I don’t know if people without children believe parents think all kids are adorable, but deep down, we really don’t.
Like this weekend when we took our kids to Fairytale Town in Sacramento. It’s a cute toddler theme park based on fairytales, with a King Arthur castle in the middle and several tiny bridges around its make-believe moat.
Well, I was crossing one of these tiny bridges while holding Bridget’s (my two-year-old’s) hand when this pushy kid with a skateboard runs up behind us…
We were already crossing the when he rammed in right behind us in a vain attempt to pass. Grunting about how slow we’re going (because 2-year-olds are pretty short), he starts shoving.
Annoyed as hell, I firmly let Bridget walk across at her natural pace.
Once we got to the other side and the kid was free to run away, he swivels around instead to shout, “Oh my GOD, you guys are SO UNBELIEVABLY SLOW it’s RIDICULOUS!”
“And you are INCREDIBLY RUDE!” I told him. “Trying to knock over a baby… GO LEARN SOME MANNERS!”
Startled, he ran. Maybe I was supposed to assume he needs our love and understanding to properly blossom, but I just couldn’t help thinking he’s gonna keep acting like a jerk unless it gets socially uncomfortable.
Either way, he skated off and our 4-year-old daughter Brontë went after him. She ran up smiling, but he didn’t want to talk to her.
Everything was fine until we were later playing in the Sherwood Forrest playground section. Brontë sees this kid again and starts following him around, fawning on him, as he rolled his eyes at her again and again.
You see, other people looked at this kid and probably saw a cute little boy holding a skateboard, but when I looked at him, my brain fast-forwarded a dozen or so years until I saw this:
Okay, so those of you born in the nineties may be missing the reference, but that’s John Bender, the rules-ignoring bad boy of The Breakfast Club. Notice how he’s smoking in the library and clearly up to no good with his shoes.
And this is what makes me realize I’m really a parent now: when I look at this guy, I’m seeing the guy who could screw up Future Brontë.
You know, the Brontë who is president of the chess club and a serious contender for the International Science & Calculus College Scholarship until she gets mixed up with the likes of HIM.
And then we’re all of a sudden hearing, “But I loooooooove him” and “He didn’t really violate his parole, they’re just out to get him! No one understands him like me!”
No, Brontë, no!
They always make jokes about dads sitting on the porch with a shotgun, but I think moms actually panic even more.
Why? Because dads think their little girls are sweet little princesses who could be led astray by motorcycle jocks like this. Blindsided, if you will.
But moms… well, moms were once teenage girls themselves, so they understand exactly how they think. We ALL thought Bender was the hottest guy in the film. We loved it when Claire, the virginal princess, falls madly in love with him.
Forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest, so dads with shotguns make Bender delicious. It’s just not that easy.
Yeah, Brontë may be four, but I figure defeating the Bad Boy is gonna take some serious planning.
I need to think this through.