Not-so-great moments in parenting
Published: July 26, 2007 at 1:28 PM
1. On the flight from LAX, I sat next to a quiet five-year-old, who never made a fuss during the five-hour flight. She sat in the middle seat in the plane's 3x3 configuration, and when we reached the arrival gate, she climbed up to stand on the seat, to see what was happening.
Her parents told her to get down, though I wondered to where, since the seat pitch in United's coach doesn't offer enough room for even a five-year-old to stand. And she did climb back on to the seat, sliding towards its edge on her tippy-toes.
She got to the very edge, and... the seat cushion ripped off. They're held on by Velcro ("it can be used as a floation device!"), so that shouldn't be any big deal. And Dad decided to make a joke about it.
"Oh, no, dear. You broke the plane! No Disney World for you tomorrow," he said, with a grin.
Unfortunately, few five years old have developed much sense for sarcasm. Then, here it came: the lower lip trembled, her eyes got wide and wet and... three seconds later every remaining passenger in the plane turned toward our direction, to see what hysterical animal was being slaughtered.
Way to go, Dad.
2. Power-walking through Disney's Animal Kingdom Sunday, I passed two Jungle Book characters as they emerged on to the sidewalk for their meet-'n-greet. A three-year-old girl saw them, beamed and started toddling toward them. Just as I thought the smile on her face couldn't get any wider, Mom, standing behind the girl now, exclaimed...
"Oh, look, honey, Baloo! Too bad you forgot your autograph book!"
Here it comes again: the lower lip trembled, her eyes got wide and wet and... three seconds later everyone else on the street scattered to escape the deafening scream.
Way to go, Mom.
3. Flight home now. This time, sitting next to a cute 15-month-old boy. He was playing with a felt book as Mom held him in her lap. Dad was chatting about work to Mom, meaningless adult talk that Junior happily ignored.
"Yeah, and then I had to go talk to (so-and-so) about some unrelated bulls--t, then I went over to..."
At that moment, Junior put the felt book aside and decided that he wanted to talk:
"Boo. Boo. Boo. Sheee. Bool-sheet."
Way to go, Dad.
A big, friendly Homer Simpson "D'oh!" to all. Don't ya love family vacations?