How to write your tween at camp

First, grumble fuck a duck under your breath when you realize you have to spend another $19.95 for the right to correspond for two weeks with the creature you were in labor with for 40 hours straight, the baby who rendered your vagina a Level 5 Haz Mat situation, the daughter you have kept alive for 12 years despite poor culinary skills, the confounding little broad who stares at your left eyebrow with her mouth slightly agape when you try to explain that hygiene is really a very exciting thing.  Yes. Fork over $19.95 to Bunk Notes for a third year in a row. Bunk Notes: the Official Hostage Converter for Summer Campers.

Will she be able to write back? Will your $19.95 entitle you to even a handful of the monosyllabic responses you have come to enjoy so very much at home? No, no, it will not. You will receive nothing, but then again, you are the mother of a tween girl, so this is good practice. Look on the bright side. She is not here, at least, to enjoy your growls of frustration from behind her slammed door. 

Now that you have paid your ransom money, write some reverse ransom notes. Use the opportunity wisely. Make your child think she wants to come home. Be cool. Be creative. Assume the persona of the funny, adorable mother you always knew you would be, and were shocked to discover you are not. Confuse the child with your great good humor and copious quips. When she returns to you, her actual, haggard, overanxious, "dream-crushing" mother, the shock to her system will be so great, she may not talk back for weeks. So buy yourself some time. Think of that $19.95 as a mental health investment.

Read the following actual examples for inspiration. Going too far is not enough. She is a tween, after all. They read only of dystopian universes and pride themselves on their ability to handle, you know, like, whatever. Fly your parental freak flag as high as it will go, and then attach a string and turn it into a wacko kite. If she ever comes back around from the dark side of the tween moon, sometime in her early 30s when she is weeping and dripping snot over her own colicky newborn, this will give you both something to laugh about. Although let's face it: you will already secretly be laughing, because you are a terrible person like that.



from: Jennifer Mattern AKA MOM OF GREAT WEIRDNESS

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 12:50AM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 12 2013 10:11AM

My dearest Sophie Bean, 

Forgive the delay in receiving weird bunk notes. I first had to jump through the flaming hoops of bureaucracy that the evil organization "WE HAVE YOUR CHILDREN AND YOU CAN'T TALK TO THEM UNLESS YOU GIVE US A CREDIT CARD NUMBER" AKA Bunk Notes insisted upon. Don't get me wrong, kid. Sure, I love you. But I cannot believe I have to pay $19.95 for unlimited access to my child WHO CANNOT RESPOND EVEN IF SHE IS BEING HELD CUFFED TO WHATEVER YOU CALL THE MIDDLE POLE OF A TIPI AND WANTS HER MOMMY.

Good thing I bought the unlimited package because this darn text box is telling me I am running out of room.

I stinking miss you, and I want to hug you ... I just can't wait to hug you and your sis again. THAT IS, IF BUNK NOTE VILLAINS DON'T FIRST FIND A WAY TO CHARGE FOR THAT TOO. "Would you like to send a sudoku that your child will NEVER DO, or would you like to hug her? HA! HA! DUMB MOM! YOU'LL NEVER SEE THE CHILD AGAIN! WOKASHON IS A DEATH TRAP! BUT FOR $5000, MAYBE WE CAN FREE SOPHIE FOR ONE LAST HUG!" 

I just hit "enter" twice, but the villains claim that is using up two more of my precious lines. I shake my fist at the sky! Who can keep you from me, you, my precious firstborn, who equally confounds and amazes me and makes my heart melt? BUNK NOTES, YOU WILL PAY FOR THIS, IN THE END. 

