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.

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