Bindi Irwin: Parent stalks rare species of dating teenager

Bindi Irwin: The daughter of 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin has a boyfriend. Bindi Irwin's animal-activist background offers guidance for parents tracking their teens dating – tread gently, observe quietly, and try not to spook the wildlife.

Vincent Yu/AP
Bindi Irwin: Australia-based animal activist and television personality Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late Stephen Irwin, Australia’s “Crocodile Hunter,” listens to reporter's questions during an interview in Hong Kong on October 24.

It’s sad to realize the late Steve Irwin is missing the most pulse-pounding, risky, animal encounter of parenting as his daughter Bindi Irwin explores dating.

"The 15-year-old daughter of late 'Crocodile Hunter' star Steve Irwin is rumored to be dating Bailey 'Bazz' Lancaster, her 'best friend' with whom she recently shared two adorable Instagram snaps," according to E! 

No Kimodo dragon with a toothache or angry rhino has the power to infuse the parental bloodstream with as much adrenalin as the moment a parent first learns of their child’s first dating experience.

I jumped on this story like a lioness on a lame gazelle because just last night my son Avery, 15, casually sauntered up to me in the kitchen and asked, “So if we don’t have any plans tomorrow night can I bring my girlfriend over to meet the family?”

Crikey! I was chopping onions when he asked and I am happy to be typing with all 10 digits today.

The key to being the mom of boys at such a critical moment is to behave as if the boy who has chosen to share actual, pertinent, information about his life is a rare, easily startled bird, and to tread softly.

“Nothing on the calendar,” I said, careful not to make eye contact. “That would be fine.”

Here was the tricky maneuver, trying to tag the boy for more details.

“Soooo, how’d you meet her,” I asked instead of yipping and jabbering about how he could have kept this first girlfriend secret from me to the point of calling her his “girlfriend.”

Avery broke into a smirk and said, “You know all those times I was staying after for chemistry help? Well we were meeting after school. She’s been my friend for years. Her hair’s pink, orange, and blue and she plays violin.”

It was a brilliant salvo on his part – like getting sprayed by the non-existent information skunk.

My brain fogged, I choked on the questions, and he got away clean to walk the dog.

The boy is brilliant at math and science so the chemistry help should have been a dead giveaway that I clearly missed. Pink, orange, and blue hair? Years?

I can only hope her father takes it better than the other dads my older sons have encountered in the dating wild.

Bindi’s alleged beau should count himself lucky that he only has to get past one parent who rolls with crocodiles.

Some of the very worst moments I have ever observed in the parenting jungle sprang from a kids showing interest in the opposite sex.

When they were little, I thought it was cute and tried to coach my boys through the elementary school moments of valentines and giving a mangled flower from the garden to the objects of their affection.

Then I encountered the fathers who went completely mental over a first grader giving their daughter a flower.

One dad, so pumped with terror at the prospect of his little girl dating (at age six) sought out my eldest, then age six, at the playground to inform him, “I own a gun. I am land-mining the yard. So you better watch your step young man!”

I believe Mr. Irwin would have handled a potential boyfriend well. The good natured Irwin would have recognized that first crushes and courting are part of nature and would probably do a show on it.

However, Bindi’s mom could be even more formidable than her late father.

When one of my sons gets his heart broken, which seems to happen exponentially as the four get older, I have flashbacks to Dumbo’s mom rampaging in a protective rage.

The best advice for the parent trying to absorb the reality of their baby growing up and dating is to be calm, honest, and resist the urge to tag the teen’s ear with a tracking chip.

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