On the first morning, we all barrelled out of the house shouting and hissing at one another to remember bags, tie shoelaces, etc.
We even shouted at one another to stop shouting.
Car doors were slammed shut and then duly opened as one or the other sprinted back into the house to grab something they had forgotten.
As I turned the key in the door to lock it, the first few drops of rain plink-plonked onto the bonnet of the car.
“I suppose no-one has a raincoat with them?” I hollered.
Cue doors opening once more, excessive sighing and throwing of hands skywards, all combined with angry rooting about in the cesspit where our coats go to recuperate and or suffer further ill-treatment.
The above depiction of our chaos in the early light of day might lead you to believe that it pertains to the daily mind-numb that are school runs.
No — this concerns another facet of head-melting demands parents face in regards to summer camps.
The very concept of them is great.
A group of dedicated, consummate professionals spend an entire week coaching them whilst building their confidence and respect for the sport.
Already they are better parents than me for doing so. My children look forward to them, I look forward to them and my husband looks forward to a week-long reprieve from the whining refrain of:
“I’m just so wrecked from them! WRECKED!”
Then, a mere day before, it will dawn on me that our son needs new boots; in his defence, he brought this fact to our attention when the training season had finished.
Or rather, it was entirely visible as he walked off the pitch with his toe pushed through the front of the boot and the improvised air ventilation on the other sole courtesy of the two holes in them.
Add to this that he has been carbo loading — ie, using the fridge as a 24-hour buffet to cram food into his gob — before pelting out the front door once more for an entire month prior, which in turn generated a bit of a growth spurt; well, it means that the boots are the least of our problems.
There is indeed truth to the following: Mothers don’t sleep. We just worry with our eyes closed.
So, it stands to some warped reasoning on my part that I start panicking that I will not supply him with adequate sustenance for the week he is at camp.
On day one, I overshoot the mark entirely: Two sandwiches, three apples, a bowl of fruit salad, two pain au chocolat (I know, far from them we were reared, etc), a container of tortilla chips and, I kid you not, a whopping water bottle which contains two-and-a-half litres of water which he advises me that everyone christened ‘the chug jug’.
Fifty per cent of the food returns home with him. Now, if worrying ranks high in my top five, it holds joint rank with how much I love complaining about waste — in any form.
Food, electricity, toilet paper… the list is endless. On querying him as to why he hadn’t eaten it all, he replied:
It does nothing to quell the rising ire: “Well, you had better believe I’m not throwing it out and you’ll take the other half for tomorrow.
“Because if you think I am making a fresh spread for you everyday to turn your nose up at, well... you have another thing coming to you bucko.”
Yet, out of all the prep and last-minute organisations for that one week, nothing crushes my soul more than the application of sun-cream.
It requires steering myself mentally to navigate the sheer wailing my child emits as I lather it on each morning. It literally sounds as if I am sandpapering the cat, such are the noises which spew forth from his mouth.
“Muuuum! You’re getting it in my mouth.”
Children really know how to build the moaning momentum: It’s a slow and steady increase in volume, where you grit your teeth against the impending fire engine wail.
Nothing invokes same as sun-cream application or during cooler climes, entreaties to wear a hat or scarf.
By the end of the week, everyone is a little worse for wear. Coaches, children and parents smile weakly at each other as we say our goodbyes.
The new boots have been well and truly broken in, the kit looks like the only way it may be removed from his body is to crack it off.
As we pile into the car, my daughter extends her arm holding a piece of paper from the back seat: “I’ve made you a checklist for my camp next week.”