Saturday, January 16, 2010

Girl Scout Fail

Mighty Mouse has expressed an interest in Girl Scouts. This isn't surprising since she was sisters troops mascot for a few years. As co-leader with a husband gone so much, she was a part of many GS meetings. I'm big on any activity that has kids focus on social issues and serving their community...which is what scouts is all about.

So, I finally got hooked up with a troop. It all came together while I was out of town. All my contact was by email. Friday night was her first meeting. And since we don't have all the paperwork sorted out I have to stay with her currently. I didn't bother to tell the leader that I couldn't have left if I wanted to. LOL.

So. First time. MM was excited for the last three days. And to make it even better, first meeting was a field trip to Maggie Moos. Bonus! Ice cream on the first time! This is lookin' good!

We headed out to the appointed church and found it with not much trouble. I was having a time driving with my night blindness and a dirty windshield...and a broken washer motor.

We arrived and went in. This is a big troop of all ages that breaks down into smaller groups. Pretty cool. But I didn't think about what that means really. How about chaos? And to make it worse it is the beginning of cookie sales so the moms are having to come in and pick up packets and sign paper, etc. Noisy and crowded.

MM went into immediate shell shock. She refused to respond to the leader or speak to anyone. Yes, it was really embarrassing and rude. But all the leaders and mom's were wonderful and pretty much just smiled to try to make her feel welcome but gave her space and left her alone. Perfect. Kudos to all of them.

Every single WHITE one of them. Crap. It's Girl Scouts. Where is the diversity???? I did not even stop to think to ask about racial make-up of the group before joining. It's such a diverse area it never occurred to me it would be all white. I'm starting to feel uncomfortable.

The Brownies and Daisies combined for this trip. So we jumped into the carivan and I was very glad to be driving just her and myself to give her a quick break. Plus, I never thought about it before but with MM being so small she is still in a LARGE booster...while these other girls are carrying those small ones to put in the car they were riding in. Note to self...pick up little booster for GS field trips or drive every time. The carivan was a little hairy with my vision problem and rush hour traffic...and not knowing where we were going. If that wasn't hard enough...I had to follow a van with an Obama sticker. (Yes, that is a joke, for those that don't know me!)

Upon arriving we found a very small store. 14 girls, plus some extra siblings plus a ton of adults. MM is velcroed to my leg. I send her to stand in line with the others for the tour and I bring up the rear. Of course MM is not paying any attention and is just giving herself whiplash to make sure I haven't left her. (What is that? It's not like I've ever run out on her before!!Ok! Ok! It's called anxious attachment. But she's 5!!)

We get to the back and the guy tells us that we will have to pay for each person, including adults, that go on the tour. I bail.

So I'm waiting with the other moms and we hear the girls screaming and having a good time. And then out where I am they start using serious blenders that are very loud.

Oh no. Poor leader has no idea about MM and noises. But I ignore it. More screaming from the back. Hope MM doesn't freak.

So when it gets really loud, I stick my head around the back and get the leaders attention and warn her about MM and noises...and she knows where to find me in case of a meltdown. Crisis averted as MM spots me and visibly relaxes.

So, the kids get to the end of the tour and they each get to pick their ice cream. MM won't speak. She does point out the chocolate ice cream but won't pick a topping and is starting to get the freak out look. So I yell to the guy to just give her the ice cream and move on to the next girl. MM comes out to sit with me.

Now she goes into how she wants to be white.

Crap. I knew this was going to bite me. She tells me how she wants a new face. We go over how we cannot change our faces. We go over how God created us all specially. I finally get tired of it and break it down to her. You. Will. Always. Be. Chinese.

Now she tells me she doesn't like Girl Scouts and she doesn't want to do it anymore. (Sure, now that you've eaten the ice cream!) I try to draw her out on what she doesn't like. I let her know this is not how it usually is. After a bit she is done. She just wants to go home.

