Thursday, July 14, 2011


June 24, 2011
Busy Bee Camp – Day 11

I will preface this account by saying that the Busy Bees are of the more privileged sort.  Their parents are politicians and TV personalities, and the Bees are habituated to a more urban lifestyle.  Anyway, today during story time we were reading a book about farming. Here is what the Busy Bees had to say about rural entities. 

As the next page of the story time book was turned, the Busy Bees became glued to a picture of none other than a tractor. One Busy Bee, Mamoka, whom I like to refer to as the Japanese Princess, felt so strongly about the image that she stood up from her Indian-style sitting to say, “I saw a tractor in Delaware.” Luke, another Busy Bee, responded, “There are cows in Delaware too.” And what was my response?

“Wow, I guess there is everything in Delaware.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Two Year Old Tanks - Part 2

June 23, 2011
Busy Bee Camp – Day 10

Ok, so yesterday I wrote about my experience with The Mack Man.  Well, today, I had another episode with the Busy Bee.  While escorting the Busy Bees from their parents’ cars to the camp, I noticed that the next vehicle belonged to the infamous Mack Attack. As soon as Mackey’s mother took him out of the car, he took one look at me and started to cry. Well, not really cry. It was that fussy, fake cry that little kids do. But Mackey remembered who I was. I was the one who wouldn’t let him get away with his antics during the previous day. But I was so embarrassed. It was obvious that Mackey did NOT want to go with me. With me. Luckily, one of the other counselors noticed right away what was going on and came to my aid.  She knew that Mackey and I went around and around the prior day. She switched me campers and with ease was able to take Mackey’s hand and walk him into our building.  From then on, I would never again be on Mackey duty.  But I can’t say that I didn’t mind.           

Two Year Old Tanks

June 22, 2011
Busy Bee Camp – Day 9

It’s funny how the two youngest kids at camp are also the two largest.  No kidding.  Sean and Mackey are bruisers.  It’s nothing for Sean to rip a toy out of the hands of another camper.  He dwarfs the rest of the two year olds; his size is comparable to the five year olds.  And Mackey, well, he never stops running as soon he walks through the door at 9:00am.  He’s like a bulldozer.  I will also add that Sean and Mackey require the most attention, for they do not like to follow directions, and they are terribly needy.  Everyday two of our counselors have to be assigned to each of the boys because they just can’t be left alone. Today it was left up to me to wrangle Mackey during story time. Usually I am not on Sean and Mackey duty, but someone had to do it.  I couldn’t believe how strong he was. I tried my best to hold Mackey down in my lap and restrain the flailing brute. Remember my little German friend Sebastian? Well, Sebastian, who was supposed to be turned around and listening to story time, was watching me and Mackey wrestle.  Sebastian then pointed to Mackey and said, “Bad Mackey.” It was too much. Here I am trying to control Mackey and my laughter at the same time. Impossible. Thankfully, though, Mackey started to tire and resorted to listening to story time.  All of the other counselors had experienced story time chaos with Mackey, but this was my first time trying to handle the two year old tank.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"I smelly."

June 21, 2011
Busy Bee Camp- Day 8

Not everyone at Busy Bee camp is potty trained. Unfortunately, many of the campers are still wearing diapers. Luckily there are a few teachers on staff who have no problem changing diapers. All of the counselors, though, including myself, will not even entertain the idea. Today I was left behind with the two year olds while the rest of the campers made their way to the park.  The school has an outdoor playground that the littlest Bees get to enjoy while the rest are taking over Turtle Park. While at the little playground, I noticed a rather unpleasant odor. My first thought was that it might be the dumpster located outside of the playground, but the smell didn’t seem to be coming from that direction.  I noticed the source of the smell to be located in the Little Tike Playhouse; I peered inside to see four Busy Bees.  I told one of the other counselors on playground duty that there was a smelly situation coming from the little house.  She then had the kids evacuate from the house and did a quick check.  Only three of the four Busy Bees left the playhouse.  One little guy, Tripp, had stayed inside.  Tripp refused to leave from a stool in the playhouse.  And it appeared that the ungodly smell refused to leave as well. The Tripp Man may have been the offender.  But, there was a problem. There were a few problems, actually. All of the diaper changing teachers had left for the park.  There was not anyone to change The Tripp Man’s pamper.  We could have just waited it out until everyone returned from the park, but that wasn’t going to work. The Tripp Man’s mother was going to be picking him up early.  The other counselors and I tried to come up with other ideas as to the source of the smell; we didn’t want to admit it was Tripp.  We weren’t absolutely sure because he wouldn’t come out of the little playhouse.  Our chosen disbelief ceased, though, when I heard the words “I smelly” come from Tripp’s mouth.  One of the counselors held her breath and pulled Tripp from the playhouse.  She escorted him inside and passed him off to our last resort. The Tripp Man was handed over to a teacher who absolutely refuses to change her students’ diapers.  She was left in charge while everyone else was away at the park. So, she gritted her teeth and took care of the smelly situation that was The Tripp Man’s diaper.

