No alarms and no surprises, please.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Kid gets purple heart with Happy Meal

It's not the best picture (camera phone), but if you look at this handsome young man's forehead, you'll see a red mark. That red mark was made by teeth. Yes, someone bit my son on the forehead at McDonald's.

How the hell did this happen? Well, I'm not really sure. This is one of those McDonald's with a play scape - kind of a habitrail for human children. I usually let my kids get a bit of the manic energy out before we eat. So, I waited in line to order while they took their shoes off and played. The play area was packed. It's total chaos so I can't pay close attention to them. But they can't get out of there without me seeing them and I figure they're safe. Just after I order, I look back and see Emma walking a truly traumatized Jonny over to me. He's got a weird mark on his forehead but he's holding his composure like a teary little soldier. Initially, it looks like he was struck with forehead the end of a 1 inch pipe. I think, how the hell did he fall and get that? That toddler climbing thing is padded everywhere. So, I look closer and try and imagine what could have done that. That's when I see the teeth marks. A near perfect circle of teeth. I'm shocked. I say, "JB! Did someone bite you?" He musters up a "yeah..." and then loses it.

Now I'm stuck in line waiting for a couple Happy Meals and what I'd really like to be doing is assembling a line up so the victim can identify the perpetrator of this heinous act. I'm ready to begin the interrogation of this child by stuffing the little bastard in a garbage can. A concerned Mom in the next line over asks me what happened (they do that, those concerned moms... It's like a club when you have little kids. People who would never talk to you under normal circumstances all of a sudden have lots to say to you. It's kinda like how Harley riders give each other that little salute when they pass each other. Well, only not that cool by any stretch of the imagination. I'm in the concerned mother club) and I say, "somebody bit him." Well, there are some Mom's for whom this is a huge deal - the kind of moms who'd like to pack their kids in styrofoam until College Graduation... for them it's an excuse to panic - and this is one of those moms. She immediately scoots into the play area and decides to declare that there's a biter in our midst (!) and cause a full ruckus. The other moms leap into action. Frantically they scoop up their children and toss them into minivans. The rumor spreads like wildfire. It even makes it back to Emma, who comes over and says, "Hey dad, there's someone biting in there!" "Yeah, they bit your brother..." "Oh Yeah! I forgot!" Er, thanks for checking in, Em. The play place clears out. I should have had the managers lock the doors! Now the suspect has surely fled!

We sit down to eat, not inside the play area because Jonny is having none of that. Did you know someone bit him in there? I make sure that Jonny can see the play area though and I sit next to him so we can try and identify the perp, should he still be here and not on his way home to go to bed. One by one, I ask Jonny. "Is that him?" "No." "How bout that one?" "No." Damn. The trail is getting cold. There is one promising lead, though. There's a kid. He's 5 or so and has got dark hair (as Jonny described his attacker) and looks like, well, kind of an asshole. "JB. What about that guy? He looks shifty..." "No." "You sure?" "Yeah". Dammit!

I go into CSI mode. Bite radius! Maybe I can guess how old he is. I look at the circle. It's very small, maybe a little over an inch in diameter. "Emma," I say, "open your mouth." Hmmm... much smaller than Emma's "JB. Open yours." Definitely smaller still than JB's. That puts the perp at an age younger than our 4 year old victim. Probably closer to 1 1/2 or 2 years old. This makes a lot of sense. That's when most kids go through a biting phase - heck, Jonny did. There's one kid left in the place who fits the description. Dark hair, young. "Jonny, look at that kid. Is that the guy?" "No daddy." "Are you sure, buddy? It's ok to tell me if it is." "No, I just want to snuggle you, daddy." No justice for us today. Jonny seems to have an easier time with that than me.

Later, after eating and many, many assurances from his sister that she hadn't been bitten and it was safe, Jonny finally dares to re-enter the climbing area and come down the slide. He runs over to me with a big smile and exclaimed, "Daddy! No one bit me!"

"Woo Hoo, buddy! One in a row!"