Instead of sending Abby to day care school all summer, we have elected instead to send her to the school’s summer camp.

The program is pretty nice. We drop her off at school in the morning as usual. A bus picks takes the campers from her school to the camp for the day, and brings them back to the school in the afternoon. We pick her up just like we would on a school day.

Campers need to be at school before the bus leaves, obviously. Our first day for this was on Monday. We were under the impression from the paperwork that the bus would depart at 8:15, which is well within our usual schedule.

The trick is that the bus driver or the school or someone decided that 8:15 wasn’t early enough to get the kids all the way to the camp (which is admittedly pretty far), and so the departure time was changed to 8:05.

So when we arrived at the school on Monday, I existed the car thinking we had plenty of time. When the bus started to pull out and one of the teachers started screaming to us from the school door, “Get on the bus! Get on the bus!” I was left running to the road to flag down the driver.

Abby didn’t seem to know what to make of the whole thing. I hurried her along, and didn’t even have a chance to say anything to her before her new camp adventure began.

What irks me about this experience is that when we pulled into the parking lot, several of the parents of the other kids going to camp were standing on the school’s little roofed stoop. They all seemed to know, why didn’t we?

More unnerving was that it was every parent at the school that I had grown to dislike. It was as if someone reached into my brain, pulled out the names of the parents I’ve come to dislike at Abby’s school, and lined them up on the sidewalk outside the school’s front door.

And only lends to my perception that those people care nothing for me or my kid, to the extent that they can’t even make polite conversation about the departure time for the bus.

Apparently, I had made an impression with the running and screaming, since a sign appeard on the school’s front door on Tuesday morning: Bus to camp departs at 8:05, not 8:15.

You know, you don’t need to send me a telegram. You could have just told me.

Abby seemed to like camp well enough on Monday. Tuesday was a slightly different story, when one of the other kids pushed her into the deep end of the pool, and she had to be pulled out by a lifeguard. While Berta and I were most concerned about her safety, Abby seemed really depressed by her demotion from “frog” to “tadpole” in their swimming exercises as a result of the incident.

I was under the impression that “tadpole” implied “can’t yet hold breath under water”, which Abby can surely do. And while I would afford her the additional protection of the shallower end of the pool when she’s still not a strong swimmer, I wouldn’t throw her in with the waders who are still afraid to put their faces in the water. It’s been a real and obvious blow to her self esteem.

Would that I could follow and protect her everywhere.