Friday was the last day of Camp Echo Bridge. Julia has only been at this city day camp for two weeks and I think it has been the best part of her summer. It is an genuinely inclusive experience for her. A very healthy mix of typical and kids with disabilities in the younger groups. Julia’s group—the tigers, clearly a name that was made up by some of the boys—was young people 14+ with disabilities; however, it is a smallish camp and the entire camp does some things together. The staff is careful and caring but most of all enthusiastic.
One glitch: One swim day Julia got bored sitting in the grass reading—she didn’t want to go into the water—and she decided to walk from the lake to the school where the camp meets. She didn’t tell anyone she was doing it and when counselors realized she wasn’t there, I hear there was 10 minutes of panic. I can count on one hand, this time included, the times Julia has wandered off from anything. Staff handled it all well and low keyed. Julia apologized and they asked her not to do it again. I think she was also scared when she didn’t really know how to get back to the school.
On Friday, in the sweltering humid, sunny heat, there was a camp show. Each group did something like a skit (or told jokes) and danced to a pop song. No pressure to perform. Julia was willing to be “on stage” with her group but not willing to stand to dance. And so, she sat while others danced. Later, when the whole camp was “on stage”—two poles with a sheet stretched between them on part of the paved school yard—she did dance. And she loved it.
In the lovely 20/20 hindsight, I state confidently that I should have skipped EYS and sent her to Echo Bridge for the entire 6 weeks of camp. Next year!
Yesterday, we went to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (“MFA”), making use of Newton Library’s discount ticket program. We have 2 weeks with very little to do and so, aggressive staycationing! I hope. MFA was more crowded than I expected but everyone was masked. We saw a sliver of what was there—the Monet show, ancient Egypt and the salon—but it was so good to get back to seeing art. I missed the audio programming that we both enjoy. Post-covid, there is an app for that! Plus you own headphones or earbuds. I wasn’t prepared. Next time.
“Monet and Boston: Legacy Illuminated” highlights 25 of Monet’s paintings—most holdings of the museum with a few drawn from local private collections. The show looked at the artist’s development and arranged Japanese art, paintings of Jean-Francois Millet and sculptures by Auguste Rodin close to Monet’s work. This is fine teaching material! I always attempt to show Julia how artists think and work—what influences different artists and how artists use everything they have ever seen to create what they do. Julia was very interested in the Japanese pieces and put next to a painting of Monet’s wife, it was so easy to make my point. That there was easy comparison to be made between the Japanese art and anime did not go unnoticed. Usually, I am forced to try to remind her of something that we have seen, which I know she doesn’t truly remember to make my argument. She was also very impressed by the Rodins that we saw, especially the naked ones!
“Why do they make naked statues?”
“Because the human body is beautiful by itself. That’s what artists see.”
Julia drew her first nude just a few weeks ago. She is attracted and repelled by the idea. I hope she gives into her interest, which she considers less than appropriate these days. I’ll wait.
This morning, after home made buttermilk waffles, we tuned into church services. I knew it was not going to be one of our church services but instead a recording from General Assembly, so I asked Julia to do something else as she listened. She drew, copying a pretty hard picture from one of the anime drawing books, not getting frustrated by the pictures difficulties. Julia’s drawing has picked up again—some of that due to being at camp where she could not have her phone and she needed something to do when she was listening to instructions and stories. From what staff told me, letting her sit and draw helped her participating and compliance. They also let her copy her pictures using a copy machine. She said that was fun.