Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Under-Achieving Cub Scout

Liam wanted to join a cub scout den when he heard they got to sleep on an aircraft carrier.  Other than hanging out with his friends, this was his only reason for joining.  The achievements, belt loops, honor code, be-a-better-citizen stuff... not interested or appealing – only the aircraft carrier sleepover.  Hoping some of that might rub off anyway, I signed him up and was instructed to buy him a uniform. 

I had no idea there was a cub scout uniform shop where you could buy all things scouting.  It was a complete racket. In addition to the shirt, which is a polyester blend reminiscent of my middle school PE uniform, you need a cap, belt, bandana, assorted patches, and slider with your den's emblem to hold the bandana around your neck (with the top button on your shirt buttoned).  These are not cheap and Liam loses everything.  

Once I got everything home, I realized there were specific spots on the shirt for each patch and pin, but I had no idea which patch went on which spot.  And, these patches (unlike the Daisy Girl Scout patches) are not iron on.  You have to sew them on, or cut out pieces of sticky fabric to paste to the back of each patch. 

The last time I sewed anything was Thanksgiving of 1983 when my mom decided that my Christmas gift for my little sister would be a dress for her Cabbage Patch doll.  I think the partially made dress is still in my mom's sewing cabinet.  So, I went with the patch stickers.  It might have been easier to sew them actually because the stickers rolled up on my fingers and I put half the patches in the wrong place.  Later I found out that the woman at the uniform store failed to mention that the sticky fabric loses its adhesive quality in the washing machine, so I bought some fabric glue that I use to touch up each patch before each den meeting. Liam's shirt is getting a swanky 3D look these days, but he doesn't seem to care, and I'm not going to mention it.  

I have finally figured out how to differentiate the pack from the den. Packs are all the dens together.  Our den is made up of four boys and four moms.  The dads show up once in a while.  I keep trying to initiate a happy hour/pack meeting combo.  I think it would make the entire experience more enjoyable for everyone.  But we are meeting at a Lutheran church.  

Every time we have a pack meeting, our conversation goes something like this:

"Liam, go get your uniform on."
"I can't.  I used my bandana to wipe my nose."
"Where is your hat?"
"I almost lost it."
"So you have it?"
"No, but I know it is in my room."
"Where?  Oh, never mind, we are already late."  

So off we go with Liam wearing his shirt like a jacket, unbuttoned, in a t-shirt and soccer shorts.  The belt loops he's earned, he's lost, and both of us pretend we care for a few minutes before we just get in the car and listen to Black Eyed Peas. When we arrive, we realize his den is scheduled to march in with the flag.  All the other boys have ironed shirts, pants with belt loops, and clean shoes.  Liam is wearing his rainbow crocs that we bought at the flea market last year.  The straps are missing and my mother-in-law's dog bit a chunk out of the left toe.  Because Liam is "out of compliance," he is not allowed to touch the flags on the way in.  He can carry the boy scout flag on the way out.  

Fortunately, while we are trying to figure out the marching orders, another mom appears with a basket full of hand-me-down scout uniforms and we snag a hat, bandana, and slider.  If I had known about this basket, I never would have gone to the scouting store.  Since Liam is only missing his belt now, he is allowed to carry the American flag out, but he still can't talk.  The flag ceremony goes off without a hitch, but as soon as the boys are back in their spot on the floor, Liam and his friend John start wrestling.  Apparently John threw his slider in the air and it hit Liam, so Liam hid it and refused to return it.  So John tackled him.  It was a high point of the evening for both of them.

One den is supposed to perform a skit.  They’ve decided on the tooth-brushing camp skit where all the kids stand in a line and each brushes his teeth with the same toothbrush, rinses his mouth with the same water, spits into the same cup, and the last kids drinks it.  But, this is 2010.  We use antibacterial soap, Purell, and anyone who so much as sniffles in class is sent home until they are certified germ free.  So, the entire skit is mimed.  Only the parents understand what the boys are missing.  Definitely too low on the gross factor for elementary school boys, and a far cry from the skit where I licked peanut butter off the armpit of the guy I had a crush on.  Times have changed.

Finally, the meeting is over.  Liam carries the flag back.  The kid behind him clocks one of the dads in the head with the scout flag, but other than that, we are off the hook until the Pinewood Derby next week.  What, we are in charge of the Pinewood Derby?  Quick… an impromptu meeting.   But, the kids have been sitting for an hour and have to use the bathroom.  There are no bathrooms unlocked, but it is raining outside and there are plenty of trees.  Lucky them.

By the time we leave, Liam’s hat, bandana, and slider are off again.  He sighs when we get in the car, “Mommy, when do we sleep on the aircraft carrier?”


Life Laugh Latte said...

So great julie. Read it to John and he said indeed it is exactly like his troop. For some reason John bought Andy something like a size 12 shirt, so he always looks ridiculous with his shirt down to his shins. Good luck with the derby. Ben usually leaves in tears since his car always looks cool but comes in dead last. Holly

WriteCards said...

I am sooooo glad I don't have to deal with this! Michael is a perpetual walking dirt cloud (he is the poster child for Peanuts' Pig Pen) and I know the challenge of keeping up "appearances" would be way beyond either my desire or capability!

You should post more often.

And Liam should invite me when the aircraft carrier sleepover is scheduled.

weightloss klutz said...
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Frau Mahlzahn said...

That sounds more like Catholic private boarding school than like fun! Wäh! No fun.

So long,

Tracy said...

USS Hornet (Essex-class carrier) overnight was a success! He loved it, every square inch of deck space that we were allowed to access, and a bit more. He and John continued to beat on each other for fun throughout the night. The one thing he wanted was a dog tag from the gift shop. He 'almost' lost it in the car on the way home. :) We have another year of scouts ahead since the 2011 sleepover is on a submarine...