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A Slippery Slope for Scouting

October 12, 2017

So y’all know I am a Girl Scout troop leader. I was not involved in scouting as a child, unless you want to count the maybe three months in first grade that I was a Brownie before my dad got orders and we moved across the country.

My in-laws, however, are uber involved in scouting. The Husband is an Eagle Scout and is also a lifetime member of Girl Scouts USA. He has two sisters so, by default, he was involved in all aspects of both Girl Scouts (GSUSA) and Boy Scouts (BSA).

When the decision was announced yesterday that Boy Scouts would begin accepting girls, he was all for it. He thinks it’s great. He thinks the opportunity for our girls to earn Eagle and Gold is fantastic.

I disagree because I am a cynic!  I have two major challenges with this whole topic. One concerns BSA and one concerns GSUSA.

Both organizations are facing decreasing membership. There is just too much competition for kids’ attention. Scouting, which is fabulous, is losing out to club sports, electronic endeavors and homework overload. Instead of focusing on recruiting boys, I think BSA is taking the easy way by pretending to be all inclusive and welcoming girls. Only time will tell if there are any marketing efforts put into recruiting girls. I highly doubt it.  Instead I think BSA is hoping that all the girl siblings, who are already hanging out at their brothers’ events, will join the ranks thus increasing membership. They don’t really want the girls involved, but have figured out it makes good business sense to allow sisters of current boy scouts to join. It’s all about the mighty dollar, not about providing girls with leadership skills, confidence, team building and independence, instead girls are being used as pawns in BSA’s feeble attempt at increasing membership. There are countless boys who they should be focusing on.

By default, the girls who participate in BSA will, of course, learn valuable life skills. But I contend they will get much more from participating in a girl scout troop. The Husband has argued that the girls are not afforded as many opportunities for outdoor activities as the boy scouts offer. I disagree there are plenty of troops who do quite a bit of outdoor stuff (just not my troop because that is NOT my thing!) I will agree that GSUSA makes it extremely difficult to do outdoorsy stuff. The amount of training, paperwork, forms, contingency plans, etc are daunting. GSUSA has made it very difficult to just go camping or do anything outside.

Alas, my biggest challenge with GSUSA in this situation is their lack of focus on branding the Gold Award. All of the news stories last night discussed the prestige associated with rank of Eagle Scout.  I agree it is a wonderful thing. It’s beneficial for college applications, military rank, general leadership skills, community building, etc. but guess what? The Gold Award carries the same prestige, but not that many people know about it. GSUSA has done a terrible disservice to girls with their lack of focus on the benefits of earning a Gold Award.

People who I have talked to whose children have earned these awards almost all agree that earning a Gold Award, is actually more difficult than earning Eagle Scout, but the vast majority of the population have never heard of the Gold Award.  People also agree that the path to Eagle is harder than the path to Gold, but the actual requirements for the final project is where Gold is more difficult. I’m not arguing that one is better or more difficult than the other!  They are both fantastic awards that encourage scouts to develop amazing life-long skills. My point is that GSUSA needs to create a whole branding campaign for the Gold Award so that society recognizes the girls who earn it equally as they do Eagle Scouts.

Bottom line with this change, will it really affect me or my girls? Not really. If my girls want to go for Eagle Scout, I will support them through it to the best of my abilities. I just hope that we can find a pack where they will fit it. My concern for BSA is that while some packs will accept girls with open arms, I am afraid others will dig their heels in and not allow girls to participate, which in this crazy society we live in will likely result in even more legal issues for BSA; something they certainly cannot afford.

I admit I would rather let my conservative flag fly on this one and leave Boy Scouts to the boys and Girl Scouts to the girls, but I’m just one voice in a sea of millions.

 

Just an aside, as a PR professional, I think GSUSA could have maybe worded this statement a little better. While I agree with the sentiment, it’s harsh! WOW!

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When My Tires Get Slashed…

October 6, 2017

Or my house gets egged, we know to blame the Little One.

