Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independence Day the Girl Scout Way

Yesterday was a 4th of July celebrated Girl Scout-style! You know how much we love our town's Independence Day parade, so I was pretty excited to sign my troop up to walk in it this year.

And it WAS exciting, although of course a totally different ballgame from simply showing up with a lawn chair and sitting my butt down to spectate. First of all, I didn't sit my butt down for the entire morning. Well... I kinda did, but also not. I was on the ground, but rather than chilling out, I was doing this:
This wasn't one of my best creations. You should have seen my flag!
I'd spent the evening before Googling "patriotic face painting," and while I was NOT going to be able to paint Girl Scout faces to look like screaming eagles or fireworks skyscapes, I was pretty confident that I could do a silver star, with red and blue streamers around it. So that's what I offered, as each Girl Scout came to sit in front of me: "Would you like a star on your cheek?" I asked. The Girl Scout would nod, I'd paint her a silver star with red and blue streamers around it, I'd show her what it looked like in the mirror, she'd smile and thank me, and the next kid would sit and get her star.

Until one kid asked, "Can I have a flag instead?"

"Why not?" I decided, and attempted a flag. Blue square, red stripes, silver stripes (we're almost out of white), couple of silver dots on the blue. Flag! Add it to my specialties.

So then when a kid sat down in front of me, I asked her, "Would you like a star or a flag?" The kid would tell me which, I'd paint it, and off she'd go.

Until one kid asked, "Can I have a star AND a flag?"

"Why not?" I decided, and painted her a star on one cheek and a flag on the other. No problem.

And then kids started sitting down in front of me with a star or flag already painted on one cheek, happily ready for me to paint their other cheek. No problem.

Until one kid (MY kid!), asked, "Can I have a firework?"

Hmmmmm..... At first I thought about painting a firecracker with sparkles coming off the wick, but then instead attempted a sort of asterisk in red and blue and silver. That didn't turn out super well, but I knew what was going to happen by now, so when the next kid sat down and asked for HER firework, I refined it to a sort of asterisk in red and blue, with silver in the middle and silver sparks around it. It looked... okay. Not completely unlike a firework, I do declare.

And then, as I'm sure you've already guessed, kids started sitting down in front of me with a star and a flag already painted on their cheeks, asking for fireworks on their foreheads. No problem, except that I'm pretty sure they all kicked up a fuss about wearing their hats afterwards. Mustn't smear the fireworks, you know.

If we walk in the parade next year, I'm totally going to study up and practice. Look out for the kids with full-on screaming eagle and firework skyscape face paint!

Meanwhile, the kids who weren't getting their face painted were busy putting Girl Scout stickers on suckers--

--and cooling their heels, attempting to not get into trouble:
See me in the background? I'm painting stars and flags!

I'd also brought sidewalk chalk, and only once did a child write the word "poop" in giant letters on the sidewalk, and she happily covered it in chalked sparkles when I asked her to.

At one point, some of my troop wandered away a bit, and another troop chaperone walked over, clearly intending to ask them who on earth was supervising them. I saw this and totally sent Matt over, explaining to my friend and fellow chaperone, "They won't chastise him--he's a dad! They'll probably congratulate him for interacting with his children."

Totally stereotypical, I know, but you'd be surprised (or not, depending on how tuned in you are to sexism in parenting) how often that works!

In all the prep work for the parade, I'd kind of forgotten about, you know, the PARADE. And so when we finally were herded to our place in the line and finally began the walk, and we turned the corner onto the parade route, I audibly gasped (to be fair, so did my fellow chaperone!) at the giant crowd of people on both sides of us, all cheering and waving and LOOKING. AT. US. 

Thankfully, I had only a mild panic attack before I realized that they were, of course, actually looking at the adorable children in their Girl Scout uniforms, and at the candy that the adorable children were handing out. It was better-ish after that, although an hour after the parade was over, I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror and couldn't decide if my pink cheeks were sunburn, or if I was still blushing from the ordeal.

Little of both, I eventually decided.

The kids all had a fine time, of course, which was the point of the operation. Nobody got run over by the trailer, which was my particular worry, and I only had to save two of them from that exact thing--a chaperone win! Will, I think, had a better time than Syd--all those people!--but all my Scouts seemed happy, enjoyed the walk, didn't skin their knees or get snatched by a stranger in the crowd, waved and were cheered for, handed out candy, and can now say that they have marched in a parade!

Since our whole troop was going to be together on this day for the parade, we'd decided to convene afterwards at one family's house to have a potluck and celebrate the Bridging of three of our troop members and the Investiture of them all.

Bridging is the ceremony in which a Girl Scout officially advances from one level to the next. There are special activities that she's asked to do to help her synthesize what she's experienced and prepare her for the heightened responsibilities of her new level. There's also a lovely little ceremony involved, that involves crossing--yes, an actual bridge. Our ceremony consisted of having the kid cross to the center of the bridge while a parent spoke about the kid's accomplishments during her time at that level, then she completed the crossing, removed her old uniform vest or sash, and her troop leader (that's me!), helped her put on her new uniform vest. It was a beautiful way to honor all that each kid had done:

People were looking at her, poor kid, so she was nervously bopping that balloon.

And, of course, there's cake! Bridging has a rainbow theme, so I was able to once again trot out my favorite rainbow cake recipe--

--and the kids made a rainbow fruit and vegetable platter to share:

After the potluck, you will not be surprised to know that we went home and took a nap. Well, Matt and I took a nap--I'm pretty sure that the kids just played LEGO Jurassic World on Xbox. I checked it out for them from the library, which means that I'm having a hard time enforcing any screen time limits on it. It IS really fun, AND we only have it for three weeks...

So of course what did the kids want to do that night? 

Watch Jurassic World at the drive-in for the THIRD time.

Of course.

Just enough time for a few at-home fireworks beforehand:

This might possibly be the best 4th of July that we have spent as a family. It had all the elements that we love best--parades, friends, parties, cake, fireworks, family...

... and dinosaurs, of course. Dinosaurs and naps.


Tina said...

Congrats to your kiddos! I love Matt's shirt :0)

julie said...

Thanks! I bought Matt that shirt for Father's Day last year, discovering in the process that there are exactly two styles of men's Girl Scout shirts, and one is really sexist. I bought the non-sexist one!