I did something horribly mean to my youngest Saturday morning.
It was truly unintentional, and I felt really bad about it.
Despite the fact that I was laughing.
What happened was that we were in the Halloween section, and there was one of those life-sized, animatronics skeletons that chat people up when they walk near it. The official designation is a "Life-Size Skeleton Butler Halloween Décor. Basically, a 6-foot plastic skeleton in a suit and a top-hat and holding a candle-stick (it doesn't really say 'butler' to me, but what do I know?)
Well, this one happened to have one of those "Press me to try" buttons on a string, so I felt certain that it wasn't motion activated—or at least not currently since the "try me" tag was still in the thing.
So there I am, I snatched up my youngster, and began walking towards that annoying skeleton, as I'm saying "You want to give him a kiss?"
Now my boy—and he's two remember—is taking this all in stride. He's not laughing out loud, but kind of giggling slightly.
And as I moved closer to the thing, I became even more certain that the motion detector was offline, as as I walked towards it, bouncing my boy about in its line of sight, it was not doing anything.
Well, about the time we get around two inches from that skeleton's face, the thing apparently sensed the movement and activated.
Glowing red eyes.
And a voice.
Now, I wasn't expecting this thing to turn on, so I was a bit startled. I mean, this thing is popping on, more or less by its lonesome. My boy though… well…
My boy freaked.
I mean, really, really, freaked. We're talking "America's Favorite Home Video" level of freak. We're talking that kid watching the maze video on YouTube freak.
We're talking one of those shrill girly squeals.
His body nearly jumped out of my arms.
Just that whole, terrified pre-schooler routine.
Then he was clinging tightly to me sobbing, and I realized that I had moved ten feet back down the action alley and was whispering to him trying to get him to calm down.
A few minutes later, I took him back over to the thing and got him pushing the button to both start and stop it's routine. We got him touching the skeleton so that he could FEEL that it was plastic.
Of course that didn't stop him from discussing the monster the rest of the way through the store.