Dear Camp Mosquito,
Thank you for accepting my child for your “Tent, Ticks, and Chill: Session I” this summer. The registration form had a 100-character limit for the “anything else we should know about your child” section, so I thought I’d write you this letter to clarify a few things.
My child’s pronouns are they/them. I don’t fully understand neopronouns. They will probably tell you this. Other things I don’t really understand that they will probably tell you: The appeal of “My Chemical Romance”; YouTube unboxing videos; the resurgence of ‘90s fashion; the expression “bussin’”; and shaping one’s eyebrows to look like pussy willows.
At home, we require our child to shower nightly though they would prefer this to occur fortnightly. They are also acquainted with the mechanics of scrubbing a toilet, despite any claims of ignorance. Additionally, they understand how shoes work, and that deodorant requires self-application. They are also regularly vegetable-adjacent, despite any seeming unacquaintedness with carrots or kale. They fully believe camp counselors and parents are not fluent in pig Latin. Affing-lay out Oud-lay!
We did not subscribe exclusively to attachment parenting, free-range parenting, the Ferber method, elimination communication, homeschooling, or unschooling. We focused on surviving a child who regularly boycotted naps, which is to say, yes, they do, in fact, know every word to every episode of Wonder Pets.
They respond to direct social cues such as “I’ve heard enough about the TikTok algorithm today.” They do know better than to call you “Bro,” “Breh,” “Homey,” “Fool,” and “Yo,” but they will likely test these or any other familiar appellations.
I know this is an unpopular opinion, but we actually believe that a little bit of bullying — a microdose of bullying, if you will — can be healthy. It may, in fact, endear our child more to their parents upon their return home. I suppose what I’m saying is if, hypothetically, our child put the mess in the mess hall and earned themselves the nickname “Gnarls Barfley” or “Eater Pan” or the like, we wouldn’t be furious if you only curbed this namecalling 90% of the time.
My child does not snore, sleepwalk, or wet the bed, but they do seem to require various snake charmers, bedtime stories, Democratic majorities in Congress, and a waning gibbous moon to fall asleep. They are a great candidate for a top bunk; they are a poor candidate for archery, riflery, and generally anything where aim and concentration are prioritized over improv comedy.
I thrice inspected their duffle bag for any contraband before arrival. Any vaping equipment or other illicit paraphernalia was most likely planted there by another camper.
I was in labor with this child for 44-plus hours, which included vomiting, catheterization, and an emergency c-section. You may interpret this as a parent entrusting precious cargo to your care, but it’s just context to let you know how much of a pain I realize they can be. Solidarity, counselor.
S’more courage to you,