The Warden's Log

February 4, 2011

PATCH ENVY

Filed under: Parenting — thewardenslog @ 11:44 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Sigmund Freud spent a fair amount of time talking about how, as a female, I apparently feel inferior to men because I’m envious of a certain body part.  What old Siggy never explained was my feelings of inferiority in regards to my own daughter, the beloved Foghorn.  It could be because she’s tall and skinny, neither of which I am, or it could be her stunning hazel eyes and all around lovely face that make my head drop in self-loathing.  I know it’s not her ability to work the word “fart” into any conversation.  I’ve finally come to the conclusion that what I’m dealing with is a simple case of what Siggy would probably have termed “Patch Envy.”

Foghorn is a Girl Scout Daisy.  She’s right in the midst of her first Girl Scout cookie sale, which is an adventure all by itself.  She was very excited last summer at the thought of doing her first cookie sale in the new year and had elaborate marketing plans.  Then, to her shock, she found out that she doesn’t actually get to keep the money, that it must be turned in to the troop leader.  Her enthusiasm quickly waned.  She had assumed this would be a wonderful way to earn money for her obsession — purchasing a Winnebago.  It was while she was discussing the profit margins on each box of cookies sold that I realized her misconception and given her disgust at the thought of doing all that work for no personal profit, it’s amazing I’ve gotten her to help sell cookies at all.  Despite her reluctance, she slightly exceeded her cookie-selling goal of 40 boxes and will receive her cookie seller patch.  Ah, that patch.  A lovely thing it is, as are the rest that grace the back of her blue smock.  Gulp…and here come the feelings of inferiority.

I went to Catholic grade school and Girl Scouts was not an option for me.  We had the Camp Fire Girls.  I joined the first grade group, called the Bluebirds, and attended two meetings before I decided I was sick of the whole thing.  I didn’t attempt it again for five years.  In sixth grade, at the urging of my classroom friend whose mother was to be the leader, I joined Camp Fire Girls.  I got my navy blue vest and wore it to my first meeting.  And there I saw the girls who had been with the group since first grade, their vests fairly dripping with beads and patches and pins.  Gulp…  I’m a little, shall we say, competitive by nature and seeing all those plastic beads jiggling against that cotton/polyester was more than my little heart could take.  I was determined to be dripping with beads myself.  Unfortunately that was easier said than done.  The opportunities for being honored with bits of plastic were few and far between.  I did earn myself a red, white, and blue bead for helping to clean up the cafeteria bathroom after a meeting.  I think the leader was throwing me a bone.  I sewed that 1/2″ bead onto my vest and tried to wear it proudly, but in truth it was just embarrassing.  I managed to stay with the Camp Fire Girls for several months before dropping out.  Planning fundraisers and joining committees with a bunch of giggling females just wasn’t my thing.  It still isn’t, which is why I avoid the PTA like a vampire avoids the sun.

Foghorn, on the other hand, is my social butterfly, at least with groups of kids she knows.  She’s the loudest one in the troop, the most gregarious Daisy, and has to be reminded repeatedly not to lift the other girls in the air, especially since she has a tendency to let them drop.  Socially, Foghorn is everything I’m not.  She’s also got that smock.  Unlike the Camp Fire Girls, and perhaps even Girl Scouts in the old days, the Daisy troop is regularly presented with opportunities to earn patches.  Besides earning the petals for the front of her smock, her back is filling up nicely with the “fun patches.”  Sometimes I go in the laundry room and stare at it hanging there with its colorful embroidered pictures.  I look at the adorable little roller skate patch for going to Castle Skateland, the dalmation for touring the fire house, the Jack-o-Lantern for attending the Halloween party.  After a few minutes of salivating, post-traumatic stress disorder usually sets in and I’m bombarded with flashbacks of my classmates’ fully loaded vests and my own miniscule bead hanging there as graceless as toilet paper stuck to a shoe.  It’s at that point that I usually run from the room clutching my head and find some chocolate in the pantry.

I’m carefully watching my own reactions and emotions to Foghorn’s Daisy career and will seek professional counseling if necessary.  I don’t want to become some Girl Scout version of a stage mother, pushing my daughter to collect every patch and pin to whet my own appetite for honors.  At the same time, I take great pride in her accomplishments and wouldn’t mind sharing them with select people in my life.  I wonder if any of the former Camp Fire Girls are on Facebook?  I’m sure they’d love to see a picture or two of my daughter…

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6 Comments »

  1. Your writing just gets better and better! And I share your envy; it’s probably what drove me to enter fairs and accumulate ribbons. I even bought a jar of Campfire Girls beads at an antique mall, no doubt because I never made it out of Bluebirds but later fantasized about those wonderful beads. (I liked the idea of the Indian gown instead of the vest, though.)

    Comment by Nancy — February 4, 2011 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  2. Apparently, your Best of Show and blue ribbons from fairs don’t mean the same as Campfire beads. If you’re going to try to keep up with Foghorn on anything, you’re going to have a challenge.

    Comment by quilt32 — February 4, 2011 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  3. Reading your story reminds me why we became friends in 7th grade and how much alike we truly are. I was a Brownie for one year, and learned at the tender age of 9 that I was not a joiner. Although I did love the uniform with the little beenie hat.

    Comment by Amy — February 4, 2011 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

    • I’m right there with you girls. I did do the brownie & girl scout thing for a couple of years, but I was always more comfortable with just a few of my good friends, rather than a big group of girls. I signed josh up for cub scouts, mainly to get him around more little boys because our neighborhood is bombarded with girls, and he seems to enjoy it some, but I’m not sure exactly how much he’s enjoying it. Now Ben really wants to join, but alas, he has to wait 3 yrs. I figure I’ll keep them in cub scouts as long as they want to do it. Now I just need to start sewing Josh’s patches on his red vest, that or have grandma come over to do it :-).

      Comment by Kathie — February 5, 2011 @ 12:36 pm | Reply

  4. I love reading your posts! I just wanted to clear up something, modern day vampires do go out in the sun light. A few vampires have day rings now, which allow them to go out during the day. Other vampirs just sparkle in the sun. Get with the times. Lol
    My own daughter is in Brownies, however, none of her badges make it onto to sash. She could care less about them. She refuses to wear her sash because it is dumb and she hates her Brownie t-shirt, just because it is purple! She is so not a girly girl( gee wonder where she gets that from) Being in Brownies is the most girly thing she does!
    If it makes you feel any better, I too was in Camp Fires for years, but I never had that many beads, unlike some over achievers.

    Comment by Traci — February 4, 2011 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  5. Another long awaited (at least it seems that way) post on your Warden’s log. It never fails to entertain and make me think. Congratulations!

    By the way, I was a Brownie for just one year or so….I loved sitting on my “sit-up-on”(a vinyl mat we made by “sewing” the border). I did make a dough ornament of a Raggety Ann doll colored with marker and glitter, that graces my Christmas tree every year to this day. When I unearth it from the tomb of a very full plastic bin every December, I think about my childhood, not my brownie days….and that is all that matters to me.

    Comment by Pam — February 5, 2011 @ 12:22 am | Reply


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