Before Parker was born, I had always heard about kids being afraid of the characters at Disney and at the local mall. I mean, I don’t blame them. There’s definitely something freaky about an 8 foot tall rabbit if you ask me, so I was totally prepared for Parker to run screaming from the first large furry man-animal that he saw. This was not the case.
I would like to introduce into evidence Exhibit A: Meeting Some Lion Thing at Mule Day.
When we went on our annual trip to Mule Day, a celebration of mules in Calvary, Georgia, Parker spotted this lion from across the way. He dragged us over to Sir Lion and promptly threw himself at him. He buried his face in the dingy lion fun and promptly fell head over heels. After snapping a couple of pictures with the lion, we tried to leave. That did not go so well. If fact, once we pried Parker’s little fingers off of the lion (after about 6 minutes), we had to avoid the area for the rest of the day because he went into hysterics every time he saw him.
We thought that perhaps it was because Parker was going through a lion phase (remember the roaring?) and we moved on without giving it a second thought. Fast forward a couple of months to our Disney trip. I present to you exhibit B: Meeting Winnie the Pooh.
Oh dear. I remember the Pooh meet and greet so clearly. It was all I could do to keep Parker from racing straight up to Winnie and jumping into his arms (two year olds don’t exactly understand the concept of waiting in line). Once we had our turn, Parker hugged Pooh, closed his eyes and did not move an inch for about 3 minutes. It was probably the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. But of course, other children had to see Pooh too so we had to move on.
Finally, we get to exhibit C: Meeting the Easter Bunny.
My in-laws took Parker for the bunny meet and greet and they shared the same story. Rapture upon first meeting, hesitation to leave, but because grandparents are nicer that regular parents, my mother-in-law let him get back in line so that he could sit on the bunny’s lap again.
I know that one day I’ll have to share the unfortunate truth that he did not, in fact, meet Winnie the Pooh, but simply someone wearing a Pooh costume. And when he realizes that he’s been clamoring all of these years to sit on the laps of strangers, well, I know exactly what his reaction will be.