By now y’all know the Little One is a bundle of energy. She plays hard. She’s never met a stranger and she always says exactly what she thinks. Yes, I often cringe when she opens her mouth, but it is part of her charm.  Last night the Husband took the Big One to youth group so it was just me and the Little One at home.

After we finished painting her cast, I was back in the bathroom washing my face when all of the sudden I hear the Little One racing around the house, with the tag chasing behind her. We have hardwood floors so there is no sneaking around our house. My face was wet and soapy so I just hollered, “You okay?” in response to the running footsteps. No response. Oy vey, again those of you who know the Little One….

I quickly rinsed the soap and proceeded to the front of the house to see what the commotion was about.

It was cool last night, so as usual we had the front door open, screen door shut. We also have a ginormous window on the front of our house. The Little One loves to watch the world go by so the blinds were wide open. Apparently she watched an older model white Honda Accord drive by. There was a female driver and two late teens/young adult males riding on the trunk of the car. Intrigued by what was happening she raced to the play room windows to further watch the car after it drove past our house.

She climbed up on the play room bed and watched out the side window (it’s a pretty high window, I too have to stand on the bed to spy outside!). As the car approached the stop sign at the end of our street the two males, hopped off the trunk and proceeded to “push” the car. As they did this, according to the Little One, the female driver accelerated quickly around the corner causing both males to fall on their faces.

So she and I walked outside to see if the car was gone and/or the males were alright. We got to the end of our street and saw the car parked on the side of the street, around the corner from our house. The three people in question were all standing next to the car. They appeared to be laughing and having a good time.

There’s the idiots, Mom!” the Little One said rather loudly. “One of them is even smoking. EWWWWWWWW!”

At this point, they have now seen us looking at them, but continue with whatever they are doing.

Convinced that nobody was injured in this little stunt, the Little One and I returned to our house.

Now I have a routine in the evening. After washing my face, I typically also brush my teeth. This is my feeble attempt to prevent late night snacking.  So I returned to the bathroom once again this time to brush my teeth.

As I am brushing, mouth full of Crest sudsiness, I hear the Little One say, “Hey there’s one of the idiots!

Oy vey, this kid. So I finish brushing and start walking towards the living room, the Little One intercepts me in the hallway. She is sheepishly giggling, “Mom, the idiot heard me call him an idiot. He stopped and stared at me through the window.”

So she and I have a quick little chat about watching what we say and how loud we say it, YES! Even within our own home. Then we quickly closed all the windows and blinds.

I can’t really fault her honesty. They are idiots. But unfortunately in this day and age, I am now waiting for my tires to get slashed or house to get egged.

Picasso, I am Not

October 5, 2017

Lots of people think I am really artsy and creative, I hate to burst any bubbles, but I am not really all that creative on my own. I am really good at finding ideas and then manipulating them and making them my own. So when the Little One asked me to paint her cast for Halloween I panicked a little bit. You see I am pretty good with manipulating and creating things on the computer, but actually putting paint to paper (or in this case fiberglass) I was a little intimidated, actually I was a lot intimidated.

But you see my poor child has had rough last five weeks. It started back in August, right before school started. She and her friend were trying to build a fort in the backyard. One thing led to another, led to another and the Little One fell backwards landing funky on her wrist. The x-rays were a bit inconclusive whether or not there was a fracture, so they labeled it a “growth plate injury” and put her in a long-arm cast for three weeks. Now this, of course, is not the first broken bone for this kid. We had the epic fall when she was six. Then two years ago, she got a scooter for Christmas, fell off of it and broke her left wrist.

So starting school in the midst of a terrible heat wave while wearing a long arm was tough but she managed it. Her three weeks were up, we got the cast removed and all was good.

I specifically asked about restrictions with the cast off and was told, “her only restrictions are her own pain.” Having her whole arm immobilized for three weeks takes its toll. They gave us a brace, told her to wear it for 7-10 days and then all should be fine.

