It starts innocently enough -- you raise your child to be friendly and outgoing -- to develop bonds to others, while remembering always that you in your role as parent are the best thing since sliced bread. You revel in every hug, every kiss, every "I love you Daddy", with the wild abandon of a cat diving into a pool of catnip.
Then, just when you think you've mastered the parent/child bond, she comes along.
She, with the long flowing hair and sultry voice.
She with the size zero waste, the purple clam-shell bra, and long, slender fins.
I speak, of course, of Ariel.
Yes, after indoctrinating Vampboy into movie-watching with this undersea harpie and her collection of exotically-gilled friends, VM and I have watched our son descend from an independent little guy into a hopelessly obsessed boy, pining for the aquatic love that dare not speak its name.
After viewing the movie three times, it was time to break out the soundtrack. After listening to that about 1,000 times ("Poor Unfortunate Souls", indeed) it was time to buy the tie-in book -- which VB would take to bed and look through until his tired eyes closed and his sleepy arms dropped the book onto his face. In our continuing negotiations about the goal of moving beyond pull-ups into "big boy underwear", the only way we've made any progress is to assure him that we will supply "Little Mermaid underwear" -- even though that means VM will be putting her artistic talents to drawing her on toddler boy tighty-whiteys.
We tried to let him watch "Finding Nemo", but it only reminded him of other characters under the sea he'd rather spend time with. He did sit through "Cars", but he only seems to care about Lighting McQueen being on his pull-ups. I guess you can't fight toddler love.
Somewhere Walt Disney is laughing in his cryogenic storage tank, counting off one more convert to be added to the growing drone army that will be unleashed when the alien invasion arrives. (Note: This reminds me -- I'll have to explain my "Disney conspiracy" another day.)