German Obedience

June 20, 2011
Busy Bee Camp- Day 7

It isn’t anything unique for a Busy Bee camper to be multilingual.  As soon as they get into their parent’s car, many of the campers are no longer speaking English.  Two of the Busy Bees, both born in Germany, are brothers named Christian and Sebastian. Sebastian is two years old while his brother Christian is five.  Prior to attending my cousin’s school, they couldn’t speak any English.  And these boys are just the cutest things with their white blonde hair and blue eyes.  The little guy, Sebastian, has the most adorable smile and giggle. I just melt.  Sebastian, though, has a very bad habit.  Out of nowhere, with no rhyme or reason, he will just hit the other kids. I know. It sounds really bad. For the first few days of camp I was actually really disturbed by his behavior. My god, here is a kid just hitting other kids for no reason. Maybe it’s he felt like it. But now I think it is one of the funniest things ever. Out of nowhere. Whack! What is interesting about it is that he doesn’t do it to be mean; it’s almost like a reflex.  But it is a daily occurrence that Sebastian wails on another Busy Bee. Sometimes he makes them cry, but sometimes they don’t even notice.  We always tell Sebastian that it isn’t nice to hit people like that. And he listens when you tell him. But it doesn’t matter.  Anyway, his brother, Christian, may be the brightest child at Busy Bee Camp. Christian is able to figure out puzzles and word problems that some of our counselors can’t even solve. 

Today at camp we celebrated a birthday. The Birthday Boy’s mother brought cookies for all of the Busy Bees to enjoy. The Busy Bees are used to getting small cookies and crackers for their snack, but today the Bees were getting adult sized birthday cookies covered in pink and yellow frosting with sprinkles.  When it was snack time, the Busy Bees were all sitting at their tiny tables and chairs in the classroom. Sebastian had gotten into a bit of trouble, so he was ordered to sit with me at table to take his snack.  Everywhere kids were making huge messes with the cookies. I looked out across the crowd to see sprinkles and crumbs covering the tables. Kids had yellow and pink frosting, combined with drool, caked on their faces. It was an ugly site.  I looked at little Sebastian, and he wasn’t an exception. But, in another way, he was. When Sebastian was done with his cookie, which he did not finish, he got up and threw away the remainder of the birthday treat.  Sebastian then looked around the room and spotted a package of wetty wipes in which he strategically pulled out three naps.  Sebastian took one wetty wipe to clean off the cookie mess from his face.  He took a second nap and wiped off our table.  And then he used the third wipe and picked up cookie crumbs and sprinkles from the floor. Finally, Sebastian made his way to the trash can and disposed of the now soiled wetty wipes.  It was unreal. I didn’t ask him to do any of that. I looked around the room to see that the rest of the Busy Bees were still covered in the birthday cookie mess, and they stayed that way for the rest of the day.  Christian, too, is very meticulous, but today it was Sebastian’s tidiness that had me in total and complete awe.             

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Day at Busy Bee Camp

June 17, 2011
Busy Bee Camp- Day 6

My day, today, was rather short lived at Busy Bee Camp. I was only at the school for the first hour before leaving to run errands with my cousin. So, for my entry today, I am going to describe a typical day at Busy Bee Camp.

