My daughter has been at sleepaway camp for the last four weeks, and though I miss her something fierce, I have to admit that there are a few things that I don’t really miss at all.
For one thing, I don’t miss the constant fighting between her and my son. I also don’t miss having to come up with two different meals every night, since my son and my daughter like totally different kinds of foods. But mainly, what I don’t miss is my daughter’s raging case of Buy Me, Get Me, Give Me Disease.
If you’re not familiar with it, Buy Me, Get Me, Give Me Disease is a condition that typically afflicts tween-aged girls, though there have been cases reported in boys, as well. The symptoms first present at around the age of ten or eleven, persist well into the teenaged years, then resolve on their own sometime during college.
Symptoms may vary: sometimes, it manifests as the patient whining to her parents about all of the things that she desperately needs to have. Other times, the patient will casually mention to her parents those items that she thinks are really cool, while simultaneously widening her eyes into a pleading type of expression. And in other instances, the patient will simply inform her parents that everyone else has a particular item, and that she is the only one in the entire world who doesn’t.
In all cases, however, refusals by the patient’s parents to purchase the desired items, leads to excessive pouting, and, occasionally, a temper tantrum. Despite the best efforts of scientists, no vaccine for Buy Me, Get Me, Give Me Disease (BMGMGMD) has proven effective, and the only known cure involves picking up and moving to an Amish community. In most of America, it continues today in epidemic proportions.
After carefully piecing together the evidence, I believe that my daughter was first infected with BMGMGMD sometime last year, when she was ten. I think that she probably picked it up at the mall, most likely inside the Apple store, or possibly in the children’s shoe department at Nordstrom. Since then, her case has gotten progressively worse.
In fact, in the weeks before she left for camp, I noticed that her condition seemed to be rapidly deteriorating, and it was particularly bad once we began packing for camp. She mentioned new sets of “really cool” sheets, even though the ones from last summer were perfectly fine. She insisted that everyone else has jean shorts that are so short the pocket linings hang out of the bottom. And every day there was something new that she’d “heard about,” like airbrushed sweatshirts, moustache-emblazoned pinnies, Malibu Sugar hot pants, bacon bandaids, Tummy Stuffers, Butter sweat shorts, Roxy Girl bikinis, and on and on and on. When I balked at $100 sweatshirts and jean shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush, there were silent pouts and several rounds of tears. I have to be honest, when the camp bus pulled away, I was a little bit relieved.
I was kind of hoping that, perhaps, her symptoms might clear up a bit while she was at camp. It’s been reported (though no scientific studies have confirmed this) that lots of sunshine, outdoor activities, and time away from television and the internet can put the disease into remission. But I’ve had no such luck. Her first letter home went like this:
Dear Mom and Dad, I am having the best time at camp! Can you please send me a Rainbow Loom and refills in pink, purple, turquoise and white. EVERYONE here has one except for me. You can buy it on www.rainbowloom.com, or else try Amazon. Also, I really need hot pink duck tape. Miss you!
Well, at least she said please.