So it was TWO DAYS after getting her cast off, when the next adventure began.  I picked her up from school, she was white and cradling her arm tightly against her body. I knew this was a very bad sign. So I asked her what happened.  She said, “Well, I kinda tripped over the soccer ball and fell on my arm.” Now mind you I knew they were playing soccer for PE, so I specifically said to her, “stay away from the soccer ball. You can ‘play’ soccer without being in the thick of things.” The child clearly does not listen well. It’s “too hard” to not play she said.

That was a Friday. I was in denial all evening. Then I cried myself to sleep that night because I knew she hurt herself again.

On Monday we went to see the doctor and got the diagnosis. She fractured her left elbow. OY vey! So the doctor sent us off to orthopedics to get a soft cast applied while we waited a couple days for the ortho referral. So then on Wednesday, ONE WEEK, since we got the other cast off, she got another long-arm cast for another three weeks.

Fast forward two weeks and she was complaining that her cast was too tight. She had been complaining since it was applied, but I told her it would be fine once the swelling from the injury went down. Well that never really happened so we went back in to the cast room yesterday because she has some nasty and painful blisters all around her fingers where the cast has rubbed the skin raw (fiberglass vs flesh is what the ortho tech told us… fiberglass always win!). They replaced her cast and then as we were leaving, we met a woman who had an amazing phoenix painted on her cast. It was gorgeous. I really should have taken a picture of it.

So now the Little One decides she wants her cast painted. We had talked about it before, but again, a painter I am not, so I had managed to put her off. But now she was fired up after seeing this amazing art work.

The Little One got a black and purple cast this time and asked for Halloween stuff painted on it so we went to work this afternoon. (side note she has now had a cast in every color that Kaiser offers!) I am not going to lie, my expectations for myself for very low. The Little One’s expectations for me where also very low (thanks kid!)  But I surprised both of us with how well it all came out. They are clearly not difficult pieces. They certainly do not look professional. But hey they are readable. I think it’s pretty clear exactly what they are!

   

Since I really have no artistic abilities, I printed out clipart, cut them down to make stencils, traced them and then painted them!

 

 

Yes, Again!

August 23, 2017

As the Little One and I sat in the Cast Room waiting area, yes there is such a thing, I contemplated sharing about yet another apparently fractured wrist.* We often joke about people thinking that I must be the worst parent in the world because of the number of fractures this kid has had. She had the epic fall that resulted in surgery and pins, then the fractured wrist as a result of the brand new Christmas scooter (December 2016), then the fall just a few months ago in May and now this latest fall last week.

I really was doubting my parenting skills as we sat there. Yes, it’s silly to feel this way. The epic fall was at school. The other falls did all happen at home, but she was outside and I was inside. The kid just plays hard. She has no other speeds. It’s all or nothing.

The other thing about this kid is her curiosity. She has never met a stranger. She will talk to anyone and everyone. So as we were sitting there for 45 minutes waiting for our turn in the cast room, the Little One talked to every single person who walked by.

It started when I went to the restroom. I returned and she was fully engaged in a conversation with a mom and her son, who was about the Little One’s age. He had fallen off his bike and broken his ankle. He just got the hard cast off, but is now in a boot for three more weeks. So bummed for him to miss his soccer tournament this weekend. Little One shared her tale of woe with them.

Then the next guy she talked to had a nasty looking wound on his forearm when we first arrived (he was between casts). When the guy emerged from the cast room with a beautiful new green cast. Little One asked what he was in for. He explained how he fell off his roof while watching fireworks on July 4. (!!)  In addition to the originally visible stitches he told her about the 5 rods that now live in his wrist.

