Monkey and Chunky are Cub Scouts! When we starting looking into Cub Scouts naturally the first thing I thought was, “Oh, they’ll look so cute in their uniforms!” The rest of the program sounded good too. Character training, fun activities, positive socialization, summer camp, lots of opportunities to wear out the boys.
Summer camp was our initiation. After hiking half a mile in my flip flops to drop the boys off at the camp location, I began to suspect that I was not quite prepared to be a scout mom. The other women I saw were in tennis shoes or hiking boots, and furthermore, seemed to possess some hidden control over their little Cub Scouts. While my kids darted around and shrieked like pterodactyls, the other scouts stood quietly waiting for the day’s activities to begin.
Undaunted, I returned the next day with my tennis shoes and Willie, our Blue Heeler, who is convinced that Monkey and Chunky are her cows and must be kept in line. Hey, whatever it takes. We managed to get through the week of camp, and the boys had fun once they quit acting like prehistoric terrors.
The start of school has also brought the start of regular Cub Scout meetings. This week it was finally time to get those adorable little uniforms. I made the trek to what is known as the Council Store and had what can only be described as a completely novel experience.
I didn’t know how to shop!
That’s never happened to me before!
The shirts, pants, belts and hats weren’t intimidating. But an entire row made up of bin after bin filled with mysterious patches was enough to make me shake in my destroyed denim. Then there were neckerchiefs, slides, insignia, badges, belt thingamabobs, and socks, and even Boy Scout party supplies.
I must have looked lost because a very nice, insignia-bedecked young man asked if he could help. I told him I had no idea what I needed, and he started asking questions.
“What pack are you in?”
“Um, I have a first grader and a third grader.”
“Ok, that means you have a tiger cub and a bear cub.”
“Tell me about it. They’re wild.”
“But what pack are you in, ma’am?”
“You mean the numbers?”
“Yes, the numbers.”
Once I remembered what pack we were in, he handed me number badges, a council patch, and some other things I still haven’t identified. Then he loaded me down with the rest of the paraphernalia. I followed dumbly as a man did my shopping for me.
We’ll pause here for me to recover from the humiliation. I’m gonna need a moment before we go on.
Ok. So we finally made it to the register, and I plunked my armload onto the counter. My friendly personal shopper began ringing me up, and I pawed through the various patches, trying to sort them out.
I turned a patch over and without giving it much thought, asked, “Are these supposed to be sewn on?”
“Yes, ma’am, they’re sew-on.”
“But I don’t know how to sew.”
I cringed. I’d failed again at being a good scout mom. I’m pretty sure my polite, bearded friend behind the cash register could sew on a patch with his eyes closed.
“We have Badge Magic.”
I breathed a sigh of relief and followed my Boy Scout Guide to what I’m guessing was the Single Dad section of the store where they have ready-made kits for home-economics drop-outs like myself.
I had this wild impulse to tell the guy that I can cook—like that would redeem me in his eyes. But I didn’t. I mean, let’s face it, Kraft Mac n’ Cheese doesn’t exactly scream June Cleaver.
I made my purchases, thanked him—he really was nice—and fled in shame.
Today I pulled all the stuff out of the bag, read the instructions on Badge Magic—So Simple, Even a Scout Can Do It!—got all the patches ready, and ironed the shirts. I know! Ironing! I haven’t done that in years! Then I traced the badges, cut out the shapes, affixed the Badge Magic to the badges, and stuck the badges onto the shirts. I only had one snafu and it was easily fixed. But the real test will be Monkey’s den meeting tonight. We’ll see if I managed to get all those patches on in the right spots. But for now, I’m pretty proud of myself.
Next challenge. Popcorn sales. Are scouts wearing braces exempt?
The Writer Who Speaks
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