It’s over

September 29, 2008 at 5:59 am 5 comments

     Our brief foray into the world of Boy Scouts is over. It was quick and somewhat painless (at least for C, not so much for me). It all started at our last IEP meeting, where a discussion about how to help C make some connections with other boys somehow evolved into my becoming a Cub Scout Den Leader. It happened almost before I knew it, so skilled are those folks who participated in our IEP. Frankly, it was a good idea, in theory. The reality, however, was different (and thank you, Husband, for somehow managing not to say “I told you so”).  

     As is sometimes my way, I jumped in with both feet and almost immediately wanted to run screaming into the woods. Never mind the woods are where Cub Scouts are supposed to be. I thought I had enough information to make a wise decision, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I signed up, thinking it would be good that I could control the den and our activities. C needs to work on gross motor skills? An “outing” (the Cub Scout word for “field trip”) to the climbing wall. C wants to learn about stars? Planetarium, here we come! What I failed to take into account, however, was the likely difficulty of my being leader and C’s parent at the same time. In the past, this hasn’t been a good combination. And as I read through the overwhelming “to do” list for leaders (graciously provided after I accepted the job), I quickly realized there was no way I could do it all and still help C have a positive experience as a Scout. So after a few days of agonizing about it, I told the pack leader I just couldn’t do it. “But I’ll be a leader’s assistant!” I graciously offered, thinking this would solve my problem of needing to be in attendance with C at meetings but not wanting to actually run the meetings. So the poor man found another leader, and I merrily went on my way preparing to be an assistant.

     Then the email came. The email that ended it all. It was a schedule for the boys’ first campout coming up next month. Included was a list about 12 pages long of the exact activities in which we would participate that would ensure the maximum number of badges would be earned in the course of the weekend. Wait a minute, did that say weekend?  Given we’ve never even managed a camp out for one night in our own backyard, it’s hard to imagine going an entire weekend in a tent with, well, C. One of the first activities was for the Scout to plan and prepare a family meal over the campfire. C doesn’t eat meals.  C eats finger foods. And certainly not finger foods cooked over a campfire. Can we eat Fruity Booty right out of the bag? Does that count?

     After that email, I continued to fight with myself about why Scouting would be good for C. He loves all that positive reinforcement; badges and pins would be a thrill for him. It’s organized, structured and busy. Yet for the first time ever, we may have found the activity that’s too organized, structured and busy for C. The thought of an entire weekend camping out (which I think we would all ultimately enjoy after some practice) with an entire Pack of distractions and frustrations for C, made me want to run screaming into the woods again.

     So with a heavy heart, I resigned again from Cub Scouts, and not only for myself, but for C. Given he hasn’t even mentioned it since the first and last Pack meeting we went to, I don’t think he cares. We’ll have to run our own camping trips to the county park near us. Just not on the same weekend the Cub Scouts are there.

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

The Other Mother I’m okay with it

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. robinaltman  |  September 29, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Oh, man, we were such awful cubscouts, D! I hated it and the boys hated it. The mothers were catty and the boys were bratty. We just stopped showing up eventually, and none of us have had any regrets – just like C!

    Husband was a scout too, and he hated it. I kept reminding him that C is a hugely different child than Husband was, but he was skeptical from the start. I guess we’ll just never know!

  • 2. Good Fountain  |  September 29, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I don’t blame you for deciding to resign. That was like jumping from A to Z and skipping everything in between.

    Good luck trying camping. Chee really wants to camp in our backyard. Neither of her parents are campers. Oy.

    You know, you worded it perfectly. PERFECTLY! Your comment really made me feel better about my decision (am still having remorse over C’s missing this opportunity). I don’t know what’s worse – parents who aren’t campers but whose kid wants to be or the other way around. We love to camp and raft and such, but we’re not sure it will ever be C’s thing. He’s not big on downtime!

  • 3. FXSmom  |  September 29, 2008 at 11:38 am

    That sucks but I totally don’t blame you. At least you now know there is such a thing as too much structure 🙂

    I really didn’t think it was possible. I think that kind of structure would make him MORE anal and stressed instead of his enjoying the routine/sameness that comes with most structure. It’s not at all what I expected.

  • 4. mama mara  |  September 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    You have a husband who doesn’t say, “I told you so”? Color me jealous!

    You know, he really doesn’t say it much. But he makes up for it in other ways! LOL 😉 This will be my test to see if he reads the comments/replies to my posts – if he gets on me for the sarcasm directed his way in this reply!

  • 5. awalkabout  |  October 2, 2008 at 11:48 am

    We’ve tried several times to get our boys into Scouts, but every time the “A” word comes up—they immediately clam up. I had one leader who I’ve known for years tell me that it really shouldn’t be expected that these leaders, who are just volunteers after all, could deal with special needs kids when they have a whole roomful of children.

    On the other hand, Little Miss has done okay at 4-H. We’re in a plant science program and she’s grown plants and learned about insects and things…she’s attentive at meetings, but I’m not sure she gets it.

    But I sure understand the need for SOMETHING like other kids have…esp. when our kids need that social reinforcement so much!

    I know – it was such a good idea in theory. And the other Den leader ended up kindly volunteering to take C into his Den when ours collapsed and I pulled C out. He was ready and eager to do what needed to be done, so eager was he for C to have the experience. But the more I learned, the more I thought it would not be a good activity for him. Ah, well. I’m glad Little Miss is doing well in 4-H. I think 4-H is really cool.


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