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Monday, April 13, 2009

Because I’m a good dad…

Because I’m a good dad I took Erin to the mall to see the Easter Bunny.

Because I’m a good dad I bypassed the time-wasting “Sign Up Here!!!” tables advertising a hunt for plastic Easter eggs around the mall; Erin would have no fun looking for them.

Because I’m a good dad I ignored the “Sign Up Here!!!!” table in front of the Easter Bunny’s little grotto, privileging time with Easter Bunny over opportunities to participate in “Fun! Mall! Things! Give us your money!”

Because I’m a good dad I noted the very, very short line, over on the side, to get in to see the Easter Bunny, and I stepped into it.

Because I’m a good dad Erin was in the backpack and not running around in a crowd of kids who were focused on Easter eggs and not toddlers underfoot.

Because I’m a good dad I took Erin out of the backpack and plopped her down with the Easter Bunny to take some pictures.

Because I’m a good dad I offered to buy a picture. When the camera dude, who had given out a coloured, hard-boiled egg and a plastic bendy-rabbit toy as we entered, told me the big photo I wanted was $20 and that they didn’t take credit cards, I replied with “What can I get for $10?” that being all I had in my wallet. Because he was a good camera dude he said: “You can have the big one for ten bucks.” Thanks camera dude. You can’t always be a good dad on your own; sometimes you need help from camera dudes handing out coloured, hard-boiled eggs and plastic bendy-rabbit toys.

Because I’m a good dad I plopped Erin back into the backpack with her coloured, hard-boiled egg and plastic bendy-rabbit toy and high-tailed it out of there. I had accomplished my objective: Go to the mall and see the Easter Bunny. I was a Navy Seal, an Airborne Ranger, precise, focused and competent. Because I’m a good dad I use military metaphors a lot.

Because I’m a good dad I made it halfway out of the mall before the protests began. “My bunny!! I want bunny! My puh-ple bunny!!!” So close. “Oh, kid, we’re not going back to see the Easter Bunny again. You saw him; you took a picture with him; now it’s time to go to a park!” (Because I’m a good dad I use bribery/distraction/misdirection to get out of trouble.)

Because I’m a good dad I noticed that she was really pissed off about leaving the mall. “Bunny!!!!!!! I want puh-ple bunny!!!!!!!!” Pointing back into the mall densely packed with screaming kids I actually contemplated going back in to see the Easter Bunny. Because I’m a good dad I didn’t give in.

Because I’m a good, dad when the shaking, shivering, tears, and mad pointing got a little out of hand I considered that she was in fact talking about some bunny she saw in a storefront that I had gone by too quickly. “Did you see a purple bunny somewhere kid?” “Yeah.” “Where? Show me where.” “Right der.” Her vague pointing back into the mall was entirely unhelpful though. I retraced my steps for a few yards to see if I could spot this novel bunny, but I didn’t see anything. Just the act of turning around seemed to have calmed Erin though. Because I’m a good dad I took this momentary relief to complete our exeunt from the Mall of Infinite Bunny Distraction and returned to the car.

Because I’m a good dad I removed the backpack to take Erin out before buckling her into her carseat for the drive home (safety first, folks; don’t drive with a kid on your back, or a kid in a backpack, or leave a kid at the mall instead of buckling her into a car seat).

Because I’m a good dad I took her coloured, hard-boiled egg out of her hand before taking her out of the backpack so it wouldn’t get jostled while shifting her from backpack to carseat.

Because I’m a good dad I also noticed that her plastic bendy-rabbit toy was missing.

Because I’m a good dad I replayed all of her pathetic, heart-broken protests in my mind. She had been crying about her lost bunny the entire time we were walking out of the mall, and I had ignored her or misunderstood her, or interpreted her as whining when she was feeling a despair of loss that I can only imagine now.

“Oh, baby. Were you telling me that you had dropped your bunny back there in the mall?”

Ya.”

“Oh, baby girl. I’m so sorry. Let’s go look for it.”

Ya!”

Because I’m a bad dad I loaded her back into the backpack, head hung low in shame, and frantically returned to the mall to retrace steps and look for a plastic bendy-rabbit toy in a crowd of children who were being told to look for special things all over the mall and stick them in their baskets.

It was hopeless.

Because I’m a bad dad I gave Erin her coloured, hard-boiled egg to hold during our mad search for the only thing in the world she wanted more than that coloured, hard-boiled egg. Because I’m a bad dad I didn’t know it was a coloured, hard-boiled egg; I assumed it was plastic or candy or something. Because I’m a bad dad I never looked very closely at it.

Because I’m a bad dad I let her drop it during our mad search. That was how I discovered it was a hard-boiled egg. It cracked, shell spider-webbing and chipping apart, and because I’m a bad dad I could think of nothing better to do than to pick it up, hand it back to Erin over my shoulder, and gently suggest she not eat it. I couldn’t handle more despair.

Because I’m a bad dad I had cost her her two great trophies. Because I’m a bad dad my surgical strike on the mall lasted three times as long as it should have.

Because I’m a bad dad I returned to the Easter Bunny grotto, and approached the camera dude again.

“Hey, do you have another one of those pink plastic bendy-rabbits?”

