Diary of a Wimpy DadPosted: September 4, 2012
Ever since I can remember I’ve always been deadly scared. The first time I remember being truly frightened was after watching the Talking Tina episode of the Twilight Zone. It was 1975 and I was five years old. Afterwards I walked out into the bright California sun but still shivered. I’ve no idea if I was brave before then but it was all downhill from there. Even though I’m nearly 42, I still can’t watch horror movies or anything even close. Last week I tried to take in an episode of the Walking Dead but after a few minutes was too scared to go out on the back deck and feed my cats, so I turned off the show. I’ll never watch another second.
In this, I am a lot like my son B. At four years old, he is easily scared by his entertainment. So far, he has had to leave any movie we’ve taken him to and he usually screams and runs from the room when an evil character wanders into one of his shows, even when recently watching an episode of My Little Pony.
In most other regards, though, B is not like me. For instance, I am seriously scared of snakes and always have been, but when we ran into a small garter snake on a hike this summer I grabbed a stick and pointed it out to him. Once he saw the tiny black serpent he grabbed the stick from me and began to poke it. “Be careful,” I told him while the snake reared its head, then I started asking him to stop until the snake flipped in the air and fled into the tall grass. My heart was racing.
Then two weeks ago, we went on our customary morning wagon ride with baby G when we came across a little orange newt slowly crawling across the black top. Once again I pointed it out to him–they’re neat looking with an orange base and spotted with bright orange–when he bent over and picked it up. The newt just grew rigid but I freaked, especially when B put it on G’s shoulder. The former just laughed as I quickly brushed it off his brother’s shoulder and pulled him out of the wagon.
Then we continued on our walk until we came across another. We have a lot of these newts in our development for some reason and I’ve seen a lot of them flattened on the roadside by cars so I suggested that he pick up this one and put it in the grass.
Since then, the saving of newts has become our morning mission. We walk the road with baby G in tow. Since I am reluctant to touch them–“They feel dry,” B says, but I don’t really want firsthand experience–I scan the road like a scout and point them out, then he scurries over, lifts them off the asphalt and places them in the grass before the school bus comes barreling down the road. We both get excited and it’s a great compromise activity for a wimpy dad and the son who’s already braver than his old man.