A journey of triumphs and challenges, life and magic. A life of awareness and acceptance. A gift of Down syndrome.
May 30, 2010
Summer 2010 Alex style!
As I got older those summers became working summers; babysitting, tutoring and camp counseling. But still they were carefree and mine.I would not change my life for anything; still I yearn for those worry free days of my early summers.
We have always provided summer activities for our kids. This has been necessary as both John and I have always worked through our summers. We have traditionally taken a beach vacation with my side of the family, in August, but this has not happened in a few years. I attribute this to our work schedules, and the economy. I miss the time away with my family.
This year our summer is in a bit of a flux; the real estate market is slow and I am jobless as of the end of June. However, this has not prevented me from my annual quest to get Alex as booked up as possible. Without adult supervision, Alex will stay in the house, watch TV and eat; my two least favorite activities.
Alex is very responsible when home alone. She calls me with phone messages, tidies her room and generally cleans up after herself. But as I have said before, she cannot control her eating; the power of food is too much for her.
We have had some success lately on the food front. I have not put Alex on the scale, as it is too depressing for me, but she looks like she has lost five pounds. She has been conscientious about her eating habits, as well as exercise, and committed to being in shape for the Games. I suppose the fact that I have been on my summer diet and we have had NO food in the house has helped. In any event she looks better.
Alex gets out of school on Wednesday. Courtney and Tom are in school through the week with graduation activities beginning on Friday. With grandmas and aunts coming in for Courtney’s graduation and the State Games, our schedule is shot for the next two weeks. We will just have to go with it, and calendar girl will just have to relax about her timetable.
Alex’s first activity; Art Camp with Challenge Aspen starts June 21st. It runs all week and is one of Alex’s favorite camps. This will be her 4th summer with the group. I have spoken about Challenge Aspen before, it is a not for profit that provides activities and services for disabled children and adults. In the winter Alex skis with Challenge Aspen buddies, in the summer she attends their camps. She is one of their “regulars” and quite popular with the staff.
Art camp consists of morning art projects and afternoon outings. Here in the beautiful Roaring Fork Valley there is never an end to the activities we can do; especially in the summer. Alex will go swimming, rafting, horseback riding and go to the hot springs. Once again, can I be Alex for the summer?
Kids come from all over the country with their families to attend this camp. The families vacation while the kids go to camp. I wonder if that cute boy she befriended last year will come. The one who insisted his mom take them out for lunch. Alex still reminds me of that lunch date when she had a cheeseburger and fries. I am not surprised!
There is also summer school scheduled for five weeks this summer. It will be two days a week; Tuesday and Thursday from 9 – 1. To me, this is a stupid plan, and I have spoken my mind. My point; if the idea of summer school is to keep our special needs kids from “regressing” over the summer, is two days a week, four hours a day, for five weeks going to work?
My answer is a strong NO. In some ways this may enable regression, as our kids are left without services for the entire month of August. Another one of those b**** moments I seem to have with the special education providers for our school district. I have insisted next year I be consulted, as well as other concerned parents, and we take part in the design of summer school.
However, Alex loves the summer school teacher. This is most likely due to his y chromosome, but he is young, energetic and fun. The kids do a lot of activities, not so much academic related, but it does keep them occupied. Alex will go in between her other activities.
Alex’s second camp, the week of July 5th, will be with WindWalkers. This is a riding/ranch camp. The kid will do chores around the ranch, art projects, grooming and riding. Alex loves anything WindWalkers related, and once again is quite popular with the staff.
The big event of the summer is the National Games. We will leave July 17th and return on the 24th. This means Alex’s dance card will be full the week of July 19th. So according to my math, we have three weeks of our 12 week summer filled. Not a bad start.
But oh yeah, reminder to myself, something that has never happened in my adult life will be occurring this summer. I will be on a forced, but not unwelcome vacation. In this new math, Alex will only be home alone for three weeks this summer. I like my new math.
Not only can I do things with Alex, Tom is also available. Courtney will be teaching tennis this summer at a local Country Club, but Tom has not been able to find a job. I have heard it over and over again “I cannot hire a 14 year old when there are adults looking for jobs.” I am really really sick of this economy.
As always there is a silver lining; I will be able to relive my childhood years of swimming and tennis. However, now I can add hiking, rafting, biking and camping. Alex and Tom here we go!
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