This week started with a great deal of trepidation on my part. I had, months ago, signed son up for a week at activity camp.
With eight long weeks of school holiday and us not going abroad at all -- like most of his mates -- I thought it would be wise to break up the hols with a week doing some structured activities. Besides I really wanted to 'push' him outside of his comfort zone, force him to do something out of the ordinary.
It is difficult for son to do this. Unlike most children I know, he is quite happy to stay inside the house all day, all week.
But then he also goes, 'I'm bored. What can I do?' and keeps asking to play on the computer or on his PSP, or watch TV. Sometimes he would quietly read a book, and sometimes he would decide that we could do something together, but only sometimes. Much easier to build a complex Lego model than try to teach Mum the rules of Backgammon.
Being really pathetic at football, I also took the opportunity to sign him up for an hour of extra football coaching a day.
I have asked, and asked, I've lost count of the number of times, if he would like to do football lessons, like most of his classmates do.
The answer has been a consistent 'no'. Fine. I am not about to lose my lie-in on Saturday mornings to take him to football then. But he then comes home from school distraught that his mates have not picked him to play on their teams.
Any way, he was happy to go on Monday morning, probably quite excited about having to take a packed lunch. For children who get school meals, a packed lunch is a treat.
I had arranged for him to be picked up and dropped off, thinking that he would get a chance to travel in a mini-bus and get a chance to talk to other children. But he is the only one being picked up this week. Sigh.
After four week of having him with me 24/7, I started missing him badly by about 3pm. It was weird that the house was so quiet.
He looked happy enough when he was dropped off on in the late afternoon and said to his chauffeur that he would see her the next morning. He was also excited to tell us how a boy called 'Bradley' would keep shouting he was not out when he was out, etc.
He enjoyed his football and learned to make a straight pass. When too many children decided to play golf, he volunteered to give up his place and played tennis instead to keep the programme moving. When the others went swimming and Mum had not packed his trunks he played tennis with an instructor and did a very good back hand, surprising himself.
But would he go back on Tuesday morning? Tears. 'But I missed you!' (Lie.)
He would have to survive that week, I said. 'How am I to survive one week at camp?' he asked tearfully.
Somehow managed to get him dressed, packed his lunch, with a surprise, and he went off.
By the time he came home Camp was '10 out of 10'.
He had been go-carting (and 'Bradley broke the bumper of his cart!') and doing Archery, as well as managed to tackle a much older boy and gained possession of a ball. And on Friday they have to go dressed for the kind of work they want to do when they grow up.
'So I'll go in a checked shirt and glasses as all seismologists dress like that.'
OK, so he plans to be there on Friday.
'If Mum gave in this morning and said you could stay home, what would have happened?'
'Bored the whole day and missed doing all the fun activities.'
'Now you know why God gives us Mums and Dads to make children do things they don't like to do?'
So, at last, he's learned a little more of the wisdom of Mum's ways.
Today was another '10 out of 10'. There was swimming and golf (but the space was not large enough for his shots so he had to reign in his swings). AND he managed to stop a ball by Adam, his football instructor. He is pleased with himself.
Bedtime found him reading his 'Football Annual' to find out what position he is most suited to play.
I feel vindicated again. I am not a cruel mother after all.