Tuesday, March 20, 2012

We Can't Scout Forever

I believe that kids need lots of activities to keep themselves busy and out of trouble… and off the damn computer games. I don’t mean that they need so many activities that we run from place to place every single day. An activity or two at any given time works for me.

I also try to let them explore whatever they are interested in. Sugar has gone through soccer, softball, dance, gymnastics, Brownies, Girl Scouts, violin, ice skating… The only rule that we have set with her is that if she signs up for something, she is required to stick with it for the entire season or session. When the session is over, it’s her decision to continue or quit. I won’t say I wasn’t devastated when she quit gymnastics. She was so little and cute and had the perfect build, but I can’t be *that* mom. Well, I can’t be her all the time anyway.

I recently found out that Sugar’s Girl Scout troop would be disbanding after this year. Good thing I never got her vest done (I suck, I know). I told Sugar what I had learned and she said immediately, “We need to find another troop for me to join.” I was shocked by her response. It’s not like her troop really does more than meet every other week. They don’t take field trips or do activities outside the normal meeting (which is why I never thought the vest was all that important.) Sugar said she would go to school the following day and ask the girls in her troop what they planned on doing.

The next day she was picked up from school by Skinny Bitch. Sugar asked Skinny and her daughter for advice. She told them that her troop was disbanding and that all her friends weren’t going to be Girl Scouts again. She really wasn’t interested in being the new girl in a different troop. So Skinny said, “I’m sure it’ll be fine if you quit too then.” And Sugar responds, “But my grandma was a Girl Scout through high school.” Like the good friend she is, Skinny Bitch texted me and told me what Sugar had said.

When I picked Sugar up, I pretended that I knew nothing and asked her what happened when she asked her friends about Girl Scouts. She sadly told me that none of them wanted to do it anymore. When I asked what she liked about Scouts so much, she didn’t have an answer. So I threw down the $10 million question: Has anyone ever made you feel like you had to stay in the Girl Scouts? A look of relief washed over her face and the story stumbled out so quickly words tripped over each other.

Apparently, her grandmother (not my mother) had told her that she was a scout for years and years and they did all these exciting things and Sugar really should stick with it until she’s 86. And then: “I don’t want to disappoint Grandma and make her sad.”

There are many things I could have said in response to her statement. Including a snarky, “Well, she’s never been overly concerned about disappointing you, has she?” It was incredibly difficult at that point for me to NOT pull a nutty and bitch endlessly to my kid about my mother-in-law. That’s just not right.

Instead I told her that she had been a Girl Scout since first grade, so five years now. She’s been with the same troop but had three different leaders and was the only remaining original troop member. If she was done with being a scout, she could quit when her troop disbanded. I told her that she didn’t have an obligation to ANYONE to continue with an activity she really didn’t enjoy. Seriously, if I was going to force her to do anything, she’d still be doing damn gymnastics. Girl was GOOD.

I told her not to worry about Grandma, I would have Daddy talk to her. I told EN that he needed to let his mother know that Sugar’s troop disbanded and she wouldn’t be joining another. End of story. If she has questions, ask EN but be sure to let her know that she is NOT allowed to make Sugar feel bad about her decision.

I’m left scratching my head. My mother-in-law rarely sees my girls even though she lives 20 minutes away. Does she take time out of those infrequent visits to look up from ebay and lecture my girl on loving Girl Scouts? What did she say exactly that would make Sugar feel like she had to continue being a scout?  It’s also interesting to me that there’s never been any mention of EN’s sister being a Girl Scout and if MIL was so into it, wouldn’t she have been the troop leader.

Or again, it’s me being over-sensitive. MIL is just trying her hardest to have something in common with my girl. And what could be more delightful than sharing her experiences… or lecturing her son and daughter-in-law about the proper way to sell the fucking cookies. I mean, we all know that back when she was a Girl Scout she had to bake them over an open fire and box them herself.

My kid. I’m the one that gets to put pressure on her, and I sure as hell will let her slide on something like scouts. Grades? Not so much.

With Spice entering first grade in September, I’m sure we’ll start all over with softball and soccer. So far she hasn’t been interested in much but that will change. And if we can’t find a Brownie troop for her, I know someone who’s just dying to become a scout again.

Ice Princess 


  1. That's awful that Sugar felt that much pressure from a grandmother no less. We have the same type of problem going on at our house right now except my son's grandmother has made him feel terrible about wanting to start a new activity because she doesn't like the sport. She's went as far as telling him that she will not come to any of his meets if he participates in it.

  2. What on earth gives grandmothers the right to talk to their grandkids like that? I just don't get it! They've already raised their kids! Just sit back, zippy the lippy and enjoy a child you don't have to be responsible for! Sheesh!