Next out of the cast room was a middle-aged woman with her arm in a sling. The Little One asked her what her problem was. She simply said, “I tripped,” And walked away. She didn’t want to talk to us. But that was okay, because once she was out of earshot, her husband was more than happy to fill us in on what happened to her. She actually tripped while hiking and had already been in her cast for 5 and a half weeks. She was apparently not happy to be getting another cast. He said she was itching to get back to work. The husband then asked the Little One her story, so she happily shared.

After that, a good-looking 20-something year old guy sat down across from the Little One. He had just had his cast removed and was waiting for the follow-up X-rays. Cody, was his name. He fractured his forearm playing football with his buddies. He was tackling a guy and the guy’s knee came down on Cody’s arm breaking it. He then asked Little One her story, so she happily shared again.

Cody got called back to x-ray, so we were again alone. Then another couple arrived. The wife was using a knee scooter she went to x-ray and then returned, sitting next to me. The Little One grilled her on her story next. She happily shared that this time was a scheduled surgery to correct a flat foot and a “host of other issues.” She told the Little One about all the bones she’d broken over the years. She said she’s had stiches, pins, rods, casts, you name it she’s had it.  Her advice to the Little One was to slow down, but keep being active and having fun!

Next out of the cast room was a 25-year-old woman with long braids and tattoos. She was a hoot. She sat down next to the Little One, having no idea what she was in for. Little One, started the conversation like most of the others, “Soooo what’d you do?”

The gal said she too had tripped. “Where were ya?” the Little One asked. At this point, the gal knew she was in for. She matter of factly replied said she tripped over a gym bag, but it was NOT her own and she had not placed it in her pathway.  She was at a hotel on a staycation. Someone put their bag down, and she proceeded to trip and fall. She had already been in her cast for 5 weeks and was told she’d be in a cast for 12-18 weeks. She apparently has a really bad break. She and the Little One discussed cast colors and what they should each get next.

At that point, our funny friend was called back for her x-rays and our friend, Cody returned. He saw us, broke out into a huge grin and said, “I’m back and you are STILL here.”

Yes, Cody we were still there. While Cody was hoping to be released, he was not so lucky, they told him they were re-casting him for three more weeks.

Finally they called the Little One back. The cast room guy asked if she’d had a cast before. We both laughed. So he said he’d be quick then since we knew the drill. Little One picked her colors – blue cast with green stripes and the tech got to work. A few minutes later, the tech apologized for the delay and sent us on our way. As we emerged from the cast room, Cody was waiting. “Hey nice colors!” he exclaimed. “Thanks,” the Little One replied. “Maybe we’ll see ya again in three weeks!”

Then I had to burst her bubble because our follow-up appointment will be at a facility much closer to home. So we bid adieu to our friend Cody and went on our merry way.

So the bottom line here, each of the people we met had tales of many broken bones and injuries prior to their existing conditions. So, hooray!  I am not a horrible parent; lots of people break lots of bones every day!

My kid also does not have freakishly weak bones. The doctor said, part of the problem is growth plates are challenging. He didn’t see anything on the x-rays that indicate there is anything physiologically wrong with her bones. She just plays hard and falls hard.

As the mom, I was honored that we met plenty of “her people” today. They all seemed like nice, normal, intelligent folks (well except for maybe the roof guy!)  If you don’t believe me, park yourself in the Cast Room waiting area some day and listen to the stories people tell!

*I say “apparently” because who knows if it’s truly fractured. The doctor said he didn’t see a fracture but there is so much swelling and pain (just like in May) that it’s hard to tell. Growth plate injuries are very difficult to definitively diagnose. Her discharge paperwork does say wrist fracture though, so who knows!

Oh, YES, I Did!

August 5, 2017

Yep, I just took $5 from my kid. I have zero reservations about it either.

A little back story, I do everyone’s laundry. Don’t judge me, yes my kids need to know how to do it but most days it’s just easier if I do it. They put their own laundry away, but I do wash, dry and fold it. In a pinch, they are smart enough to do it themselves and have done it once or twice.

