Like all siblings, Catie sometimes gets jealous of Lucy. She says that I pay more attention to Lucy, and that I don’t take care of her like I do with Lucy. I’ve tried to explain that any difference in how I treat them is because Lucy is younger and needs more from me – Lucy can’t open the fridge by herself like Catie can, Lucy can’t wipe her own butt like Catie can, that kind of thing – and I try to reassure her that I did all of those same things for Catie when she was 3. And also, someday when Lucy is 7, she’ll do all the stuff that Catie does now.
I don’t know how much it helps to tell her that, but lately, I’ve been trying to make sure that Catie and I get more one-on-one time. We’ll drop Lucy with my parents for a while and do something, just the two of us.
To be fair, I also try to make sure I get one-on-one time with Lucy, but since she’s so much younger, Lucy thinks that getting to go to the grocery store with me – “just me! No Catie!” – is a big huge treat. We get the cart with the attached car, she hops out to get things off the shelves for me (well, the lower shelves), and she thinks she is hot stuff as the only child. She chats my ear off through the whole store, and we have a blast. Meanwhile, Catie hates grocery shopping, so she’s more than happy to hang out on my parents’ couch and read books aloud to my dad while Lucy and I go to Food Lion.
When it’s “Catie and Mommy Time,” we do things like go roller skating (someplace I’d never take Lucy, because I’d be afraid the big kids would mow her down), or go to a Pokemon tournament, or whatever she wants to do.
One of Catie’s friends from school is involved in Girl Scouts. Back in April or May, they had a nature hike where each girl was allowed to bring along a friend. She invited Catie, and Catie loved it. She came back asking if she could join Girl Scouts.
This was so out of character for her – my cautious child who never wants to try anything new, suddenly wants to join Girl Scouts? I was so thrown off by her enthusiasm, but happy that she wanted to try it out, that I said yes, of course.
Disclaimer: I was never in the Girl Scouts. I know next to nothing about Girl Scouts, aside from the fact that they sell very delicious cookies.
The Girl Scouts’ calendar follows along with the traditional school calendar, so there was no point in signing her up in May, when they were about to end for the summer. I enrolled her for the 2014-15 year, and the first meeting was this past Monday.
In the few months since the nature hike, Catie changed her mind back and forth a couple of times about Girl Scouts. She wanted to go, then she didn’t.
Finally, I said to her, “Look, we’ll go to the first meeting, and see how it goes. If you don’t like it, we don’t have to go again. If you go a few times and then decide you don’t like it, you can stop. There’s no rule that you’re going to stuck with this for life, ok?”
Since I had given her an easy out, she agreed.
Here’s how that whole troop meeting thing went down:
The meeting started at 6:00. At 5:15, I picked up the girls from daycare. I dropped Lucy off with my parents, and Catie and I set off for a Baptist church on the far side of town, where the troop meeting was being held.
During the meeting, the troop leader talked the parents through the troop handbook, while the girls sat around a table and did some sort of “getting to know each other” exercises.
The meeting wrapped up a little after 7:30 (an hour and a half of talking about Girl Scout policies and my eyes were starting to glaze over), then we rushed back to my parents’ house. My mom had food waiting for us, and God bless her for that, because Catie and I were both starving.
By the time we got home, it was 8:30, then I had to get the kids bathed and ready for bed, and they were so hyper that it took another hour to get them settled down to sleep.
It was exhausting. And the kicker? We hadn’t even walked out of the church meeting room before Catie whispered to me, “You said that I wouldn’t have to go back if I hated it? And I hated it.”
When I was talking about Girl Scouts with the mom of Catie’s friend, she said that there was one troop meeting a month, and then you just pick and choose various events that your kid wants to attend. That sounds easy enough, right?
It turns out there are THREE troop meetings a month, and attendance is mandatory at all of them. And it’s a lot more expensive than I thought it was. And all of the fundraising sales (cookies, yes, but they also sell other stuff in the fall) require participation as well.
It was really the required troop meetings that got me. I was so overwhelmed on Monday night, and the thought of doing that kind of crazy rushed evening, 3 out of 4 Monday nights every month? I don’t think I can do that.
So, honestly, I was a little relieved when Catie said that she hated it. I mean, I get that the Girl Scouts are a good organization, and it could potentially provide her with all kinds of opportunities later in life, but I also don’t think it’s mandatory.
I emailed Catie’s troop leader with a note that basically said, “thanks, but this isn’t going to work for us.” My understanding is that our county has girls on a waitlist to join Girl Scout troops, so hopefully this will provide an opportunity for one of them, who might be a better fit for Girl Scouts than us.
Also? It means that I won’t be sitting at a folding table in front of a grocery store in February trying to sell cookies with my kid. And I’m pretty ok with that.