So I go to tell the leader we are leaving. When MM is distracted and a bit away from me I lay it on the table. I'm not sure if we will stay with this troop. Are there any other children that aren't white in the Daisy troop? She has to think and comes up with one. Yes...just one. She thinks. maybe the other doesn't come often? Not sure.

She lets me know that next meeting they are painting. Bring a large shirt. She also tells me they break down into their own room and there are only 7 or 8 girls in Daisies. She is very wonderful and supportive even though I'm unsure if this is the best place for MM.

So on the way out to the car MM tells me she didn't like it. (Right.) I then inform her that its too bad since they are painting next meeting. I LOVE PAINTING!!! Suddenly its all better and she can't wait until next meeting. You know how Wylie E. Coyote looks after the Roadrunner buzzes by him?? That's how I felt.

So I get lost on the way home. Not really lost but turned around -- and with night blindness that is not a good feeling. I did have the GPS in my purse if I had needed it. The problem was I kept missing my turns because I couldn't see them in time. BUT! I did get frustrated and try the window washer...and it worked! It was just frozen and not a car repair after all!

And all of this came on the back of a day full of several phone calls from friends and family with issues or needing to talk. Plus a work crisis for hubs...while he's on leave. Plus a few other things.

Yes. I was in bed before 10. Totally. Worn. Out.

And once again I face a dilemma. What do I do? Keep going to the same troop for a bit to see how it works out? I'm not big on giving up immediately so this is the natural inclination.

Or do I call the council and see if they can't find me an actual diverse troop to support my child's racial identity? And does that teach her to walk away from new situations instead of sticking to things? I don't want to raise a "runner". That makes for a terrible life.

Who would have thought that something as simple as joining scouts could turn out so complicated?


  1. Our troop was completely white, too. You thought about this crisis back then. My suggestion: give it only one or two more meetings; enough to know if it could be a fit, but not enough that MM completely gives up on it if it is not a fit. You know GS has so much to offer. Praying for you. I cannot begin to imaigne all of the things you are facing right now with MM. Hugs.

  2. Well, crud. I have no advice. But I will be back to check the comments.

  3. Wow, can't wait to hear what happens. Hang in there!

  4. Linked her from Tonggu Momma.

    Personally I would try to find another troop with more diversity...there has to be one in a different part of town. I have heard of GS troops linked to FCC groups (which does not add diversity, but adds a connection)

    Good luck!

  5. I feel for you! My daughter currently attends a very diverse daycare and next year will start Kindergarten. I was at the High School for a show choir event Thursday night and was in shock...I am beginning to regret the move I made 4 years ago from our more diverse neighborhood into the better school district. 3 show choirs - 150-200 kids and there was one African American, 4 Asians and 2 Indian students....
    I said something to my mom about it and she said that it will be a long time before Amelia goes to High School and given the make-up of my neighborhood it will look very different then. I'm not as sure. I live on a VERY long block and besides Amelia I can only think of 6 people of color.
    Seeing how her eyes lit up when one of the Asian boys did a solo I know she notices. Kindergarten round-up is in a few weeks - I guess I'll see then.
    Girl Scouts is awesome, but it's important for MM to feel comfortable:)

  6. Not knowing ANYTHING about adoption issues, my gut says that she will have plenty of time to adjust to being a minority when she's older. It sounds to me like she needs security NOW. Praying for wisdom!

  7. Hi

    I linked here from Tonggu Mama and just thought maybe you could use another shoulder.....this thing called parenting ~ not so easy all the time; not that I'm complaining! And I know you are not either.

    Sometimes its the simple acts that catch us off guard.....

    My advice would be to trust your own Mama's instinct ~ you probably already know the right step for your sweet girl and often times putting it down on paper helps to clarify and wead out the extra noise!

    I might suggest that if truly you want to give this troop another try, maybe invite one of MM's friend's to join with her? I don't know about your current situation, but if there is a trusted buddy who could tag along, it might soothe the jitters!

    Best of luck!