Two more lines. Because I like to live dangerously and have a neat grouping of paragraphs. Some habits die hard, my sweet. Two more. I am reckless. I love you. I miss you. I will now start in on another BunkNote. Hopefully I can jam their servers and bring them down forever. Which might suck for poor lonely campers. BUT THIS IS REVOLUTION, I TELL YOU! SOMEONE MUST FIGH--saoieurojawe;lkjtrl!@#!@$$!!



from: Sophie's Conspiracy Theorist Mother

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 12:58AM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 12 2013 10:11AM

Dear Honey, 

I find it worrisome that they placed you in Wokashon, which is obviously a training camp for Wookees, or woks, or Wookees who like cooking with woks. It seems unfair to burden you with Chewbacca-type roommates cooking with too much soy sauce due to its unavailability in outer space. I can only imagine how terrible the tipi smells. If there is a tipi? Does your Hector Lodge assignment mean your Wookee campmates were too big-boned for tipis? Is Hector Lodge actually a sad high-rise culinary school for Wookee girls? I can only assume it was your father's dyslexia when he was filling out the camp forms. Instead of "Sophie" he most likely wrote "My child is a Wookee who is interested in cooking." Don't blame him, dear, he does the best he can. For years he called me Refinnej, and I hated to correct him. Men and their tender hearts. 

Anyhow, I am sure you are making the best of Wookee Wok Shoe Shine camp. I'm sure they're telling you very nice politically correct stories about the very peaceful Native American-Canadians who used to rule the roost there and greet everyone with poutine and tickets to the Calgary Stampede. None of that is true. I mean, come on. "Wokashon." That is some Star Wars planet for sure. Well, or "Wokashon" could also be a town in Wisconsin. I think it rhymes with "Chaka Khan," and she's a very nice singer, so. I guess what I am saying is this: as long as the girl Wookees are nice and working hard on their personal hygiene, I see no reason to call the camp and complain about your placement. In fact, maybe you will have very fond memories indeed of the Wookee girls who befriended you this summer, and taught you to cook without splattering Tauntaun oil all over your Jawa-print apron. 

You are such a positive young lady, why, you'll have those Wookees singing and playing ukelele in no time, forgetting all about their woks. And their shons. Whatever those are. 

I love you, Sophie Bean. More in a bit. 


Mommy-shon the wok-less



from: The Loins From Whicheth Sophie Was Borneth

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 1:07AM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 12 2013 10:11AM

Dear Love, 

Watch as I try to write a letter that sounds more like the usual letter-from-Mom fare, circa 1950.

How are you, my dear? How are your knees healing? Did Daddy buy you good hiking shoes and sneakers? Did you remember your flip-flops? HAVE YOU BEEN BITTEN BY A RABID GRIZZLY OR STUNG BY THE WORLD'S FIRST CANADIAN SNOW SCORPION? 

Okay, now that that's out of the way...let's gossip. How's your dad's side of the family? Did Grandpa try to give you a flu shot? Resist, resist.

Did I mention I love you beyond all words and comprehension and interpretive dance? I could try to sing my love to you while doing a Wookee wok dance around a fire, naked and jiggling, wearing pretend Wookee fur, but that would be so offensive to your bunkmates, almost as offensive as my Bruno Mars drawing. I doubt I could fully convey my primal maternal love for you anyway, my brave warrior firstborn. You are magic to me. 

I love you, Pookie Bean. Don't let them cook you. Or even floss their teeth with your hair, no matter how cute it may seem at first.

xo Mom 




to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 1:16AM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 12 2013 10:11AM

Oh, my sweet darling daughter. By now you are surely sunburned, wrecked with five kinds of skin cancer and foot fungus, plagued by several interspecies Wookee romances and the angst that arrives forthwith, and may have lost your front teeth in a spatula accident. Camp can be so fraught with peril. 

Just know I will still love you even if you come home missing several limbs and your nose. It will just Build More Character! And think of the money you will make from writing the memoir. 

Now about this Bananaskin thing. It's dreadful that a dyslexic soul was allowed to make such decisions. Because, clearly, there is no such word as KANANASKIN, and THEY MEANT BANANASKIN. In fact, the whole camp is supposed to be on a tropical island like Lost, but all of Canada is inbred and dyslexic (be kind, they cannot help their genes) so they decided to find a place in the woods called "CANADA SKIN." Which did not exist, and so they walked interminable hours in the hot Banff (again, with the spelling!) sun, finally stumbling to a suitable-enough place while slurring their words through parched swollen tongues: "KANANANANANANASKKKINNN." And then Wookees flew down in Millennium Falcons, and well, you know the rest, I'm sad to say.

