I Don’t Speak Summer

Am I the only parent concerned about summer break?  I posted about my worries on Facebook and received two distinct responses: 1) my kid is going to camp all summer! and 2) I can’t wait to do nothing with my kid all summer!


I quickly learned upon which side of the divide I stand.

Outside of snow days, holidays, vacations, weekends and every afternoon and night, this will be my first full-time parenting of two.  While in Madison at the wonderful Preschool of the Arts, Arlo continued school during the summertime.  Arlo loves school.  Having never experienced it before, he does not understand why school “stops”.  We enjoy a pretty manageable and happy daily routine around here but in one month – ON MY BIRTHDAY – this will come to a screeching halt with no further instruction.

We are lucky to have friends visiting for two weeks and then we take a vacation mid-August but that leaves at least five weeks to worry about have fun.  We need a new Happy Daily Routine.

I’ve been doing a ton of research on camps or classes and there are a lot of options here in Montreal.  It’s great except:

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 1.54.17 PM

What normally is a non-issue in our day-to-day lives has become a summertime stumbling block (see also Volunteering).  For example, a few weeks ago I discovered a kids’ running club which I thought would be perfect for Arlo.  Armed with enthusiasm and my mother’s intuition for his athletic ability, I took him to the first session and being a good ex-pat, used my limited French to introduce Arlo to the instructors and request some bi-lingual help.  I was assured he would get it but when the games started, the instructors only speek French.  The kids only speek French.  My child can’t not know anyone and not understand anyone – one of those things, maybe, but not both.  Completely overwhelmed, Arlo just stood there and cried while everyone else played.  Completely overwhelmed, I hugged him and took him home.

Horseback riding camp, skateboard camp, rock climbing camp, French, French, French.  Bien sur!  This is Quebec but mon dieu, help a mother out!  And speaking of helping mothers, my lovely and beloved mother’s helpers are both gone for the summer.  To camp, natch.

I don’t know what I’m going to do – not literally, Farrah and I leave the house every single day, rain, sleet or snow – but my kids thrive with consistency and it’s my job to provide it.  I’m not even talking about the loss of any alone time I currently have or how much more energy I will need to self-manufacture.  Nope.  Not talking about that.

I am completely overwhelmed by Summer Vacation.  Someone hug me and take me home.



2 thoughts on “I Don’t Speak Summer

  1. Welcome to one of the less fun parts about living in Quebec without solid French skills :-(
    But don’t despair, it’ll get easier as your French improves and as you learn where to look.
    One thing you’ll notice is that if the activity is organized or financed by the city or the province, chances are it will be unilingual French. Unless you’re lucky enough to stumble upon a bilingual counselor, or if it’s in a part of town with a higher percentage on English speakers, that’s just the way it is here,
    In general you’ll have better luck looking for privately run activities instead.
    For example, McGill runs a bunch of different and affordable summer camps for kids that I can guarantee are at least bilingual if not unilingual English. Check them out here: https://www.mcgill.ca/summer-camps
    There’s also this site which seems to be well done in English and looks like it could be a good resource for you. Though I don’t know how many of the activities they link to are available in English: http://www.montrealfamilies.ca/
    Hopefully this helps. Please let me know how it works out.


  2. I hope something comes your way. I feel for Arlo. And I know how you feel. You just want to be fluent already and hope that all the hype about kids absorbing languages quickly means that they will overnight.
    Maybe just exploring daily with you will be a good routine. Library?


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