For me and Mr S this has been a tough weekend, whilst it has ended happily, we have both spent the weekend worried about Little Man. The reason for our anxiety was that we agreed for him to attend Beavers camp, his first over night stay. It was a difficult decision to make, he is 7, but because of a tough start in life, he is still trying to meet all the developmental targets of his age and he has 1:1 support at school for his learning needs. We decided not to send Little Man last year as he didn’t seem confident enough in the setting, but this year he wanted to go. He plays a full part in his troop and has gone climbing, hiking, kayaking etc.. so camp did seem the next step.
Mr S and I spent lots of time discussing the pros and cons, a local camp, very skilled leaders all of whom we have known for years, 24 hours only, he was familiar with the base camp after his sister did her Brownie camp there and most importantly he wanted to go. We worried about his ability to get himself properly dressed for the weather, if he woke up and got frightened in an unfamiliar place or if his anxieties manifested in tantrums, crying etc.. We talked to Little Man and the leaders and after a lot of soul searching, decided that we would try the camp.
On Saturday morning, Little Man didn’t glance back at us as he ran into the hall and we left, mobiles clasped in our hands, where they stayed all day. I am a pretty relaxed person but for 24 hours yesterday I was on high alert, I checked my mobile frequently and against my cardinal rule of no screens at meal times, I even allowed my phone on the table of the Indian restaurant we went out to for dinner, as Little Man hates curry it seemed the ideal opportunity for the 3 of us to enjoy an Indian meal. I did find it difficult to sleep last night wondering if Little Man was ok in his bed, had he settled, what if he needed the toilet, would the sounds outside scare him? I slept lightly making sure I would hear the phone if it rang. This morning wasn’t too bad, as I knew it was only a short time until we picked him up at 11am and I was so excited to see him, we were at the hall early!
On picking him up, Little Man was of course very relaxed about the whole event, he had a big bag of muddy washing, was missing his socks and vest and I would have preferred an extra top for someone so prone to chest infections but he was happy (until I mentioned going home for a shower!) and was asking to go on the next camp. It was a tough weekend but one which has shown that we can’t hold on to and protect our children forever, there are times when they need to go off with their friends and we have to let them fly sometimes, it was scary for us all but we had prepared Little Man and ourselves and he has been able to show how more confident and independent he is becoming. It was a success but I am looking forward to a more relaxed night’s sleep tonight in the knowledge my Little Man is tucked cosily up in his bed and close to us.