The Mooch and I stare down at a table full of glitter-bombed dreck. Brenda, my daughter’s Brownie troop leader, points to a green lump with glued-on googly eyes and orange tinsel hair.
“This is Moochie’s St. Patrick’s Day project. She didn’t finish it, then said it didn’t matter because mom always throws them out anyway.”
Crap. I shoot a horrified glance at my informant daughter, mutter “Oh, Fredo, you broke my heart” and start furious verbal backpedaling.
“Oh, no; she’s confused. We throw away some of the school papers, the worksheets and whatnot, but not her Brownie projects.”
In truth, she’s lucky if they make the car. Every week there is another holiday themed, dollar bin at Michael’s craft project to transport home. Invariably, they are covered in wet Elmer’s glue, so you have to hold them gingerly, as if they are made of Dresden china. It’s like transporting baby chicks with brittle bone disease.
Once the foam monstrosities are in the house, they stay on the dining room table, shedding pipe cleaners, until my daughter forgets about them. Then I collect a pile and dispose of them under cover of night, like a serial killer burying the bodies.
“We even gave away one, remember mom? Because you said we didn’t celebrate Christmas?
She might as well have said we have a baby Jesus dartboard. Brenda the Brownie boss glares at me with laser beam eyes, trying to get my head to explode. Or implode, whichever is more painful.
“We brought that beautiful ornament you made in Brownies to our friend’s house on Christmas Day, remember? He picked you up so you could put it on their tree? Mooch? Tell the nice lady we didn’t kill the baby Jesus.”
I admit, I’m not holding up well under questioning.
Brenda pushes the homuncular leprechaun towards me with her perfectly French-tipped finger and said, “When Moochie said you threw them away, she hurt my feelings.”
She didn’t say I hurt her feelings by throwing them away; the clear implication is that my daughter is in the wrong for piping up about it. A grown woman is actually trying to guilt-trip my kindergartener about construction paper and yarn, and this is too much to bear.
I really, really want to tell her what she can do with her glue stick, but I know my kid plans to stay in the troop until it goes camping in five years, so I take the high road. I scoop up the dismembered leprechaun and take my daughter’s hand.
“C’mon, Moochie. Let’s take this little guy home and glue on his arms and legs. Say goodbye and thank you to the storm troop…uh… troop leader.”
Brenda bends down, says goodbye to my daughter and reminds her to make sure to finish her craft.
Moochie pipes up, “Excuse me…”
Ah, my polite kid is back. I relax and start to daydream about the cup of coffee I left in the car, which is close… so close.
“Excuse me,” she continues, “When you were just talking to me, you spit in my eye.”
Sigh. That’s not going to earn her any merit badges.
When I was Mooch’s age, I lasted exactly one Brownie meeting, so I ‘m preparing for the inevitable. When we get bounced out of the scouts, I’m going to nuke up some s’mores, pull out the sofa bed, throw open the doors and call it camping.
K A B L O O E Y is a 47 year old non-practicing filmmaker who lives with Phineas at an undisclosed suburban location. Their three kids are Moochie (6), Lonzie (20) and The Big Puppy (22). She (who am I kidding, I’m writing this myself) tweets @kblooey and has two goals: 1) To make creative work a central part of my life, and 2) To keep my family from needing the services of the Supernanny.