Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most talked about newspaper columnists, the author of Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother to Be, which has been translated into nine languages. Also the author of the bestsellers, Wiped!, Toddlers Gone Wild, and Rotten Apple, the first in a YA series. Random thoughts on life in the competitive world of modern mommyhood. Blog will be loved by trendy mothers who still feel, or often feel, that the most important word in "mommee" is ME!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Becky's Book Club, Blame, and Bribing...

Ok, this isn't really a book club. I'm not the type of person who can commit myself to something like that. But here are the three books that I've read in Provence that I highly recommend.

1) Elements of Style by Wendy Wasserstein. I suppose one would classify this as "chick lit" but a very good kind of chick lit. Loved it. Not too taxing on the brain and wanting to keep reading.

2) Love in the Present Tense, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Picked this up because author wrote Pay it Forward (which most of you would probably know from the awesome movie) I loved this book so much. Stayed up half the night reading it. In fact, will buy all of her books now.

3) Amy and Isabelle, by Elizabeth Strout. Another great book. Picked it up because it's about a mother/daughter relationship, but so much more. Amazing.

I just love when I pack three books and I love them all! It's the little things in life like that that make me happy, happy, happy. Pre-Dictator, I swear, my luggage would include, um, ten books or so.

But I do feel like my brain has turned to mush since having The Dictator. I thought three would be enough. It's not.

And, now, I'm out of books and still have a couple days left of vacation.

So I will be reading an autobiography by John Daly. He's a golfer, with a foul mouth and gambling issues. So maybe it's not really about golf (cross fingers, cross fingers.) I bought it for The Fiance. But, hey, you never know.

Now, I've been calling home to check on The Dictator, of course.

She started her first week of camp this week. Swimming camp. I was distraught, to say the least, when on her first two days, I heard she came home and refused to swim and her lunch hadn't been touched.

She loves swimming. The gal needs to eat! I didn't get it.

The Dictator is an October Baby, which means we were forced to make that decision to either keep her back or push her a bit forward. I chose to push her a bit forward. So, yes, some of the campers are a tad older than her.

And, yes, she actually can't really eat by herself yet (You have to open everything for her) and she's mostly toilet trained (but not entirely) and she can't swim on her own. (Someone has to watch her!)

So I freaked. And what does a mother who is so far away do when she hears something like this? Well, of course. I had to blame someone.

I was one second away from calling the camp, or sending a pushy e-mail saying, "What the hell is going on over there? She's not swimming and it's swim camp and she's not eating a thing. She's not even three! Someone should be HELPING HER!!!!"

If I were there, I'd have taken her in myself and had a little talking to the counselors. In a very nice, charming, flash my pearly whites way. (Then I would have spied on them!)

Yes, I will be VERY pushy. Especially when it comes to my child!

And, also, I hate to say this but we did buy the school a bus (or part of a bus, when they called telling me their bus for the school broke down and would I mind donating money.) I swear, I was so mad. I rather buy a couple of good counselors.

Sure, they'll call to ask me to donate for a bus, but when it comes to making sure my child is having fun at camp, where are they?

But, on her third day, my mother reported to me that The Dictator did swim and ate a couple Fruit Loops for lunch.

We had to send her to camp wearing her bathing suit (My suggestion, thank you very much...) and had my mother speak to counselors explaining she doesn't know how to open things by herself.

I didn't call or e-mail. I held back.

I learned that The Dictator does fancy one of the younger "counselors in training," who is 13, and will go swimming with her.

Then, after my initial, PHEW, I thought, "OK, THAT counselor in training will be getting a nice gift certificate to Lululemon, because she is taking care of my child!"

So, yes, maybe there does need to be some bribing involved. I'm not sure. But you can bet your bum that I will be getting that counselor in training the gift certificate.

And, also, when I get back, I will be spying when she goes to art camp. I know. But, have you ever spied on your kids from behind a tree?

This parenting thing, I swear, has so many layers. It's so political, isn't it?


Anonymous wendy boucher said...

I HAVE spied on my kid from behind a car while she was playing on the playground. More than once, I might add. I wanted to see how she was interacting with the other kids. Seems perfectly natural to me.