Our Busy Bees excitedly arrive to camp at 9:00am.  Their parents’ cars line up outside of the school, and our counselors meet the children, one by one to escort them into our building. For the first 30 minutes of the day, the Busy Bees have the freedom to choose what activities they would like to pursue.  There is one station designated for puzzles, one for coloring, and one for working on the daily art project, which I have been heading almost everyday.  They can also head to what we call the Rainbow Room, which is a room filled with toys, or they can work in our art room where Playdo awaits molding. In true Montessori fashion it is up to the children to decide their paths.  But they must always remain busy Bees! At 9:30am it is time for cleanup. During my first day of camp I remember hearing the counselors shout, “Cleanup!” and watching the Busy Bees scatter  throughout the school and  work with a sense of urgency to put everything away.  They did an awesome job in just minutes.  After cleanup, everyone meets on the story time rug for singing and book reading.  The same songs are crooned everyday: Baby Beluga, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Five Little Monkeys, and Bringing Home My Baby Bumble Bee.  And our books will change with the day. Towards the end of story and song time the counselors dress the Busy Bees in little blue smocks.  The smocks are to be worn whenever we relocate the children to the park, which always occurs after story and song time. The little smocks have the name of the school on them so that everyone will know where a little Busy Bee came from if he or she was to get lost.  Now, not everyone gets to go to the park; the two year olds stay back at the school and play with two of the counselors. The rest of us counselors, though, will walk hand in hand with groups of three or so Busy Bees to the park.  I have to say, this is probably my least favorite part of the day. One of my pet peeves is slow walkers.  Kids are tripping everywhere because they don’t pay attention. They get distracted by flowers and butterflies and the freaking mailman. It probably takes 10 minutes to get to the park, which is less than three blocks away.  Once we have reached the park, we open the gate and allow the Busy Bees to go wild; we are at the park for about 10-15mintues.  My cousin will then ring a bell as a signal for the kids to line up at the gate. I love watching all of the nannies and moms at the park watch in awe as the Busy Bees flock at the sound the bell.  We then make the journey back to Busy Bee headquarters where a snack awaits the swarm. Snacks could be anything from gold fish crackers to vanilla wafers. After they take their snack the Busy Bees have about 15 minutes to once again do as they please. But at 11:15 it is time for the Busy Bees to start winding down.  They are once again summoned to the story time rug where a few last books are read before nannies and parents file in the alleyway to pick up the kids. By this time all of the counselors are absolutely exhausted.  A full day of playing, disciplining, singing, coddling, painting, and wrangling can take a lot out of a person. I can’t imagine doing that for more than a few hours a day, or for even more than a few weeks. All I have to say is that preschool and kindergarten teachers are rock stars.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bobby's Boo Boo

June 16, 2011
Busy Bee Camp- Day 5

Remember my main man Bobby? He is the little guy who has the fascination with cell phones. Well, my boy Bobby is very accident prone.  He is a two year old, almost three, so his coordination is still coming together.  I heard that Bobby had a wipeout on Monday and skinned one of his knees.  Today, again, Bobby took a tumble.  While we were walking back from the park, Bobby tripped over a tree root that was protruding from the sidewalk.  Bobby got back up, like a trooper, but he was a little shaken by the incident.  He didn’t bring on the full waterworks, but he did shed a few tears and got really quiet. When we got back to Busy Bee Camp and were sitting outside on a set of benches, I noticed that Bobby’s knee, it was the other knee that he had not injured on Monday, was bleeding and scraped.  Bobby’s eyes were glassy from the tears, and they caught mine.  Bobby said, “Don’t look at me. Don’t look at it.” And he started to cry.  My heart immediately broke. He was so ashamed of his accident.  It was so hard for me to not look at him.  Bobby then tried to scoot behind another Busy Bee on the bench so that he wouldn’t be seen.  I pointed out his injury to the other counselors, but Bobby wouldn’t allow anyone to tend to his knee.  He said that he wanted to wait until he got home to put a band aid on his wound.  One of counselors told Bobby’s mother about his accident, and she said that Bobby gets really sensitive when he gets hurt.  The whole thing just broke my heart.  I could not stand looking at his big, glassy brown eyes, and his uncovered wound, and not be able to do anything for him.  Bobby’s boo boo may have been more devastating for me than for little Bobby. It was heartbreaking.