On a brighter note, I am feeling quite adventurous and look forward to tasting your Wookee wok recipes. As long as YOU ARE NOT AN INGREDIENT. Be safe. Be wary. Your smooth white skin would make a yummy won-ton wrapper to a hungry Wookee. Be tough and make Chewbacca noises like you mean it. One can never be too safe. I love you, my devilish, brilliant angel. Write me in smoke signals. Friendly Wookees have big lungs and can help blow the words in my direction. Thinking of you all the time. When I'm not dealing drugs or beating stray kittens.






to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 1:29AM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 12 2013 10:11AM

Dear Sophie, 

Tonight I watched old reruns of So You Think You Can Dance. And now I really think I can dance.

I made a hip-hop routine with a little Afro jazz thrown in for artistic measure, and I think I should really take it on the road, make something more of myself. 

But first maybe I should test it out on your friends at school in the fall. 

Is your hair still purple? Is your heart still conflicted about whether your parents are the best or the worst parents in the world? We are both things. One less thing for you to worry about. 

I miss you. The house smells like animal pee, but I'm sure your tipi smells just like home, so, hey, you're probably sleeping like a champ. I am going to start pretending it's the neighbors coming by at night and peeing on our property. I like that illusion better than the reality of our incontinent but well-meaning animals. 

Who's your best Wookee friend? Tell her MmmmrRARRRWWWWWREEERREEEE! for me. She'll love that! 

Well, pookie, cheap-arse Bunk Notes tells me I am running out of lines again. GEE, BUNK NOTES, HOW ABOUT, OH, I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE MAKING BIGGER TEXT BOXES FOR LITERATE FAMILIES??? Goodness. Mommy is cranky tonight. I shall take my leave, but know I love you and can't WAIT to hear all about it. 

xoxoxoxoxo Mamacita



from: Mom and Queen of Jungle

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 3:58PM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 13 2013 10:06AM

Dear Honeypie, 

Your report card came today. You might want to start doing mind control on yourself for a change instead of your little sister, to improve concentration and responsibility. You can even hire me to swing a steampunk-looking pendulum in front of your face and intone "YOU ARE VERY ORGANIZED AND VERY RESPECTFUL TO YOUR BEAUTIFUL MOTHER." I work for cheap. 

The house is so quiet when you guys are not here. I've taken to slamming doors on myself and shoving myself out of the way at the bathroom sink mirror. "MOVE." "No, YOU move." "I have to curl my eyelashes." "Well, I have to brush my teeth." "You're dumb." "You're loserly." It helps a little. 

I miss you and I want to know all about the land of the Wookeeeeeeeees. 

Wah. That's me whining. 

Love you, pookie. Wear actual sunscreen. Don't believe the Wookees if they tell you buffalo dung will do the trick.

xoxoxoxox Mamacita



from: The Righteous and Honorable Mother of Sophie Bean

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 12 2013 4:02PM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 13 2013 10:06AM

Dear Sophie, 

Here's a crappy Sudoku that Bunk Notes recommended that I send you. 

I think the answer is 5. 





from: Mom Is Not a Stripper, Heavens No, Who Told You That

to: Sophie Lanedate: Jul 12 2013 4:10PM

This Bunk Note was retrieved by camp on Jul 13 2013 10:06AM

Dear Sweetheart Sophie, 

Your odd cat, Carlita, is currently kneading and nursing my upper arm again into tiny raised teats. She seems certain it will yield milk. I try not to think about it too much, or it's a little disturbing when we make eye contact. 

Are you deep-sea diving in submarines that you and the Wookees made during Crafts? Are you solving global warming using only Rice Krispie treats and fossilized cow poo? Are you skinning live wolves and shooting baby deer for sport? THIS IS MY WAY OF SAYING I WANT VERY MUCH TO HAVE A TWO-WAY CONVERSATION. Dang it!

