When asked to describe me as a child my mom would use the word “busy.” But that’s only because it’s frowned upon for parents to refer to their own children as unruly, mischievous, handfuls from hell. I would venture to guess that should you ask someone who isn’t biologically blind to my misgivings they would tell you I was a pain-in-the-ass.
At Rinn’s age I was horribly envious of a neighbor’s swingset. This thing was park quality and I was desperate to take advantage. Patience wasn’t my strong suit so one afternoon when my Dad succumbed to a nap, I leashed up our black labrador and hit the streets; sights set on swinging until my 4-year-old heart was content. He found me eventually but I’m guessing that instance was a contributing factor to his grey hair and battle with high-blood pressure.
I have my irrational fears just like everyone else; just the other day I nearly jumped to my death because I encountered a cockroach on the catwalk at work and washing my face in the shower gives me unnecessary anxiety because I constantly fear that I’ll open my eyes to a rendition of that infamous scene from Psycho. But taking precautions and considering consequences has never been in my nature and I have the scars to prove it.
My son on the other hand is absurdly careful for a toddler. Water slides are for observation purposes only, the idea of failing in the toilet while pooping causes unnecessary panic and he recently described sleeping in the top bunk as “dangerous because [he’s] afraid of heights.” I often find his apprehension entirely too sensible for a toddler but I had roughly five sets of stitches before my fifth birthday, so clearly he knows things I did not. The only thing we have in common is an aversion to washing our hands; germs might not pose a threat but using the big slide at the playground takes a speach suitable for a high school pep rally and an extreme amount of courage.
Knowing this, you can imagine the concern I felt when he asked to go to Jurassic Quest, an event featuring realistic, life-sized, animatronic dinosaurs. I imagined the whole excursion ending in disaster since he’s the kid that asks you to change the channel when the shark in Finding Nemo demonstrates a little too much aggression. Oddly, and much to my surprise, he was enamoured by the whole experience. He showed no hesitation when prompted to pet the “baby dinosaurs” and proclaimed “that’s just a guy in a dinosaur suit” as other children hid behind their parents to avoid a mobile tyrannosaurus.
I was all in the spirit of “YOU GO RINN” when we were standing in line to get his face painted and leaned over to me and whispered “I’m not sure I want to do this, I’m scared.” Having already paid the $10 I asked if he was sure he couldn’t go through with it.
“No thank you. Maybe when I’m 5 I’ll get my face painted.”
I chuckled, handed our tickets to the family behind us, took his hand and assured him that “Yes, when you’re 5 we can attempt face painting again.” Then he ran off to valiantly tackle the bounce houses.
"Puh-lease, that's a guy in a dinosaur suit."