Saturday, October 29, 2005

Badges? We DO need some stinking badges!

Okay, we had a really, really, really bad night the other night, and as I was comforting my screaming child for the third hour in a row, I wondered to myself why there wasn’t a MommyScout program, complete with merit badges, jamborees where we all meet and trade horror stories, and cute uniforms, all without the anti-gay vibe of Other Kinds of Scouts.

See, I’ve got it all worked out (there were lulls in between the screaming sessions): certain achievements would earn merit badges for your Parenting Sash (which would actually be a spit-up encrusted leftover maternity T-shirt): you could earn a badge picturing a grinning baby in a feed cap for eliciting the “truck-driver” belch from your child, a “haz-mat” symbol badge for completing the first solid-food induced diaper change, a badge of a kid in a tub waving a big foam finger for being able to bathe your child without your partner being present, and the bulb-syringe badge for perfecting your ability to successfully suck snot out of your child’s nose.

There would be certain kinds of recognition for skill or discipline development: breastfeeding while talking on the phone, watching TV and folding laundry, completing 2 consecutive weeks of vacuuming every other day so your child can’t eat crap off your floor, and being able to dress your child in a clean diaper, onesie, pants, socks and shoes in under two minutes. (I myself have yet to be recognized for any of these skills).

There would also be certain medal citations like the Golden Pacifier or the Bronze Crib for Parenting Beyond the Call. I decided as I rocked, shushed and sang to my shrieking offspring that anyone whose baby has colic would automatically be awarded one of these medals. I honestly don’t know how parents of fussy babies can take the crying. I remembered Anne Lamott describing one of the nights with her colicky infant as being like Vietnam, and I no longer believe that to be an exaggeration. It would be the perfect form of psychological warfare: pipe a baby’s screams into the interrogation room, and I’m thinking that unless that solider has already earned his medal from the Order of the Silver Changing Table, you’re gonna have some serious state secrets within about an hour.

Well, I’d better sign off. I’m going to pretend that I’m the Mommy Scout leader at our meeting tonight, and we’re going to make our own baby food while cleaning the kitchen, washing diapers and watching TV. Participants will get extra points if they are able to navigate through my apartment without tripping over assorted baby detritus.