It all started when Henry was begging to join the Boy Scouts, and well…we’ve been there and done that with Thomas, so we were really dragging our feet signing him up. It’s not that we had a bad experience when Thomas did it, it’s just that–well, we didn’t see the point. His pack was a lot of rambunctious boys running around not listening, while the leaders struggled to get them to finish a pointless craft in under 3 hours on a school night. If you know Thomas at all, then you know that he was hunched in a corner, completely miserable. And that’s not even why we disliked it.
To be perfectly honest, I was already biased against Boy Scouts. During my first job at the advertising agency, I was assigned the Boy Scouts as a client. I was supposed to be writing their annual report, and every time I met with the head person at their office, I felt like it was film footage for a reality tv show called, “How to be a male chauvinist.” Much later, I read somewhere that the Boy Scouts have an anti-gay policy, and that sealed the deal. It’s amazing I even allowed Thomas to try it. But I’m so open-minded.
But back to Henry: So there we were, struggling with what every parent of multiple children struggles with—mustering enthusiasm for an activity that we’ve already done with our first-born. I know, it’s terrible, but it’s so true. Everything is fun the first time, but it’s just like when you start to shave your legs–how exciting is it going to be the second or third time around?
When the guilt finally started waking me up at night (or maybe that was heartburn, but either way) I finally agreed to let Henry join the Boy Scouts. I’m going to spare you the awful details, but John came home from the first meeting and indicated that he would be willing to pay Henry a large sum in order to avoid re-living the whole Boy Scout thing. Millions of dollars and a pony were mentioned.
It was bad: Henry was sad, and we felt the horrible guilt that can only be erased by adding a few extra photos and notes to the second child’s baby book. And then John had an idea.
“40 Patches,” he announced, “will be a father-son activity where we earn patches doing all the fun things they do at Boy Scouts.” He went on to explain that he could market the idea to other fathers and sons, and sell a kit which includes a description of the activities and the patches. I listened as only a best friend would.
Go ahead and laugh; I did. Until…
We went hiking at Natural Bridge so Henry could earn his hiking patch. (side note: you can actually buy patches there!) And after, when Henry was deciding what kind of patch he’d like to earn next, Thomas declared, softly, but firmly, “I’m joining. I’m doing the patch thing, too.”
Who needs the Boy Scouts when you’ve got 40 Patches?
Next up: I believe I’ve talked John into camping in the back yard while Cate and I are away at Girl Scout camp. You know, so we can all earn our camping badge the same weekend.
Side note: I feel compelled to add a note saying how much I thoroughly LOVE the Girl Scout program. I worked there, so I’m obviously biased, but I have also been extremely pleased with the program as a parent. But of course, this is my first child to be a Girl Scout and I won’t have to repeat the process, as I only have one daughter.
Also: If you are a big fan of the Boy Scouts and want to fight me after reading this: Bring it. I stand behind my statements.
Also, also: For the record, Henry’s baby book is completely full. It’s Cate you need to worry about.