Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Of Apples, Trees, and Very Silly Festivals

I've noticed that all parents - myself certainly included - have a habit of trying to discern as much as they can about El Minimunchie as early as they can. "Oh, the child has this tendency, that comes from you, oh, the child has that tendency, that comes from me." Dude's habit of sleeping one foot out from the blanket at night when he was teeny looked very suspiciously like his dad's full-grown habit of same, for example. Whether or not there's any sanity to this practice - particularly when the child is not yet old enough to be mobile - is a question I prefer to avoid.

It's true that as a child ages, though, these comparisons may be a bit more legitimate. I'm no child developmental specialist and I think the whole "Nature vs Nurture" thing is bunk anyhow; kids inherit behaviors to some degree and then learn them by the parents demonstrating them without realizing it just as well. This weekend offered up just such an opportunity for observation and speculation.

Kiddo, wife, and myself went to the "North Texas Irish Festival" this weekend. While to me, this was merely shades of Hell (AKA Fredricksburg, Texas) revisited, Amy was very enthused about going, and Lucas is enthused about anything, so fine, Dad shuts up, works to make the family happy, and off we go. The drive - about an hour in length - was relatively pleasant, Lucas being a good traveler. As one might have expected, the festival was overrun with people. People dressed in green, people dressed in what they think is period clothing, people dressed in far too little clothing, and of course, hundreds of men running around in kilts talking about how "free" they are.

(Sidebar 1: Gentlemen. While I respect your right to wear the apparel that suits you, I have absolutely no need to know if George is swinging freely through the jungle under that kilt, or if you've got him cinched up and snug. Please do not inform me of your "freeness." Thank you.)

(Sidebar 2: Ladies. Please use decent sense and decorum. While a festival is intended to be a time of enjoyment, celebration, and casual, relaxing behavior, please think of the rest of us. If you would not normally show 80% of your flesh - mostly rammed upward through the boning of a corset - please consider the wisdom of doing so now. Further, placing fake tattoos on aforementioned upward-rammed areas to draw attention does not increase your appeal. The extra glances you are getting is merely the same kind of extra glancing one sees when the horrible train wreck we're all gawking at suddenly adds a four car pileup to the mess. You're still making us uncomfortable. You've just upped the ante. Modesty is not required, but bear in mind the age-old adage regardless of your comeliness:

Less is more. They're not talking about the clothing. Usually.

Thank you.)

Strangely - this not being something I'm used to from various fairs in Florida - people were also allowed to bring their dogs to this particular green-laden gathering. Okay, fine, except that my kid in a stroller and your dog are now on the same level. Given the impressive amount of TEETH in your dog's mouth, this does not make me happy. I'm sure your dog is cute and lovable. I also don't know your dog. So unless you would like to hand my son something very fragile and trust me when I tell you he won't drop it, don't expect me to be happy about your dog near my son's face.

Lucas rode arms, shoulders, and necks a lot that day. Unfortunately, he rather likes to walk now, and this caused a bit of consternation for all involved. Lucas has also displayed a trait that, again, seems to be shared by his father: he has a very strong aversion to crowds and loud noise. This may be because he's rarely around them - mommy only occasionally getting that urge and daddy practically never - but for whatever reason, any time we got vaguely close to a concert venue, he would get noticeably more unhappy.

Eh, fine. Dad's not heartbroken, and mom's just there for the Guiness. (I lie. She was there for all of it, but with a rapidly-getting-unamused child, we took the Guiness and ran.)

And it was in fact during the taking of Guiness that a bit of a parental revelation moment happened. Kiddo, wife and husband were generally strolling towards the exit when we came upon an exhibit with a guy showing off various horse skills. (Lucas interjection: What does the horsey say? "Neeeeigh" in a laughing tone.) Lucas takes interest, over we go. As fate would have it, another kiddo is there. Smaller than Lucas, but definitely a bit older. (This is not an unusual combination with our mini-Shrek.) Other Kiddo is on a leash, and also watching the horses with what appears to be Grandpa.

