By and large, my 2-year-old daughter Milly is pretty fearless. If a dog barks at her, she firmly declares, “No, doggie. No!” At the zoo, she hauled off and slapped a Komodo dragon sculpture after she determined it was being fresh with her. However, this Saturday we discovered one thing that does scare her: Mr. Bingle.
We were at the Children’s Museum for their Festival of Trees Celebration Brunch. Mr. Bingle, aka a man in a Bingle suit, was making the rounds, hugging and posing with kids for photos. We asked Milly if she wanted her picture taken with him. She regarded the 7-foot snowman with the ice-cream-cone hat and holly wings. As if on cue, the huge white head swiveled toward her. Their eyes met, hers wide and his sewn on, as he turned and began to lumber toward her.
“No! No no no!” she cried. “No Mr. Bingle!”
We scooped her up and went upstairs, as Mr. Bingle was suddenly swarmed by other children. We took her into the Toddler Play Area where, attention redirected, she relaxed and began tooling around on the tricycles. But it was not to last. Minutes later she caught sight of the ice-cream cone hat and swatches of white felt as Mr. Bingle lurched along the play area fence like Gozer the Destructor in Stay Puft Marshmallow form from Ghostbusters. She froze on the trike.
“No Mr. Bingle,” she cried.
“OK,” we assured her. “No Mr. Bingle.”
But we couldn’t stop Mr. Bingle the Destructor from entering the Toddler Play Area. Parents who have been there might recall that there is only one way in and out, and Bingle was blocking it. I briefly considered lifting Milly over the fence. However, Bingle made for the far end of the play set. I reconnoitered around, giving Bingle a wide berth, and we escaped to the art room. Shortly thereafter Bingle lurched again past the plate-glass windows, but thankfully Milly was busy applying glitter glue to her smocked dress and she failed to notice.
It is interesting how kids react to things. When I try to anticipate Milly’s response to stuff, I am often surprised. A few weeks back I stopped on the movie The Mummy while channel surfing, and Milly came into the room just when the desiccated-but-still-juicy corpse popped out of the sarcophagus. In that one single instant I (1) heard 10 different voices in my head tell me that I was a bad parent and (2) braced for the scream of terror and several weeks’ worth of nightmares. But Milly just took in the mummy, pointed at it and said, “Ha, ha, its funny!” and wandered off.
She is not scared of horses but small dogs freak her out. She will pet a snake but go to lengths to avoid a tiny green lizard. More to the spirit of the season, she loves Frosty but clearly feels differently about a certain Mr. B, despite the fact that they are both snowmen.
Despite the Bingle menace, she had a blast at the party. And parents, if you have a chance, go and check out the “trees,” which are actually individual works of art and include pieces by artists such as Mo Williams and Alex Beard. They will be on display through December and will be part of the holiday landscape at our wonderful Children’s Museum.