My little one is obsessed with superheroes.
Personally, I think it’s pretty cool. My older son never went through any phases intensely. He enjoyed cars for a bit, puzzles, little stuffed animals and figurines he carted around. Nothing last too long, and his interests were wide. But I’ve come to realize the superheroes aren’t going away any time soon.
What I love about my son’s current obsession is his intelligence with his questions. He batters me all day long, with a different character taking precedent on different days. I must admit, I was never into superheroes, and dimly remember making fun of my poor brother with a sneer, calling him “ridiculous.” Of course, I was also the only girl on the block who detested dolls and Barbies. Give me a good book even at 5 and that’s all I needed. God, I would have been even more socially awkward if the Kindle or Nook was on the scene. But I digress.
Batman was the first. My son was fascinated with the Joker and his evil laugh, and Batman’s ability to face evil without a flinch. The Batmobile is super cool too. He demanded to know everything that Batman could and couldn’t do, including flying, exact amount of super strength, how he became Batman, and what gadgets were used in which situation. Thank God I knew a lot about Batman so a bit of brushing up was all I needed.
We moved on to Superman. Again, saw all the movies, knew about his past, so mom was well prepared. We hit Spiderman, Ironman, and the Incredible Hulk. The Fantastic Four nearly killed me – I knew nothing about it, and then McDonalds gave out little figures of The Thing and I was doomed. He collected three of them, made them utter the words “Clobber Time!” and asked me about the Thing’s past and what he did.
Enter the Internet.
I began researching superheroes. I delved into how they became who they were, and what type of power they possessed. My son was smart and asked these type of questions.
“Can the Hulk beat the Thing in a battle? Because, Mommy, you told me they both had inhuman strength and one yells ‘Hulk Smash!’ and the other yells ‘Clobber Time.”
Crap. I had no clue. Finally discovered the Hulk had slightly more power than the Thing from a library book.
Then it was…
“Mommy, Kid Flash can fly so, so, so fast! But you said Superman was faster than a speeding bullet and the ultimate in fastness. So who wins?”
Crap. Couldn’t really find the answer but all stats said Superman ruled so I went with Superman.
“Mommy, you said only Superman can really, really fly, but Batman, Spiderman, Ironman and the Hulk can fly too. ”
“Well, honey, Superman is the only one who can fly without any other costumes. Spiderman uses webs, Batman uses his cape and gadgets, Ironman uses his powerful uniform, and the Hulk jumps so high it really looks like he’s flying.”
My smug look said it all. I was such a COOL mom. I actually answered and discussed my child’s hobbies. Then..
“Ok. Mommy, what does the Silver Surfer do?”
CRAP. I went back to the computer. Silver what?
My son’s fascination got me to thinking about some important points about Superheroes. Most were regular human beings who had something terrible happen to them. They dealt with parental death, and bullying, isolation, and feeling lonely. Some important event changed who they were and they didn’t have a choice in the matter. They took their circumstances and rose above it. They received special powers but used them for good, not bad. They fight evil, but they are never done, because the bad guys keep coming back…and coming back…and coming back. They get up every morning and do the same thing and probably wonder late at night if they really made much of a difference. But they get up the next morning and do it anyway.
These are our stories. Our stories in day to day life. On television reality shows. In our books. When I am writing a new novel, my characters are the most important part of the story – the meat that holds it all together. We all have a superhero inside of us – some are just more flashy than others. Some will use it for good, and others for bad. Take your new character and delve deep. Look at the special powers that make your hero or heroine extra special. Sketch out the evil in the story – which can be internal or an actual villain. Dig below the surface. Have them make mistakes – lots of mistakes. My favorite part about superheroes are the obstacles they face, and that they all occasionally make a blunder. That makes the story so much richer.
My favorite part of reading a book is when I grasp the pages and get so frustrated with the character I want to shake him or her. Because that’s real. If they’re both right the entire book, well, I’m going to read another book. Character growth equals investment by the reader.
As for my son, he is teaching me every day. Something new. Something wonderful. Something heroic.
Here’s to the heroes.
Loved this post! I know you probably can’t see it, but from where I sit I see that you are a hero mom raising heroic little men. You take each challenge in stride and teach them by example to do the same. You pay attention to your boys and attention is right behind love, air and food on the list of things kids need most.
Hi Regina! OK, I just must say you made me feel so good as a mom – you are really sweet. I really needed that today – thank you!!!
My son is fascinated with superheroes as well…especially the hulk! I think it’s the best when we can take what they love and turn it into a love of reading too. We have several superhero books on the shelves that are worn out from reading them so much! Good luck keeping up with all the questions, I know how challenging (and rewarding) that can be! 🙂 Thanks for the great post!
HI Tara! Yes, I know you are in the same boat with your little one, and it’s SO much fun, isn’t it! Really glad you liked the post! And the hulk is soooo cool.
I can help with the little guy, I was a comic book nerd all through college! Of course, all my info dates to the 80s.
They can also learn about old cars, hairstyles, clothing, and dial phones from the old comics.
LOL – You are recruited love!!
Loved the questions your little guy came up with! 🙂
HI Talli! So nice to see you here – I really like your blog. I love the questions kids come up with too – shows how innocent and intelligent they are!
Very interesting. Aren’t kids wonderful in their own way. My grandson fell in love with the Power Rangers. When I went to take care of him when sister was born, he wanted to watch the movie but not alone. Grandma had to watch along but four times back to back. Sure wish the tape would wear out. When I mentioned that, he told he they had another one that was still in the box.
HI Janet! Yep, Power Rangers and Transformers are also big here. And I know what you mean – I’ve had a few of those movies I wished would break!!
This is a score again…you are amazing. How awesome your son is… and I think you are a super hero MOM who rocks… as a busy parent it is so easy to put an answer out there and move on.. Two things happen the children really do “hear” your answer… and they believe you! I think your research and smart wit qulaifies you as the coolest super hero out there… and you better believe those boys do to!
Hi Lisa! I love your comments – thank you!! You have literally made my day!
Hi Jen! Thanks for reading my blog post and leaving the funny comment! Of course I had to pop over and check out your blog post about superheroes too! He he… I haven’t had to face all of those questions yet… the most I’ve had to deal with so far was when my son asked me to confirm that Spider-Man didn’t shoot any webs at the party because he was indoors and didn’t want to upset the clubhouse owner.
I said, “That’s right, honey. Spider-Man wasn’t allowed to shoot his webs inside the clubhouse. Otherwise I’m sure he would have been shooting them everywhere and swinging around. It was very nice of Spidey to be so considerate.” LOL!
My son thought that made perfect sense. Nice post!
Your son will never forget these conversations. When he looks back at his childhood, his friends, his stories and his superheros – he’ll picture you too, because you were right in the mix of things, loving what he loves. I don’t know what other way there is to tell our kids how important they are to us, than by taking an interest in their interests.
I think that is awesome you are teaching each other!! When you said the silver surfer I remember him from the movie the fantastic four was I was like hmm I wonder that is who he was talking about!! I am not sure what I was obsessed with probably barbies lol!