Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Call Me Baby Batman"

At the tender age of two my youngest son became a suave billionaire vigilante who dressed in all black and rid the city of criminal clowns and arctic fowl. Though emotionally, financially and physically taxing, we, as his family, have supported his decision.

It all began when my husband decided the boy was old enough to partake in some ritual male bonding.

*Fictional account my memory has accepted as true for personal amusement*

Hubbs: Son?

Hank: Yes, father?

Hubbs: You’re two years old now. It’s time to throw off the shackles of your youth and join the men! To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under Heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. A time for SpongeBob, a time for big boy cartoons. So sayeth the Lord, Amen.

Hank: Wow, that was quite a speech Dad! Did you make that up yourself?

Hubbs: Yes I did.

Hank: So what did you have in mind, Pops?

Hubbs: Superheroes, son. Superheroes.

My son’s education in “real” cartoons began with Spiderman. I’m not sure why my husband chose Spiderman but I secretly believe it’s because he wishes he were Spiderman. (He did get a spider tattooed on his neck on our first date. Interesting story best saved for another time.)

Regardless Hank was amused but could take or leave Spidey. My hubbs was chagrined while I was inwardly smug. I never cared for Spiderman. He’s a pussy and I had my own agenda. My loyalties were firmly placed in another camp.

With an air of carefully practiced indifference I casually suggested we expose our little progeny to Batman. My hubbs’ dismissive reaction was akin to the sound a balloon makes when it’s blown up and released. That was his first mistake. His second was in forgetting that I was at home all day with the boy while he was at work. That Spiderman bitch was going down.

Turns out it took little persuasion to turn my son to the dark knight side. The first time he saw the yellow and black Bat symbol flash across the screen, he was hooked. Staring transfixed his only reaction was, “Wow.” My husband came home that night to a whole new world.

At first the hubbs was annoyed by my scheming and sabotage but Hank’s enthusiasm was contagious. It was for all of us. Batman movies, Batman t.v. shows, Batman action figures, Batman home d├ęcor. Obsession was fully realized when, at Hank’s 3rd Batman birthday party, he received his official cape and cowl: a costume I ordered online from Costume Express.

I guess I shouldn’t have ordered the cheap $20 costume. Of course cheap may be a little harsh. I’m sure they didn’t intend on it being worn day and night. Hank wore it so often that, within the first week, the seams began to rip. Not to worry, the dirt and food crust held it together. You see, I wasn’t allowed to wash it either.

Everyone continued to take it all in stride, even when Hank found bad guys to fight. The girls were Catwoman and Poison Ivy, Dad was the Joker and I was the Penguin because I “was short and fat”. (I was starting to lose my sense of humor and this kid was going to get my foot up his ass.) Noah was the only one spared the daily beatings but he paid in his own way. He was delegated to the role of 13 year old Robin to Hank’s 3 year old Batman.

Yep, we took it all in stride. “Normal childhood development,” I constantly reminded myself through gritted teeth. Even the day that Hank made his transition from obsession to full personality transformation with one proclamation…

Me: Hank, do you want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Hank: Call me…(pause for effect)…Baby Batman.

Me: Umm, ok. Is that a yes or no on the pb&j?

From that day forward God save us if we forgot and called him Hank. You’d have thought we called him late to dinner. And anything and everything Hank did, or said, or wanted was instantly justified because he was…Baby Batman.

Chastising him for beating the neighbor’s cat with a stick:
“I had to. It was the Joker and I…am Baby Batman.

Asking him why he was screaming at his sisters:
“They said I wasn’t Baby Batman and I told them I was Baby Batman and then I had to hit them!”

Wrestling him into his crib every night:
“Let me out of here! You can’t do this to me! I’m Baby Batman!”

Remember the old adage “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” I’m considering getting that made into a wooden sign by one of those wooden sign maker guys outside of Home Depot.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Subliminal Scheming

I remember being a little girl riding in a car with my chain smoking Grandma, all of the windows rolled up. Correction, not all of the windows were up. She had kids in the car after all. Her window was cracked...about a quarter of an inch. A hug from her wouldn’t have been complete without nose burn and watering eyes. All of my childhood memories of her are cigarette scented.

My grandmother wasn’t a religious woman but she would take anything she read as gospel, provided it made no real sense, promised impossible results and cost a lot of money. If you were smart you never, ever, disagreed with one of her plans. Confronting her was like sitting on a leather couch in summer while wearing shorts: you don’t realize the danger until it’s too late, it’s extremely painful to extract yourself from it and you learn your lesson quickly and never do it again.

So no one tried to talk her out of it when my grandma decided that she was going to quit smoking after reading about the amazing benefits of hypnosis. She tracked down a local “therapist” who promised (without an actual guarantee) that, for the low, low price of $300, she would receive one office visit, five subliminal cassette tapes and a cure to all her woes. Having met all of my grandmother’s criteria for what makes something credible, she signed right up.

My reverie was interrupted, once again, by a screaming child upstairs. Thundering down the stairs Violet came, giant tears squeezed out and accusations flying. After simultaneous sighs from both me and the hubbs, he asked the inevitable question…again…

Him: What happened this time?

Vi: Ruby bit me on the cheek!

(Enter Ruby)

Ruby: Well, she told me to do it!

Me: She TOLD you to do it? Can’t you come up with something better than that? Really, Ruby, I’m disappointed.

Ruby: No, really. She said we should have a Fighting Contest!

Him: Violet, did you really say that?

Vi: (sniff and mumble) Yes.

Me: Well, shit, dumbass. Who won the contest?

Vi: Umm, Ruby?

Me: Ya think?

I started to wonder if I shouldn’t record some of my own subliminal tapes for the kids. Set over the top of Jack Johnson singing some Curious George songs, my directives would be simple:


I don’t think I’m asking a lot, just the basics. And it’ll work too. Hell, it worked for grandma. She quit smoking five days after she started listening to her tapes. Maybe she wasn’t so crazy after all. Of course there was that chelation pyramid scheme…

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little Beggars

It doesn’t matter what store we go into, what we’re buying or how long of a lecture I give them before we go in, my children can’t help but beg. Begging is encoded in their genes. They beg for anything and everything they see, even if it doesn’t make sense…especially if it doesn’t make sense.

Aisle A1
Them: Mom, I think we need to buy some cat food.
Me: Honey…we don’t have a cat.
Them: We might someday!

Aisle A2
Them: Mom! We should totally buy this hat!
Me: Why?
Them: Because, mother, it has a bird on it.
Me: Of course it does.

Aisle A3
Them: Ooo! Mom, Mom! You should buy this magazine for you!
Me: Why would I buy that?
Them: Because Oprah is on it and she’s your favorite!
Me: No, she’s not, dear. I don’t even watch her show.

By Aisle B2 I’d already backtracked to Food Avenue and bought everyone “shut the hell up” popcorn. By Aisle D4 the popcorn was gone and by Aisle E3 we were leaving. To hell with what we came for. Toothpaste? The kids still had their baby teeth so those could rot. Diapers? Let them pee down their legs. Mommy’s Tylenol? OK, we’d go get that then we’re definitely leaving.