Summer is not a happy time round our way. LK is working every hour possible rendering him sore, grumpy and vocal about it as only a man can be, and I am juggling childcare like a well-trained seal. Still, at least we’re not tourists who have spent thousands of dollars on a Californian summer vacation only to be met with the foggiest summer in decades. I had to use windscreen wipers this morning!! Heavy marine layer my arse – I grew up in the North of England and I know a persistent drizzle when I see one.
We are very fortunate that Anna’s school does not take the summer off, but even so, they do have a short break, and a week of half-days due to ‘parent teacher conferences’ so I’ve been stitching together a patchwork of camps and playdates to cover the gaps. Incidentally, I asked LK this morning what we were doing about coverage for Lucy tomorrow and he made a volcano gesture with his hands to imitate his head exploding and I thought, dude, you have no. fucking. idea.
I need a wife.
Through my network of fellow ‘Moms’ I was guided towards putting Anna in Safety Town for a week this summer. It’s a brilliant program just for pre-Kindergarteners that teaches them how to be safe in their ever-expanding worlds; stranger danger, road safety, inappropriate touching (really), earthquake safety, and wildfire safety (oh no wait, we’ve covered that many times, thanks Santa Barbara). Anna now knows how to yell and punch hard in the stomach if grabbed by someone – so perhaps I should warn her long distance relations when they go in for a hug at their next meeting - that would be a shocker.
She also knows what to do in the event of an earthquake. Thank God someone in the family does. I have visions of an earthquake hitting and me running around in my knickers looking for a safe place like a bug scattering when you remove the log it was hiding under.
Anna loved Safety Town. She was a fountain of knowledge. Don’t touch matches! Always find another Mom with kids if you get lost! Don’t disturb the driver (then stop talking to her….) It was just what every officious small girl dreams of. Five year olds are all about rules (and ratting out people who break them). After her first day I asked how things had gone;
"Well, Mom, today we were fortunate enough to have two very special guests".
She can be a little scary with that photographic memory of hers. Apparently she'd been hanging on their every word.
"We had two ambliance drivers and Smokey the Bear. I'm not entirely sure about Smokey the Bear."
This was interesting. I asked what was so suspicious about Smokey.
"Well, what kind of bear wears a hat and pants - but no shirt?"
This was possibly a little uncharitable considering it was 90º in the shade and some poor Forestry Service intern was no doubt staggering inside the sweltering costume wondering where his career was going. However, I've just learned that the new slogan for fire prevention is ‘get your smokey on!’ and suddenly Anna’s mistrust of the guy in the bear costume seemed very well-placed.
‘Get your Smokey on’?!
What sixties renegade wannabe gangsta came up with that one? I think her 5 year old counterparts may be the only age group in California that wouldn’t connect that with pot smoking. What were they thinking?
Still, she definitely learned a lot, and when I asked her what the best bit was she said:
“Well, I am really very good at sitting nicely, legs criss-crossed. Probably the best”.
So that’s money well spent.