Anyway, my girls play hard. They get dirty and as such, they are stinky. Yes, my kids stink. It’s been so hot and humid, that though rare recently, when they wear socks, those things get ripe. A few months ago I was griping and grumbling about inside out nasty socks and underwear still attached to shorts in the dirty clothes hamper. So The Husband and Little One worked out a deal that if she tosses her clothes in the dirty clothes hamper inside out, she owes me $1 per piece. It was a win for me!

She did really well and was committed when the deal first started. After a few months, I’d occasionally still find inside out stuff but it was rare so I let it go.

Well, last night after taking a shower the Little One came out to the living room wrapped only in a towel and announced in a not-so-pleasant fashion that she was “out of pajamas!” Another little backstory here, the Little One has a wonderful habit of just tossing her dirty clothes wherever she strips them off. Typically the floor of her room is covered with inside out clothes. Just like everyone else in the family, if they expect me to wash their clothes, they need to get said clothes to the dirty clothes hamper. I do not go hunting and gathering for dirty stuff. So often, she waits until I’ve washed everything, THEN she decides to clean her room. This is what happened earlier in the week.

So as she was exclaiming her dissatisfaction with my laundry abilities, I simply told her to find a t-shirt or something and go to bed. Her crisis was not my problem.

This morning as I began sorting the dirty clothes in the hamper to begin the wash, I found plenty of inside out clothes. Not feeling too generous after the attitude last night, I began tracking as I flipped things right side out:

One T-shirt

One pair of shorts WITH the underwear still attached (2 pieces technically)

One purple sock

Two purple socks

One pajama shorts bottom

One pajama tank top

One nightgown

As I counted I shouted from the living room, asking for clarification on the dealio that The Husband and Little One has negotiated. “Was it $1 per piece or $1 per pair, if it’s socks?”

The response from The Husband and Big One, was $1 per piece.

At that I heard little footsteps charging down the hallway, “WAIT! WAIT! WAIT!” she exclaimed.

Now she did clean both bathrooms yesterday, so as she tried justifying why her clothes were all inside out, I decided to cut her a deal and only charge her $5 instead of the $8 it should have been.

We’ll see if this lesson of handing mom the $5 really sticks or I make even more money on the deal.

“Aren’t You Going to Put It Away?”

July 27, 2017

Summer is so much fun, right? Constant togetherness with your sibling. Not enough “fun” stuff to do. Your mom constantly saying, “Go read a book!” when you complain about being bored. It’s been a long couple of weeks since we returned from the “Epic Adventure!” (Yes, I am working on sharing some of those stories, but THAT is a project!)

The summer has been different for the girls. Usually they get to pick a couple of Girl Scout camps to attend and then we do fun stuff on the off weeks. Well because the Epic Adventure began on the last day of school, we opted to not do any Girl Scout camps. That means since returning from the 23-day, 6,149 mile road trip we haven’t done much “fun stuff.”

Today the girls were picking at each other as usual and I was getting more and more frustrated. So in my infinite wisdom I told them to enjoy the TV today because there will be NO TV tomorrow. (Pretty sure this is a case where I am punishing myself more than them!) UGH!

Anyway, the Little One just wanted to play in the backyard. She kept asking the Big One, badminton? Frisbee? Catch? Baseball? Water balloons? Each time the Big One refused. Oh the joys of tweendom.

So I told the Little One I would play with her despite the laundry, dirty dishes, etc. So first up was badminton. It was only a matter of minutes before the birdie was on the patio roof. So I dragged out the ladder, climbed to the top, used the giant broomstick and retrieved the birdie. Then I put the ladder away while the Little One put the broom away.

A few more minutes of badminton and guess what happened? Yep! Birdie on the roof again. So I again got out the ladder and broom, and repeated the retrieval process. This time I also retrieved two hula hoops while I was up there.  Then we put the ladder and broom back in the garage.

