Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Rules to live by: Pinewood derby version

As the mother of two sons and sister to four brothers, I have had to endure the pleasure of participating in countless Pinewood Derby races thus far in my relatively young life.

(Yet another thing I am really hoping guarantees my admittance through those blasted pearly gates. I definitely need all the help I can get.)

I have learned quite a lot in observing these races, and I thought I'd impart some of my wisdom for you here, hoping to help any first-time derby moms about to embark on this most memorable of adventures.


Rule one: You must start nagging your husband about building the car at least two months in advance. Husbands really like that. Better yet, recruit your cub scout for the job. Nothing lights a fire under a man like his child asking every three minutes, "Can we build it yet? Can we build it yet?" It will still not be started until the Saturday before the race, but can you imagine what would happen if you didn't nag? The thing might still be sitting in the box come race day.

Rule two: You must be a backseat builder during the actual process. It's a special treat for your husband to have you second-guessing the design, cutting, sanding, and use of tools. Especially when you don't actually know the names of most of the tools. He will look at you periodically with what you can only assume is extreme love, and you will know your work there is done.

Rule three: Before race day, prepare your cub scout for the possibility of losing every single race. Add to this by reminding him how badly the other boys (who are his friends) want to win. That way, if he does happen to win a few races, he's so surprised and thrilled that he will promise to never ask you for anything ever again in his whole life. Video tape this, if possible, and show it to him Christmas morning when he stares at his empty stocking with dismay.


Rule four: When your son's car is going down the track for the first time, pray like you've never prayed before. Pray that he doesn't come in first, and pray that he doesn't come in last. For, if you win first, second, or third place? You get to spend another extra Saturday racing against other boys at the district level. NO ONE wants to do more than one Pinewood Derby race in a year. No one. (Except your son. But we're not counting his vote here)

Rule five: Try not to laugh at your now-too-old-to-compete son when he sits back ever so coolly with his friends and adds commentary on the cars. Remind him that he's only been a man now for about a month.


Rule six: Wake your husband up periodically or take away his Crackberry so he can be sure that he's part of the fun.

Rule seven: Send the little sister of the family off to play with the other little sisters in the nursery. It's really what's best for everyone. Little sisters like to hang upside down on their chair, as they whine and moan, asking every three seconds, "HOW MUCH LONGER?"

Rule eight: Bring enough treats to feed an army for after the race. Cub scouts have stomachs the size of large SUVs and somehow never get full. You can feel good knowing that other people's kids are eating your cookies instead of yourself. Just be sure to police your own children. Otherwise, you have to ride home with them all hopped up on brownies and sugar cookies. That's never a pleasant ride.

Rule nine: Congratulate your son on his good sportsmanship, be secretly thankful he didn't win, and pat your husband on the back for a job well done.

Rule ten: Celebrate that you now have 364 days before you have to do this all over again.

35 comments:

Bonnie said...

I always enjoy your posts so much! This one really had me laughing. Your boys remind me a lot of mine so I can relate which makes it even funnier!

Kimberly said...

This (and scounting especially, especially the practically guaranteed calling as a den-mother) represents one of my biggest fears about being a mom to boys. Glad you survived.

Kimberly said...

Scounting generally. Sorry, didn't proofread and not sure my brain is working well in any event.

Cindy said...

Nice pics. Congrats having another 364 days before you "get" to go again.

Alissa said...

fabulous recounting... storing this away for reference... good thing i've got 5 years to prepare.

Aubrey said...

wa-hoo. i am SO looking forward to this. ugh. my dad was a scoutmaster and my husband is scoutmaster now and i like to refer to scouting as the BS of A as in the bull s--- of America.

i have threatened that i do not care if our boys get eagles--i have 8 years to defend this until he actually starts trying.

i may have been written out of the will.

so happy to meet another sarcastic fellow lds person--i've been lurking since june linked you in one of her posts months ago.

~ Uncle Sam's Family, Est. September 1994 ~ said...

You crack me up! Thanks for making me laugh on a drab day!!

Annemarie said...

Then when it's over eat yourself into a sugar coma on the leftover brownies & sugar cookies for having endured yet another pinewood derby.

Jill said...

Hey I've been stalking your blog. I love your posts always funny with a lot of honesty. So being a parent of a first time pinewood derby scout, I had to thank you for your useful tips, LOL!

♥Shally said...

I am super competitive, so I wonder how I am going to be with Jaxon's first derby... Zach is SO NOT competetive (ironic, since he played pro ball), so it will be interesting to see what happens!

calibosmom said...

I'm moving to your Ward-maybe then I would like Scouts. I mean look at that track? I would move for the track alone.

Christy said...

