Friday, May 27, 2011

Scouts or Just Armed and Dangerous?

Kaiden was sucked into the boyhood dream they call Cub Scouts. This guy must have been a helluva salesman, gearing his pitch to six- and seven-year-olds...promising BB guns, bow and arrows, fishing and camping. They really know how to reel them in. It's a pre-tween cult! Not that I have anything against Scouts really. I think they do wonderful things, things from which Kaiden could probably benefit. I mean when I was young, I was actually jealous that I couldn't be in Scouts. My mind at that tender age conjured up images of skinning a bear with nothing but a Swiss army knife, building fires by rubbing twigs together, creating a campsite that included cans of beans roasted over aforementioned fire, a sheet thrown over a tree branch as a tent, sitting around telling ghost stories while roasting marshmallows on a twig cut by that exact same army knife, learning to tie knots and dress horrifying wounds using only your day-old socks.

Oh, and occasionally helping an old lady across the street, which I now probably qualify as being the helpee. But my understanding was that it was a father-son sort of thing, and apparently, in this world of gender equality, MOMS can now play the role that used to be exclusively held by dads. Which just means another thing to try to schedule around, another hour later that I would be up at night to finish the things I didn't get done during the day, and less time to myself. I know that sounds incredibly selfish, but after Kaiden realizes that not every meeting involves the use of a deadly weapon, he'd get bored, and then it would be just more fights and episodes of bribery to get him to continue to go. And trust me, he wouldn't be grateful for any of the time and effort I put in to it.

Why me? Why wouldn't his dad go you may ask? Besides the fact that he sometimes is required to work nights and weekends, this man HATES to socialize. Unless it's family, he avoids it at all costs. We are totally opposite in this way and it nearly destroyed our relationship once. The man would be content to have us live in a cave, away from civilization, as long as he had cable TV, his La-Z-Boy, and the Schwan's man stopped by every week to deliver ice cream sandwiches. I'm not exactly sure what causes this fear of the human species, you'd think growing up as the youngest of six boys, he'd be used to being surrounded by other living, breathing beings. I think he sometimes feels as though he is constantly being judged or compared to other males and he imagines that he just doesn't measure up. Which is totally ridiculous, because he's quite handsome and in the times that I've forced him (by any means necessary) to be among a group of people he isn't familiar with...he shown quite the talent for quick wit and a marvelous sense of humor.

But I digress. Kaiden came home and breathlessly described all these cool things that Cub Scouts would let him do, focusing mainly on weapons of destruction and camping. I reviewed the highlights sent home in the flier and tried to picture my involvement in each event.

A) Shooting a gun. At a target.That's all fine and good under close supervision. But I have seen this boy's temper tantrums and all it would take is some helpful criticism and I would be facing a 50/50 chance of either a meltdown that included the tearful, guilt inducing "You don't love me" scenario, or an ass full of BBs.

B) Learning archery. See problem A, substitute  helpful criticism with the frustration of not being able to pull back a bow (I've tried, it's not as easy as Russell Crowe or Brad Pitt make it look), an ass full of BBs with an arrow through the head...Steve Martin style.
Wild and Crazy Guy!

C) Hiking and camp out. Now this would be fun for me, except...what if the standard father-son thing is still prevalent, and I'm the only female on the trip? Consequently, I would be the only one dragging a carry-on luggage suitcase behind me containing several outfits (only because I don't know what the weather will bring, not because I'm a fashionista), my make-up (meeting ME in the dead of night without make-up will haunt those boys longer than any piddly ghost story), two rolls of toilet paper (I'm no dummy), bug spray, sun block, first aid kit, wine opener and a bottle of Relax white wine (trust me, I'll need it.)

D) Earn badges! Translation...have your mom finish every attempt you make at earning a badge because you got "bored" 10 minutes into it. Not to mention, I can't sew, so he'd be the only boy with badges stuck to his banner(?) using super glue or duct tape.

E) Promotes self-esteem! Well yes, I worked hard for those badges!

F) Wear the Scout uniform proudly. Um, they are seriously in need of an update. The bandanna around the neck as a fashion statement went out in the 80s. Trust me on this one. I was there. I owned one in nearly every color.
Bad hair band.

He seemed genuinely excited, and after hours of begging, pleading, stomping off to his room only to return and beg and plead some more, we decided to let him attend a "Hooked on Scouting" event. A one-time deal to satisfy his curiosity, but no long term commitment. It was to be a family affair, promising a free meal of hot dogs, chips and lemonade. I paid $10 to attend.

Kamrin, upon learning we were going "fishing" was in hyper-excitement mode. He loves to fish. We were fishing in a pond in the middle of a residential neighborhood. (Do they stock ponds with fish for this sort of thing?) The entire 10 minute drive consisted of the boys fighting for whatever reason, (he looked at me!) and Shawn and I threatening to turn around and go home (which we wouldn't because I PAID $10!) We parked the car, and sneaky Kam, managed to unhook his seat belt, maneuver his way across the front seat while simultaneously hitting the button to pop the trunk (where his fishing rod was). While I tried to grabbed my eco-friendly bag containing spare jackets just in case (see what I mean?), Kamrin grabbed his rod and RAN toward the pond, twirling his rod above his head like a deranged Knight with a medieval spiked battle flail.

Long story short, I'm hoping the registration form isn't binding in any way, the kids were so honed in on fishing, they skipped all the "stations" (learning to cast, tie a knot -AHA!, and practice netting a fish) and went straight for the free worms. I gently, yet forcefully, nudged my kids towards the far end of the pond, away from potential hook-in-eye and worm-in-lap victims, to allow them to cast their line. Ten minutes later, they were begging me to go play on the playground. Not even CLOSE to $10 worth of fishing. Oh, and the food? It was windy enough where two chips were consumed before they, and the plate they were on, went flying. Both pants and shirts will need to be soaked to remove ketchup stains and I didn't even get to eat due to the gross factor of not being able to wash my hands after handling earthworms.

While the two boys played on the playground, Shawn and I sat on the bench and observed other families calmly laughing and fishing. "What are we doing wrong?" Shawn asked me. "I can't tell ya," I replied, "Schmid-el-lits." (Our code word for 'Little Schmits'- you can figure that one out).


Where's my flippin' badge?


  1. DON'T do it!! But you probably will. I did. I hated every minute of it. But I'll be fondly thinking of you while your doing it!

  2. Vigorously nodding my head in agreement!

  3. Finally, a place where I can admit without being tagged UNAmerican....I hate the Scouts! I find them to be anti-family dragging parts of my crew off for a weekend once a month for some stupid camp out. Add the weekly meeting, door to door popcorn sales, hikes and other badge winning activities away from home and I barely saw the men of the family for a few years there.

    Congrats on a year of blogging!

  4. And that popcorn isn't cheap! No way I would ask my neighbors to pay that much. Thank you for reading!