Thursday, June 23, 2011
Suddenly the pile of paper moves. It breathes. It coughs. A voice can be heard from inside the pile of papers - my voice - exclaiming at the volume of paper, the quantity of paper, the sheer duplicative quantity of paper.
Of course - it's the camp paperwork and I've gotten buried beneath it.
My kids have gone to the same summer day camp almost every summer for the last six or seven years. The first year the amount of paperwork was a terrible surprise. I paid the camp fees, filled out a nice little two-sided sheet with our family information and a credit card number and, with a smile on my face, prepared to walk away. Suddenly I was handed a brick of paperwork and told to complete the forms contained in it for each child and then registration would be complete.
There's the normal stuff in there, like the contact sheet with phone numbers, and then there's stuff like the "Get to know your camper" sheet where I have to tell them about my children's psychological foibles to maybe smooth their way through their weeks there. Husband and I have had no small amount of fun over the years imagining what we'd really like to write under "Child's Three Favorite Activities" as opposed to what we actually write there. Not to mention the "Three characteristics that best describe your child." There's the challah order form, the lunch order form, the aftercare form - which needs to be filled out whether we use aftercare or not - and the friend request form. Then there's the one form I have to fill out twice: the medical/immunization form.
I've come to realize this form is created only to torture me since I must obtain my children's immunization records and then transpose those records onto the form. Each year I peer quizzically at the immunization form from the doctor's office, where they've abbreviated certain shots under one name, and tried to match them up to the form, where they've abbreviated them another.
As the years have gone by, my dread of doing this paperwork has sometimes become a deciding factor in whether my kids will go to camp, kind of like the "Sponge-worthy" Seinfeld episode. Is it paperwork-worthy? Is one week of camp worth it to fill out the paperwork? A resounding no. Two weeks? Three?
I jump back in the pile, pick up my pen with my claw-like hand, and finish the task.
Are your kids in summer camp? How voluminous are the enrollment forms? Every get overwhelmed and discouraged by paperwork?