"Daddy! Look what I can do!!"
That sentence above is almost always one which leads me to mentally prepare myself. I'm fairly certain after hearing it that what I'm about to see may be difficult to accept. This was one of those cases. That's because my daughter has learned how to give herself a love bite. For any Americans reading this that would be a hickey. And for anyone from Sheffield having this read to them, that would be a slag-tag. My daughter sat on the floor in front of me and stuck the topside of her right forearm in her mouth and starting sucking on it. I didn't figure it out for a good five seconds. Then - after asking her if she was giving herself a love bite - she said, "no Daddy look!" and pointed out how where her mouth had been had gone all red. She was quite impressed with herself. I then told her that it was indeed impressive, but that you can hurt yourself or leave a mark permanently. And that - and I'm sure she would agree - she wouldn't want to be covered in red blobby-spots and have people mistake her for a pink dalmatian.
I hoped that would work. She instantly bragged that she knew I couldn't do it. I then gave some vague sill point about how I wouldn't want to. And - by the way - that some people think that giving or receiving them means you're a slut. I didn't say slut obviously. I said the ridiculous, "you don't care about the rules." Which is really naff parenting but it did make her wonder about it. I actually sat down and read loudly across the room in a mocking tone some statements from things like this Yahoo Answer thread which asks if girls who have them are sluts. Things like, "my mam would think I'm a slag if i had one." Indeed. Or the much-better-put statement from this article from the UB Spectrum which declares, "No one is going to park his or her car in a spot that's clearly been reserved by someone else." Yes, quite. This also might explain why she wants to wear her mother's silk scarves lately though.
Anyway, this might all seem silly. But the point is that as the father of a four and a half year old I knew where this was going. I didn't fear that she'd do something like hide under a blanket and just suck every available spot that she could reach. Your kid might, but mine thinks much bigger than that. No - my daughter listened to me say that they can damage your skin, and some people think it's gross, and that it's for people who don't care about the rules - and then went to try and find her brother so she could show him how to do it. And while it is oddly still open to debate whether someone is a slapper for having an exposed hickey, it's pretty much a closed question as to whether it's socially depraved for a girl to give her brother one. Although granted she may have just shown him what she could o on her own arm. But again - my daughter would likely show him that, then he'd try his own and not be able to do it - so she'd do it for him. She's helpful like that. Thankfully I nipped that in the bud very very quickly. As far as I'm aware she hasn't even thought about sucking on her own arm, let alone showing her brothers.
I got rid of all that by quickly and emphatically claiming that I'd just seen the Easter Bunny and he'd, "laid an egg" (it was too late to correct myself here, even though I could see a look of horror and confusion on my children's little faces) upstairs. Hence we ran around looking for the egg. I told them to go look in my son's room whilst I grabbed one of the eggs I'd got to hide in the yard for tomorrow morning's egg hunt. Once they found that (it was conveniently right in front of them after I came back to help them look) and discovered the jelly beans inside the whole shameful love-bite thing evaporated. It did however lead to my daughter going disturbingly mental about how she simply cannot wait until Easter. She has been really really over the top about it. Absolutely everything is claimed to be because of either the Easter Bunny or the Easter Elves. My wife was making oatmeal this morning. My daughter excitedly told her that the Easter elves had done it even though she'd watched (and instructed her on the correct method - she's her mother's child after all) her mother do it all.
She has literally collapsed in anguish and gyrated on the ground unable to keep in her feelings about how waiting until Sunday is too hard to do. I for one can't wait for the whole silly thing to be done with now.I checked with my wife to see what holiday comes up next that we are going have to endure this level of enthusiasm for. My wife thought about it and said she thinks Memorial Day. Well that's going to be awkward. If she has anywhere near the same level of enthusiasm for that as she does for this then it's likely that I'm going to hear her exclaim, "Look Daddy!! I found a Confederate soldier's limb hidden behind the couch!" that she'd hidden there herself a few minutes earlier. No doubt I'll have to listen to excuses about how the, "Gettysburg Pixies" are to blame for the mess on the living room floor. Presumably she'll accuse the ghost of Jefferson Davis for knocking over her drink. I can practically feel contempt from Rush Limbaugh for disrespecting the holiday already.
Which is a different kind of badge of honor you can wear proudly.