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?”
“Oh, baby girl. I’m so sorry. Let’s go look for it.”
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.
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.
Because I’m a good dad I’m going to concentrate on teaching Erin the difference.