The Littlest Girl Scout

The Littlest Girl Scout

From Chicken Soup for Every Mom's Soul

The Littlest Girl Scout

I admit it. I’m not cut out to be a soccer mom.

I’m not class mom material, either.

I don’t bake homemade chocolate chip cookies. I don’t even boil water. In fact, when my daughter, Alexa, was in kindergarten, as part of a “Why I Love My Mommy”

Mother’s Day project, her teacher asked her to name her “favorite dish” that Mom cooks.

“I don’t have one,” she said.

“Oh sweetheart, there must be something your mother cooks that you love. A special dinner? Your favorite dessert?”

“My mommy doesn’t cook.”

“She must make something,” her increasingly desperate teacher insisted. “Jell-O?”

After lengthy consideration, my daughter listed “cereal.”

So it was with much trepidation that I recently learned Alexa wanted to be a Brownie.

I am a mom who is great at making up stories, singing off-key songs at bedtime and remembering the names of every Pokemon. But with three kids, a dog, a rabbit, a parrot and a veritable aviary of finches, life in our household is disorganized at best. Dinner is a haphazard affair, clothes always need ironing and shirts missing buttons are given safety pins in their stead. I flunked home economics in high school. Clearly, I did not have the makings of a Brownie-badge-earning mom.

“Are you sure?” I asked, trying to mask my dread. Her delighted “yes” sealed my fate.

I made it through the camping trip, even through crafts—though our potholders were decidedly ragged-looking. Then came the year’s highlight: the cookie sale. Mentally, I counted my immediate family. I figured they were good for about ten boxes. I’d buy a few as well. That brought Alexa to a total of fifteen boxes or so—not too shabby.

Her dad picked her up after the cookie sale meeting. Horrified, I watched as they struggled through the door with six CASES of cookies. Cases!

After coming to, I managed to sputter, “What’s all this?”

“Her cookies,” my husband answered. “Each girl is assigned six cases to sell.”

“But what if we can’t sell all these?”

“We bring them back,” he said. “No big deal.”

“Oh no, Mommy!” Alexa cried out. “We have to sell them all. We just have to! The troop will make fun of me if I don’t. One of the other Brownies told me that last year, not one girl brought back any cookies.”

Apparently, we were going to be hitting up Grandma for a lot more than the four boxes I had mentally sold to her.

After ten days of ferocious selling, we had managed to sell a case and a half. Cookies were stacked in my home office from floor to ceiling—or at least that’s how I remember it. I dreamed at night of Thin Mints chasing me down dark alleys.

After four more days of selling, we still had four cases of cookies.

Then came one of those days that happen to moms like me—moms whose kids never have matching socks and whose kids’ toothbrushes end up being chewed by the dog or falling into the toilet.

On that particular day, the dog jumped in the lake after a duck. The duck escaped, but my dog resembled the Creature from the Black Lagoon. One dog bath, one muddy mom and thirteen towels later, the dog was clean. But my two-year-old son had been suspiciously quiet during the whole ordeal. In fact, all the hairs on the back of my neck were standing on end. Even more than kitchen pot-banging, TV blaring and loud bickering, all moms dread “the silence.”

You know . . . that silence.

“Alexa,” I said, emerging from the bathroom, mud clinging to my hair, “where’s your brother?”

“I dunno.”

I went tearing through the house. Was he coloring on my bedroom walls again? No.

I raced to the kitchen. Spilling cereal on the floor? No.

He must be in his room. Was he climbing on top of his dresser pretending to be Superman again? Not there.

“Nicholas!” I called out. Then, fearing my computer keyboard was being covered in apple juice, I ran to my office.

There sat Nicholas.

Surrounded by sixty-one opened boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

In fact, he had the cellophane for the next pack in his teeth, attempting to bust open another box. Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Buddies and Shortbread Dreams, or whatever the heck they’re called, were splayed from one end of the room to the other. Cookies were crushed beneath his chubby little feet, and crumbs covered his rosy cheeks.

“Cookies!” he squealed.

As I wrote out a check for over $250 dollars worth of Girl Scout cookies, I came to the realization that I am most definitely not a Brownie mom.

But my son? He’s the hero of Troop 408.

Erica Orloff

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