We had a boy race "the box". They opened up the block of wood, added weights, put it back together and glued the box on. They also put on wheels of course. The box came in 2nd out of 16 Webelos. I tried to get my son to race the block of wood this year but last minute he decided to try one last time...to no avail. That is one event I WILL NOT MISS!

Becky said...

Great rules- brilliant actually. We just had our cars passed out to us and Eric's face was ANYTHING but excited and happy. The stress of it all- especially after that San Diego bomb of a year.

Diane said...

Oh the Pinewood Derby! Glad you survived. Thanks for the good laugh! Those of us who have been there can really relate!

Lisa-Marie said...

The picture of Chase is PRICELESS! I love it. That, is enthusiasm. That picture really had to make it all worth it.

the wrath of khandrea said...

oh girl, MONEY! this is right on it.

please email me adn tell me why your church gym doesn't have hideously yellow lights. how did you get the pictures so great?

utmomof 5 said...

I am normally just a lurker but this post is just too fantastic! My last son turns 11 in 2 days. Me as the cubmaster decided to move the pine wood derby from january to April so that I can avoid another pinewood derby. Hate those things!!

Yes just give me mother of the year award now :)

Laurie said...

Thanks for the tips. Not really sure how I'll stay motivated do this for FOUR boys, when I'm dreading the first. Maybe lots of sugar for mom.

Tank cake turned out great! Thanks.

Jen said...

Thanks for your rules. I will definitely keep this in mind. No scouts yet here but who knows. Love his expression in the second picture.

jenjen said...

Cute pictures! I never had any brothers, so I was not prepared for the Pinewood Derby. I love your rules. Very smart and true! And ha ha about the Crackberry - so true!

XOXOOX
Jen

Amanda D said...

My son enters the world of cubscouts and pine wood derbys at the end of this month so this post is very timely. I agree with you...no one wants to do a pine wood derby more than once a year. Great post, Stie!

Terra said...

I hope my husband doesnt read this, he just might show up to help next year. He is dieing to do this and well...there aren't any opportunities around here and my girls are NOT interested.

Lauren in GA said...

Every word of this rang true. Bravo! You left no stone unturned.

It really is true about Cub Scouts' stomachs being the size of an SUV. It is unreal.

I laughed at the part about your reminding your older child that he has only been a man for about a month.

You and I are living parallel lives in many ways. I hope I get a girl...I need a princess in the mix.

Jessica said...

Since I'm the newly called cubmaster and am in charge of the event in two weeks and HAVE NEVER ATTENDED A PINEWOOD DERBY IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, I'm grateful to have all of your words of wisdom.

brooke said...

Oh my goodness what a great post. I love the photo of your older son--he looks so old. I thought Activity Days was bad--scouts aargh!!!

Robyn said...

That's so funny...makes me REALLY look forward to it!

Woman Interrupted said...

Oh Christie, Christie, Christie...does your family even realize the enormity of your wit and sarcastic genius? Always a treat to see things from your point of view.

Laura C. said...

Crackberry. Hee hee! Totally got me laughing.

Bridget said...

Excellent rules to live by. Thanks. I'll remember those. The crackberry comment was great. In Nathan's case, its the iphone. Except I can't make fun of him because I'm just as bad.

Ilene said...

Do I have to share the cookies?

Thanks for the tutorial. My mom would give the pinewood cars to our uncle (an artist) and he would come back with a little wood ferrari or something. She always went for the most creative trophy. That way you will never win because your car is too slow but the kids come home with a trophy. Win-win.

Paige said...

This is perfect. ours is next week and I'm in charge. the car is in the box. I am nagging and so is my kid. i'm thinking the car will arrive all done soon in the mail- like last year. It will be our little secret.

I'm serving popcorn b/c it's easy and I like to pick up kernals all over the church at midnight. especially the ones that are too big for a vacuum. Because I can pay someone to clean my house but the church can't afford to. I hate vacuuming the church. I love teh pinewood derby. The boys are so into it and so are the dads, and I get to talk in the microphone to call the races.

queenieweenie said...

this post is classic!

you crack me up.

Hollyween said...

You're hilarious. As always.

I love this post and (like I was telling Lauren) dread it at the same time. Why in the world am I so afraid of pinewood derby? It makes me all nervous and sweaty. I have a problem.

Bob said...

I made the mistake of thinking this was an art project and not a race. Coming into our first race, we had by far the coolest looking car ever seen. Unfortunately it was the slowest cool looking car you have ever seen. The boy did his best not to cry every time he raced. We would have been better off with a solid block of wood.

gab said...

Your photos are so great! Crystal crystal clear. I got one fuzzy shot of ours...

Can't believe how grown up your cute boys are.