Are you having a great time in Provence? I was there in January. Even off-season it's a beautiful place to be.

4:23 PM

Blogger Helen said...

Guilty I am. Last week I found myself wandering in the vicinity of the pool where my daughter was at camp just so I could "make sure she was having a good time". She is one of the younger campers, and I was unsure if this would be a good fit. Somehow the afternoon went by so much better once I had witnessed that she was actually smiling with the other kids.

On the way home she told me all about her day, or her recollection of the day, and I smiled when she told me that I didn't have to worry about her, she is a big girl now. She was proud to announce that she is 6 and she made friends with a girl who is 12.

Now I am even more worried.

7:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You MUST, MUST Read Dispatches From the Edge by Anderson Cooper. He is an amazing writer and it really makes you realise uite how good we all have it. It's a bit serious for the summer but a great read, the only thing being it went really quick and I didn't want it to end.

Rebecca, when does you're next one come out?? I'm super excited for it!

9:35 PM

Blogger Ali said...

okay...i've got some time on my hands (well...not really...but for lulus, i'd make time)...if i promise to go and check on the dictoator, can i get me a gift certificate, too??? :)

my middle is a november baby so we had the choice to push back or move ahead for camp...we also pushed ahead and he was younger than a lot of the others (and he's also a boy, mind you) but he was TOTALLY fine.

it's our JOB to worry about things like this. but, i'm sure she's fine and having a great, you should try to as well.


4:36 AM

Blogger Kirsty said...

The Anderson Cooper book is next on my list. I love books like that. The Jon Daly book sounds quite interesting -- he's a character.

5:53 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have an AWSOME book for you to read! It's called the Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons. It's so good it will keep you up for hours and gets you so wrapped up in the romance of it all! I have yet to have a friend say they didn't like it!

6:15 AM

Blogger Kristen said...

You've totally described what I would be doing, and what my mother used to do.

I am also a book whore, and fancy the "crap" reading- not sexy books, but rather chick lit. I'm also a fan of some of Oprah's book club selections (though some are really bad).

12:06 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at a summer camp last year. It wasn't a swim camp but the kids did go swimming twice daily. I was a really good counselor, and unfortunately there really are some bad ones, but this resulted in a lot of parents wanting their kids in my group. We had two leaders and FOURTEEN five year olds. I tried not to baby them too much (they aren't two or three like your daughter but almost twice her age) but also to give them each attention in the pool and make sure they were comfortable. The thing is with so many you can't give too much attention to them, even when you want to, and even when they need it. The junior counsellor can because she isn't responsible for any group of children, just there to help out.

But for the record I really appreciated concerned parents (not necessarily pushy ones, we had one who was whatever you call it when parents think their healthy children are sick, and her daughter needed every special favour you could imagine.... I ate with her seperately from the others for her potential but not known allergies, let her do gymnastics with her shoes on, held her hand all day so she wouldn't have to hold another child's potentially dirty hand, etc. and because of the one or two favours I wasn't able to do because of staff rules the mother still wasn't too fond of me by the end.... the other mothers saw what I put up with and gave me an extra gift.... they knew because they too SPIED, its normal.)

1:05 PM

Anonymous K said...

Its your job to worry. You're spying from long distance so it's easy to be more worried than normal. Enjoy your trip.

6:29 PM

Anonymous pam said...

A Complicated Kindness had been my best read this summer, and it was recommended by my beautiful, creative, witty, independent, intellengent 18 yr old Govenor General's award-winning, 1st in her graduating class daughter. (This is the only blog on the net that this would be acceptable, you know). It was a great read.
By the way, I would have spied, and I would have put her "ahead". But I would never, ever spy now.
Oh, and Lululemon? Best gift certificate EVER.

6:50 PM

Blogger jess said...

awwww. it sounds like you really miss the dictator. and that she misses you too.

its so hard to know that your kid is having a difficult time being away from you.

just remember to enjoy your trip, and come back happy, and all will be well.

11:57 AM

Blogger J's Mommy said...

I wish I could send my little one to camp. Actually, I do, but the camp is at the same place I work so she can see me all day and it's so hard having to tell her that mommy can't play right now, that she's at work. It's been 2 weeks and so far, not so good.

5:20 PM


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