By the way, do not skin wolves or baby deer. They are nice and soft and good. 

Did you see Emma yet, or is that after next week? WHY AM I STILL BOTHERING TO ASK ANY QUESTIONS? 

I picture the guy who runs Bunk Notes looking exactly like Grue from Despicable Me. 

All the animals say hi. Babci says hi. My tummy is grumbling so I think that means it says hi too. 

Seriously, Carlita just shredded my poor arm out of love. Love sometimes really does hurt. Ow. 

I love you so much. So proud of you and all your adventures. Wear a helmet. Even to the dining hall. YOU CAN NEVER BE TOO SAFE. 





from: The White Queen of Northadamsia

to: Sophie Lane date: Jul 13 2013 8:13PM

This Bunk Note has not yet been retrieved by camp.

Dearest Love Muffin Pookie Cheeks of My Soulful Complex Heart, 

Hey, have a colorful Bunk Notes border!

This is the dumbest BunkNotes border ever. Aliens and showgirls and koi fish in primary colors. WHAT THE FROG. I. Can't. Take. This. Company. Anymore. 

It's hurting your eyes, isn't it? Just looking at this doo-doo. Let's sue them when you get home. Practice looking confused and blinded. "The Bunk Note borders...were! They HURT me, Mommy!" 

How's Wookee Wok Camp? I hope you've mastered the art of Jabba the Hutt Filet Mignon Medallions and Boba Fett Sweetbreads. I hope someone is taking pictures of you and your dear Wookee bunkmates. I bet by now you've all become quite close. I picture you all singing and roaring around the campfire, French-braiding each other's long animalistic fur or shiny purple-sheened brunette hair. It really is a darling image. 

I miss you. It's boring without you. Work, pick up dog pee and poo, work some more, watch Mad Men and The Newsroom, avoid the phone, eat cold pizza, work some more, pick up more dog pee and poo, pick up a cat hairball, sleep. I know, I know. I'm just making you homesick. 

What else? Oh, I love you, and I love you, and there was something else...wait, oh...I love you. Be well, beautiful firstborn. Wash your face and brush your teeth, dear, even if the Wookees frown upon such things.

xoxoxoxoxoxo Mom



from: Helga and Fifi von Matternhausen, and Bob

to: Sophie Lane

date: Jul 13 2013 8:24PM

This Bunk Note has not yet been retrieved by camp.

Dear Sophie,

Here is a dumb old vocabulary builder that Bunk Notes said you would like to receive. Because, really, nothing says LOVE FROM MOM like a forced vocabulary builder in a Bunk Note. Are these people on crack? Shh. Don't read that out loud to the Wookees. They like crack too much and it's not good for them.

But seriously. Vocabulary builders? "What did your mom write?" "Oh, she told me that PSEUDAPOSTLE means FALSE APOSTLE, and if I didn't memorize it I would never see my friends again." 


Actually, The Pseudapostles is not a bad name for a creepy book. 

Well, lovey, it's 5pm there, so you and the Wookees are crafting dinner in your handmade elk skin woks. I like imagining what you're doing at various hours of the day. What are some of your friends' names? Chewbaccarina seems, well, too obvious. Margewccawitz. That sounds like a nice Wookee girl name. Tell Margewccawitz that I also send my love, and she is welcome to visit as long as she wears a loincloth when we go to MASS MoCA. 

Hi. You're pretty. You must get that from your mother. I hear she is a raven-haired green-eyed Celtic-Polish beauty of great legend and mystery, with massive mandala boobs that the Ancients had prophesized. 

I hope none of the Wookees eats you before you get to see Emma again. Don't tell them about Emma, actually. It may make them jealous, and I have seen all three Star Wars (the ones that were GOOD) and you DO NOT want to make a Wookee jealous. 

Going to hack into Wookee Camp Website now and see if I can download or upload or middle-load any stray pictures of you.

I love you,