Brownies: one of the few activities I have actually managed to be organised enough to get my children involved in. And it’s great. The Brownie leader is endlessly enthusiastic and organises a bewildering plethora of exciting activities for the girls to get involved in. It’s fantastic stuff……but God, it’s hard work being a parent of a Brownie!
To start with: the badges. And the sewing. Sewing: neither a skill of mine, nor a task I view with pleasure and consequently, one that doesn’t get done. I have Brownie and Rainbow badges scattered around my house like fabric confetti. There’s a large yellow one that stares at me reproachfully from its space next to the toaster, silently condemning me for my failure to live up to my part of the Brownie promise.
Then there’s the ‘things to remember.’ Every week, I quietly dread the appearance of a letter cheerful asking my Brownie to bring: a plain black t-shirt to paint; a box of favourite things; a selection of shells…..lovely ideas but also one more thing to add to the lengthy and increasingly unwieldy list of things to do that fills my head.
One memorable week, the Brownies were asked to bring a 1mm crochet hook (easily available from craft shops!) and a bar of chocolate to donate to the church fete. I swelled with pride the next week when, after considerable effort, I had managed to borrow the required crochet hook from a lovely friend and dash to the shop between work and school pick-up to acquire the chocolate. ‘Get me: super-efficient parent.’ I smugly thought.
But pride, as they say, comes before a fall, and fall I did. After a standard Wednesday afternoon of refereeing the screeching arguments between four small girls (best friends, don’t you know?!) and an argument with my eldest (my Brownie, in fact) over who was the cause of the latest bout of screeching, I squeezed the last child into the car and headed to Brownies with a frazzled sigh.
Upon arrival however, the crochet hook and chocolate were nowhere to be seen. I mentally retraced my steps. Yes, I had picked them up from the table; yes, I had taken them out to the car; yes, I had put them on the car roof whilst strapping in the last errant Brownie…….
I checked the roof: no crochet hook/chocolate. I DROVE BACK along the route to scour the roadsides. After all my efforts, Ana was NOT going to go to Brownies without a crochet hook!!!!
But this time, I was to learn a valuable lesson: the roof of the car is NEVER a good place to put important things. And being prepared for Brownies is a challenge too far for me.
Footnote: I may have inadvertently suggested that I learnt a lesson about leaving things on the car roof, but this is not strictly true. Some years before this event, I had left my keys on the roof of the car after a family trip to ASDA, only realising this error when I saw them fly off as my husband turned down the slip-road onto the motorway. AND some months after this incident, I congratulated myself after successfully driving to and from a friend’s house (approximately a mile away) with a bag of expensive flea treatments for my cats on the roof. So it’s a lie: I didn’t learn anything.