. The Chef and I, always crazy over restrictive when it comes to technology & electronics loosened up our belt buckles and gave in.

As we walked the boy to the campsite to take a few pictures, we listened as the head of camp told all the parents the rule of the night:

If a kid says they want to leave, then they leave. The parents are called and must come get the kid. There is no discussion, no talking into staying, nothing, zilch, zip, home. 

The Chef and I said our goodbyes not even thinking for a second that the boy would want to leave (he had a freakin' blast last year) and left ready to spend a 'night in' without the minis (Biggie Smalls slept at her grandparents). We were about to have some much needed alone time.

We drove home, made ourselves a spritz, and popped in a movie. Naturally we fell asleep halfway through the flick and were awoken at 10:39 pm by the obnoxius ring of my telephone. An unknown number flashed on the screen and I knew immediately that camp was calling and the boy wanted to go home. I groggily answered the phone. The head of the camp informed me that yes my son did want to come home, but that I shouldn't worry or take offense. Take offense? I thought, why in the hell would I take offense? And then she told me. She told me what was so upsetting to my boy that would make him want to leave the campout of all campouts. The boy would like to come home, she said, because there is no wi-fi for his DS. He couldn't get Netflix to work and he wanted to come home.  Shocked and still half asleep I dropped the phone as the Chef kept trying to read my face as to what in god's name was going on.

There's no wi-fi in this tent ma!

He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi. He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.He wants to come home because there is no wi-fi.

Her words kept playing and replaying in my head as I tried to say them aloud to the Chef. Embarrassed as all hell, I found my voice and said that we'd be right over, but first would it be possible to speak with our technology obsessed 7 year old?

I handed the phone off to the Chef and the boy began to speak. He told the Chef he missed me and wanted to come home. The Chef questioned that response and soon heard the real reason. His tent didn't have wi-fi. areyoufuckingkiddingmearewethatbadofparentsthatourkidcantevengotoacapoutwithoutwifi?

I lost my shiznit. The Chef got dressed, put on his shoes and headed 20 minutes east to pick up our mini Steve Jobs. By the time he got there, the boy was snuggled up in his sleeping bag, sound freaking asleep. But a camp rule is a camp rule and my boys drove home (where the wi-fi is a plenty).

The boy woke up early with me today  and I took the opportunity to have a chat with him. He knew that he was in the wrong for leaving nature camp for such a silly reason, but deep down I think he really did want to come home (wi-fi or no wi-fi). I told him that I made a mistake too. I shouldn't have let him take the DS to camp but had felt pressure when I saw that all the boys in his group had been bringing them to camp since day one. I told him I should have stuck to my initial answer of "no you cannot bring your DS to an outdoor nature camp sleepover" instead of succumbing to the "everyone else was doing it" mentality. I was  just as at fault as he was.

You see, as a family we don't hide from technology (duh) but we certainly limit the mini's access to it. We don't have cable and the mini's can only play computer/watch TV/use electronics for 30 minutes a day only if all of their homework is done (during school year) or their room is cleaned (in the summer months). We indulge in movies and silly reality TV on occasion as a family but for the most part we like to spend our time outside exploring our city. When I heard the reason why the boy wanted to leave I must admit, I was devastated and embarrassed. All the hard work I put in to make sure my kids see the world and not a TV screen had just exploded in my face.

I messaged a close friend whose kids were also at the campout and told her what happened. I told her how I felt like shit and was embarrassed that my son had acted like a brat.  She quickly reminded me that it was absurd that a nature camp would allow any electronics at all and that I wasn't totally to blame for my son's techological outburst. I continued feeling bad for a moment and then remembered what this parenting thing is all about.

As parents we make mistakes. We make them on the daily, shit, I make them hourly. We also tend to hold ourselves and our children to obscenely high standards, and when one little thing upset those standards its easy for the world to come crashing down. I know I am a good mom. Deep down on the inside of my soul I know I do a good fucking job. I may say the f word too much (see above) but I know that the choices I make are all for the happiness and goodness of my children.

ALTHOUGH that is a pretty hard thing to remember when a camp counsellor calls you at 10:39pm to tell you that your 7 year old son wants to go home because there is no mutha fuckin wi-fi (my words not his) in his tent. But remember I will, if it ever (and it better not Catcher!!) happens again. 

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I love our camp. Like crazy love it. It's old school camp meets the metroparks awesome goodness. But if you call yourself "nature camp" my personal opinion is that you totally shouldn't allow  DS, iphone, ipad, and whatever else I saw 50% of the kids bringing to camp. #justsayin