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.

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