Because he is the dude who helps dads be good dads, he whipped out another one immediately and handed it over without a beat.

“Thanks.”

Because I’m a good dad I gave Erin her plastic bendy-rabbit and proceeded once again out of the mall. Because I’m a good dad I also invited her to throw away her cracked, coloured, hard-boiled egg instead of eating it.

But because I’m a bad dad I would like to point out that the bunny was, in fact, pink. Not purple.

Pink.

Because I’m a good dad I’m going to concentrate on teaching Erin the difference.

22 comments:

Bianka said...

Oh, how heartbreaking!! Did you eat her hard boiled egg too, you mean mean man?? :)

MereCat said...

Oh doesn't that sort of thing break your heart? It just kills me. And that they can talk and ask for stuff is really great, but also especially heartbreaking when they want stuff they either can't have or have misplaced or whatever. You're a good dad. You made it all ok.

Amo said...

Duuuuuude.

I could have told you it was the bendy bunny the whole time.

But only because I'm a bad mom and have done that same dance TWICE with two boys can I attest to the 'mommy promises to find you another bendy rabbit as soon as we get to the store'...praying they will forget.

And then lying about the store being closed.

Cause I'm a bad mom. But I'm good at it.

Meg said...

You're a good dad because I would have just told her the bunny was a lost cause and never gone back in the mall. Also, I probably would have bribed her with ice cream.

Maybe that's why my kid will be screwed up....

catnip said...

You are a very good dad!!

SP said...

Awe, you are definitely a good dad. At least she didn't drool all over the hard boiled egg and turn that color from the dye, not that I would know about that happening. After all, I'm a good mom.

SciFi Dad said...

"Tell me about your dream, Erin."

"It starts out the same as usual. I'm staring at the growing bald spot on my father's head."

"Yes, your father used to carry you in a backpack, Erin. We established this two years ago. Therapy is about moving forward."

"Only I lost something, and I keep telling him that I lost it, but he doesn't listen. He just keeps jogging along, bouncing me around."

"I see."

"And all the while he keeps muttering to himself that he's a good dad."

"And how does this dream make you feel?"

"Well, in the end I feel good, because after I cry a lot I get what I want."

"I see. So a 'good dad' is someone who makes you cry for what you want?"

"I guess so."

Patient notes: Erin (backpack girl) - daddy issues - potential gold mine for long-term therapy over mistreatment from father

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Sci Fi dad makes me laugh! :) So OK - I've got 3 teens get used to the bad dad routine ... it gets way worse than plastic bunnies. Pretty soon it's bendy girls you're trying to keep away from your son (sorry redneck mommy!) or not worth it boys making your daughter run to her room sobbing. Ahh ... the joys of being a bad parent!

RobMonroe said...

Sci Fi Dad is wrong....hopefully!

You're a good dad for trying - or that's my attitude. If she had said "pink" you would have nailed it right away. Teach the girl colors already!!

(FYI - the word verification is "defunds" Is that due to Sci Fi Dad's comment??!!)

Karen said...

Oh.. I have done the same things before, only i was so bad I didn't realize it until we were home. Your a great dad..

Miss Grace said...

Eh. Good dad/bad dad. It's a never ending struggle.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

Oh, how I miss those backpacking days with the kids. Youngest now rides on daddy's shoulders (sometimes).

The dreaded MIA toy. Yikes!

mommasunshine said...

Dude - you're a good dad because you're completely aware of those times when you're not. ;)

Mandy @ Mama's Hot Fuss said...

Awww, you're a good dad.

My_Dog_Is_Better said...

One time when Jenny was a puppy it was bedtime and she started whining at me to go outside, or so I thought. Since I knew she had just done her business half an hour earlier I just ignored her, yelled at her to be quiet a couple of times, and thought she was just being a brat. Then after much persistence on her part I finally looked her in the eye and said "What!?" When I did she moved her eyes down in the direction of under the bed. I looked under the bed and her favorite squeaky toy was under there out of her reach. She was SO excited that I finally figured her out. Since then I can tell the difference between her whines, and if I look her in the eye and say "What?" she will always look in the direction of her impossible-to-reach toy.

I dont' write on my blog anymore so I'll just write Jenny stories in your comments section from now on. ;)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

This is exactly why I've bought two of the Bean's favorite stuffed animals. Cause I KNOW I will end up losing one.

Otter Thomas said...

Great post. You are definately a good dad for twice braving the insanity that is the mall.

Kristi said...

Reminds me of the "Knuffle Bunny" book. I can even picture you making the same expressions as the Dad in that book. Priceless moments, of which I've had many myself!

for a different kind of girl said...

Without question, you're a good dad. What I find questionable (or what I can't get over) is the Easter Bunny dude (his elf, I guess?) was giving out actual hard boiled eggs. That's both admirable and unusual.

TwoBusy said...

I kept waiting for the egg to get smooshed into the back of your head.

(I'm not saying that's what I wanted to happen, but mad kid + sitting on your back + handy, stinky weapon = obvious possibilities.)

Goldfish said...

Because I am a good reader I am leaving a comment. Because I am a bad reader I haven't done so since, oh, last year.

april said...

You're a sweet dad. I loved this story.