Then I suggested we try something different. The Little One was onboard so she grabbed the Frisbee. A few tosses of the Frisbee and all was well, until it wasn’t,  and we watched as the Frisbee soared up and over the fence. Of course it went towards the corner of the yard so we weren’t sure which neighbor’s yard it went into. So I grabbed the ladder again. This time the Little One climbed up and peeked over the fence to see which neighbor we were going to visit. She spotted the Frisbee and off we went around the block to retrieve it.

Our elderly neighbor sweetly told us to “go on in the back and get it!” So the Little One went thru the neighbor’s gate and retrieved it.

We walked back home and tossed the Frisbee again for a bit. Things were going so well. Then the Little One tried to get a little fancy and what do you think happened? Yep, back up on the roof it went. So guess what we did? Yep, got the ladder and broomstick out of the garage. I climbed to the top of the ladder and retrieved the Frisbee.

Only this time, when I climbed back down the ladder, I simply folded it up and leaned it against the outside of the garage.

The Little One, who was perplexed after putting the broomstick away yet again asked, “Mom, aren’t you going to put it away?”

Fool me once kid, shame on you. Fool me twice kid, shame on me. Only it took me three times to learn my lesson!

I only wish that I could say the story ended here. But alas it does not. After the third trip up the ladder, I decided I needed a drink of water. So I turned my back on the Little One for all of 6 seconds to take a sip of water and what do you think she did?

Nope, it didn’t go on the roof…. It went over the fence again! So back around the corner we went. This time I assured our neighbor we were done with the Frisbee.

Riddle Me This

July 25, 2017

I know I have lamented about this on Facebook, so I apologize again for this little rant.

So the Big One has a well child appointment coming up this week. Thankfully I put this appointment reminder on my phone because in the great state of California, the powers that be have decided that once my child turned 12 years old she is entitled to great privacy surrounding her healthcare. I can no longer see her online health information including appointment reminders, immunizations info and past lab results.

Well, here’s the deal as long as the state of California is NOT paying for said child’s healthcare, they really need to keep their noses out of her perceived need for privacy.

As her mother, the one who manages her healthcare, I have always had access to her medical information. So if there was a Girl Scout permission slip where I needed the dates for her immunizations, I could log into the system and quickly see all of her immunization dates. If the other moms were comparing the size of similar aged children, I could log into the system and quickly see how much the Big One weighed at her last appointment. When The Husband talked about visiting amusement parks, we could easily log in and see just how tall she was to determine exactly which rides she could go on.

But now that she is 12, the state of California thinks I should not have access to this information. So back to the well child appointment that is coming up in a couple days. I have now received, via e-mail, TWO notifications regarding a health questionnaire that the physician has requested be completed before the upcoming appointment. Funny thing is, I cannot access the questionnaire because again the state of California believes my child needs privacy.

I know what you are thinking, this really is an easy fix. If she is old enough to deserve privacy, let her have her own online account to manage these things herself. Well, here’s the kicker, she is apparently old enough to deserve privacy, but she is NOT old enough to create her own online account. She has to be 13 to be considered responsible enough to have an online account.  Someone please explain this to me.

I’ve done some research on this challenge. While the state of California made the laws, it seems Kaiser is also partially to blame. There are other healthcare systems in California that have special online systems for kids age 12-17 that allow individual accounts. The information that Kaiser provides seems to contradict their reality. As I read this information, I should still have access to her online account until she turns 13, but that is not the reality. I guess I will be reaching out to Member Services again to figure out what’s actually going on.

As an aside, my child is healthy. She doesn’t have any difficult or chronic conditions that we have to manage daily. So, yes for us this is simply a very minor inconvenience. My heart goes out to my friends and family members who children have chronic conditions that require daily medical interventions. I have heard those horror stories regarding access and cannot imagine the stress that adds to survival each day. If only we lived in a world where the powers that be truly understood the daily plight of the average citizen.

 

I can still e-mail her doctor and vice versa…

I can even read the message!

OOPS! Just kidding I can’t do what they are asking me to do!