Seriously, parents.

Tornado E is in Cub Scouts.  With our strong approval.  His father was a Boy Scout.  I was a Girl Scout.  My brothers were Boy Scouts.  The Friendly Giant went on to make Eagle.  The best part of Tornado E being a Cub Scout was he asked without our asking or prodding.  Unlike t-ball.  We have visions of camping, hiking, horse riding, archery, pocket knives, sewing, cooking.

The best part of Cub Scouts begins now.  Pinewood Derby Cars.  I was so envious of my brothers getting to make them.  I wanted to do it too.  The designing, the cutting, the sanding, the painting.  Face had a talent for design.  His cars looked amazing.  One year he painted the whole car fluorescent yellow and then painted the tip fluorescent green, slowly letting off the paint can to make the green fade off to droplets 3/4ths of the way down the car.  It looked amazing.

Imagine my pure joy when last night (my first night of taking Tornado E to Cub Scouts) when the Scout Master announced it was time to start designing Pinewood Derby Cars.  *Squee*  (I did it my head.  I was among boys and all.)  The Scout Master talked about car design and shower off a couple of cars and handed out a bunch of hot wheel toys for ideas.  Then paper, pencils, and crayons were all dropped on the tables.  Everyone jumped to it.

Meaning.  The boys started playing with the cars, and their parents traced out the block of wood onto the paper and started designing.  Um, what?

First off, I was only there because I got scolded for dropping Tornado E off.  (Start crabby lecture now:) In my day, kids were dropped off at the meetings.  If parents stayed to help, it was bonus to the scout leaders.  When I did work for the Girl Scouts, some of our starter troops were as large as 45 girls.  That would be Brownies, first through third grade.  It was only two workers.  We managed.  We excelled.  So why dud the parents have to stay when there are only 12 boys? (End crabby lecture now.)  Second, I had chosen a seat near the back; while all the parents mingled in with their kids.  Third, I’m quite sure the boys are supposed to do all this.

Ignoring the example of the group, I grabbed a bunch of paper and a pencil and pulled Tornado E back to his seat.  I explained the concept and handed him a piece of paper, the pencil, and his block of wood to trace.  While he traced, I texted my little brothers to see if they still had their cars somewhere to show Tornado E.  I looked down to find Tornado E having issues tracing,  always that third turn.  Stupid turn.  I smiled.  He was six.  I held the wood; he traced.  We were a team.

Once we had the perfect rectangles.  And they had to be perfect.  We looked at the car he liked best.  I assured the Scout Master’s son that we would take very special car of his favorite toy.

Me: Why do you like this one?

Tornado E: Because it’s cool.

Me: Why?

Tornado E: Because it is.

Me: Why do you think it’s cool?  Is it the color?  Is it the tires?  Is it the shape?  Is it . . . ?

Tornado E: I like these.

Me: You like the fins.

Tornado E: I like how it starts low and gets big.

Me: It does that because of aerodynamics.  (Enter a quick lecture on aerodynamics and car design watered down for a six-year-old.)  Ok.  Cool.  Let’s draw.

As the other parents, sketched out designs worthy of walls and car company drawing rooms.  (Except one boy in third grade who was quite the artist.) Tornado E battled with drawing something in his head.  He’s not one to sit and draw.  He has too much energy.  He has to act out his daydreams.  He draws in church, the only place he has to sit with something quiet to do.  His attempts at sketching out a full scale design to use as a template were clumsy and frustrating.  But he’s six.  This is his first time.  He is also A-personality and a perfectionist when he cares about his project.  I had to monitor the situation before he burst into tears.

After several tries, he moved on to a new car.  I moved on to a new plan.  The boys moved on to play on the floor with the Hot Wheel cars.  The parents moved on to coloring.  I asked Tornado E to free hand draw his car.  He did a pretty good job.  He was upset that it wasn’t to scale.  I convinced him to trace the block one more time.  Then I lightly sketched the car out, explaining the design as I went.  I lightly shaded the areas we needed to cut, explaining why I did that.

Tornado E: OH!   May I have the pencil?!

I handed off the pencil.  He finished my shading, making it darker.  He then drew details on the car.  He only was able to finish the side sketch before the boys were called to sit and explain their sketches.  He pouted a little, but I explained it was a mock sketch.  It was an idea.  We could finish it at home with Papi’s help or make a whole new one.  The point was to get all our ideas down on paper.

He smiled and nodded, running off to join his Pack.

When we left the meeting, he complained how his design didn’t look as good as the other boys’.  I sighed, shifting the conversation to how this weekend we’ll have Papi help us design and carve out the car.  My heart beat faster at the idea of getting to play with all those power tools.  Then I told him how Grandma was going to show me how to sew on patches.  He would be able to help with both projects.  And I, added in my head, will start preparing a speech about working on your own and being proud of what you do, not being upset that someone did better . . . because his mom or dad did it for them.  Parents.

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5 Responses to “Seriously, parents.”

  1. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    Good on you, Fae. Miss D. had a science fair in December and she was one of the VERY few kids who showed up with something that wasn’t 99% parentally interfered with.

  2. Ink Says:

    Yes, good on you, Fae!!! Don’t know why some parents don’t understand that the process is the most important aspect of such things (not the “perfection” of the final product). I mean, geesh.

  3. Elastamom Says:

    We are coming up on our 4th year and every year I’m amazed at what the parents do instead of the kids. Bummer.

  4. zeemaidz Says:

    I can’t believe that the parents are expected to stay and “help” their kids. I want my kids to do well and encourage them to not just put crap out there.. like if they are making a homemade birthday card for a friend, I want them to sit down and actually do a nice (to their abilities) picture and not just scribble across the page because really who wants to get that… but I don’t draw it for them and if they choose to scribble then that’s their choice. What’s up with the leaders who allow the parents to take over?

  5. Naptimewriting Says:

    Gross. Kids’ jobs are to learn. Parents’ jobs are to make sure nobody dies. What’s up with taking over a kid’s project? Get a hobby, parents.


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