My oldest, T, is like every other little girl and likes mermaids. But more than mermaids, she loves sharks. Hammerheads in particular. She fell in love with sharks by obsessively watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. So much so that we recorded them on the DVR and continued to watch them through the year until the next shark week began.
Through watching she has become quite the shark expert; I have been schooled by her many times just to later go online and confirm that she is indeed correct and I am wrong. I now ask her questions when we are at the beach or the aquarium. We have tons of shark books, shark toys, and shark shirts. She even wears a glittery blue shark tooth necklace she bought at the beach when she dresses up for special occasions (read – her school pictures).
T’s favorite show on Shark Week was and still is “Monster Hammerheads”. It is about a hammerhead shark that has been described as big enough to swallow another shark in a single bite. This legendary shark, named Old Hitler, has wreaked havoc for decades off the coast of Florida.
And T is enamored with it.
Months after her fascination over Old Hitler I took the girls to the local YMCA pool in an effort to get some of their energy out, and for me to burn a calorie or two. We had just watched “Monster Hammerheads” for the 82nd time and needed to get out of the house.
Regardless of the fun activity we partake in my girls always want to make up a game. Typically at the pool they pretend to be mermaids; which I don’t mind. Naturally in the game they are sisters and their mom is dead; I am assuming that is due to every damn Disney movie having the mom either dead at the start or die partway through. Because of this I get to use my acting chops to play the evil aunt/human/squid or whatever it is they dictate. Yes, dictate – I have to follow their script or else I am yelled at for ruining the game. I typically oblige unless I just am in the mood to pester them which happens about 20% of the time (they are so cute when they are angry).
Mid-way through our time in the pool that fateful day at the Y, right when other people started coming in to swim, T decided it is time to start playing her newest game, Shark Week.
As the other swimmers began to approach where we were T placed her hands on her head to form a fin and yelled out “Mom, watch out!! Here comes Old Hitler!” to which Clo replied in her equally loud voice that echoes: “No! Mommy don’t hurt him, I love Hitler”.
I could practically hear the snapping and feel the breeze from the others in the pool whipping their heads in my direction to see what kind of mother would let her young children play Hitler games in the pool. In an attempt to redeem myself before the pitchforks and torches came out I replied in an unnaturally loud voice that echoed against the cinderblock walls : “Girls, didn’t that SHARK you saw on SHARK WEEK have another name?”
“No Mommy, his name was Old Hitler! Stay still, he is going to come kill you.”
And that is why we no longer go swimming at our local YMCA.