Children live alarmingly in the present. As we leave the animal park, Tertius is miffed about some omission -- it was either some stuffed beast we failed to buy him on the merest whim three seconds earlier or our extraordinarily successful diversionary tactics to keep him from riding the fearsome Expedition Everest roller coaster, which, despite his protestations, would have terrified him. Or, at least, his adult chaperon.
So he's so all-consumingly gloomy that it temporarily colors the whole day, and he adopts his grumpy, whiny persona. I'm quite used to this and weather it for a while, knowing that sooner or later I can make him laugh. Eventually, I murmur that if he's that unhappy, he might prefer to stay in the kennel with the family dog. And as I say this, I see a couple of passers-by smile to themselves.
At first, of course -- like the bird-flipping urchin of my previous post -- I'm convince they're enraptured by my acerbic insouciance and dry, low-key wit. But then it dawns that, in that split-second of judgment, I'm nothing more than a harassed father, driven to extreme threats by what must be an uncontrollable six-year-old brat. They see me as one of those parents.
Disney can do that to you.