(Sidebar 3: Leashing your kids. Seriously, people? What better way to say "I want my kid to be able to run around, but I don't want to have to pay attention to them, and I'd really rather not have to put up with the bother of teaching my child to return when I call them." Few things say "Responsible parent" quite like having your DOG and your CHILD using the same kind of restraint. Hey, while we're at it, why don't we get child-walkers like the dog-walkers and hey, maybe we could walk them both at once. There's all kinds of potential for hilarity and cross-species peeing incidents there! Your child is not a pet. Do not put a harness on them and treat them like one. End of sidebar.)

So Other Kiddo takes one look at Lucas, runs up and gives him a solid push to the chest. Lucas, for his part, blinked at this episode, and simply walked a few feet away to another part of the corral area. Grandpa - hurray Leash Parent - didn't even notice the incident at all, even though another set of parents were there and commented rather loudly, "That's not nice." Figure Grandpa probably doesn't pay much attention to his dog, either.

Dad returns with a funnel cake, his one guilty pleasure of fairs. Shows funnel cake to Lucas, who needs very little urging to partake of much fried-dough-and-sugar goodness. (That's daddy's boy, heh, heh.) After the two beasts have sated themselves, Lucas strolls the few feet back over to the corral... where, you guessed it, we have Other Kiddo, Lord of the Leash, still standing.

Lucas takes no note of Leashboy. Leashboy, on the other hand, immediately notes and reacts to Lucas's presence - here's shove #2. This one gets Lucas's attention and he's kind of peering at Leashboy. Doesn't get what's going on. Lucas hasn't offended Leashie, hasn't bothered him in any way that he can tell, so what's up Leashie's bung? (I mean, aside from the obvious, "He's wearing the outfit that Grandpa borrowed from ROVER on the way to the FAIR" issue.) Leashboy, not intimidated by a kid who's about 20% larger, lands a third push, and this one actually makes Lucas step back once.

Now Lucas, you see, has some of Dad's facial structure. (Okay, a lot of it.) He, probably as a result of that and seeing me, wears his emotions in a lot of the same ways. He apparently, at least in part, also has his dad's temper - because he expression went from "puzzled" to "non-existent." For those who know me, this is a danger sign. It's when I'm contemplating, or struggling not to, let the old temper have some room to run.

Lucas looked at this kid again, and now his expression has gone blank. Dad is thinking "Oh boy. This isn't good," because Lucas is NOTICEABLY larger, and this kid is standing by the corral in such a way that if Lucas decides to return the favor, Leashboy is going to get plastered to those metal bars in the finest hockey-check tradition, and with about the same end result. Lucas will then look like a bully, and ah, the world will not be fine.

Instead of making Leashboy into Meatboy - as might've been deserved - Lucas stops and looks over at me with this huge sigh, and breaks into pout face/pout mode. Apparently, while Lucas may have a dose of dad's temper, he possesses some degree of self-control. (This is a good thing.) He also knew that clobbering a kid who had it richly coming wasn't okay. While this may or may not be promising for his future in mixed martial arts, this does make for a proud poppa.

I scooped up the dude, and we finished off some extra remnants of funnel cake while mom and dad scowled heavily at Grandpa. (Who, by the by, barely noticed this incident, and didn't comment or react beyond turning, blinking, and then turning back to the horses.)

Amy is now of the opinion that perhaps we should've given Grandpa an earful. Engh. Maybe. What matters to me is that - right now, anyway - Lucas's character is still on the right track: Unless real harm is done, it is inappropriate to beat the heck out of a jerk. And if you're smart enough to make that decision in front of the right other people, you even get a reward.

I'm just glad that Lucas didn't inherit his mother's temper. He'd have been swearing at Leashboy all the way out into the parking lot.

MT out.


Amy said...

So what are you sayin, punk? I DIDN'T say anything but I sure thought about it!

jeepgirl79 said...

Completely agree about leashes. I have the most active, flight-risk child out there, and I figure if I can keep track of her during her toddler years, most people should be able to keep track of theirs.

And what IS it about women who choose not to wear clothing in public at festivals and concerts??? Do people have no self-respect? Gah!