My mom tells this story about how one day I came home from kindergarten and declared earnestly, “Pointing with your middle finger is against the school rules.”
Of course my mom had to test this decree, “Why Jaimie?”
“I don’t know… it just is.”
And there you have it.
A few weeks ago, Jakey comes home in anticipation of Halloween, “Mom. Miss Amy says no costumes with masks, no scary costumes, and no weapons.”
Dang… he is crystal clear on the reasoning behind a ban on weapons.
And speaking of Halloween, every autumn I find the task of procuring costumes more and more challenging. I long for children of decision. Resolute in their choices. Unwavering in their purpose. Definitive in their instructions. Instead I get…
Jacob: “I want to be a vampire. Nate can be a vampire, too.”
Terrific! Maybe we can even get Grandma to help us make capes. I mean, what do Grandma’s do if not help to sew Halloween costumes? My grandma, Sweetie, sewed me an adorable little “German girl” Halloween dress and kerchief and made a matching one for my Suzy Homemaker doll. Somehow I’ve never asked if three-year-old “German girl” was a Halloween costume I requested?
But after I’ve got it all planned, including the slicked back hair gel and where I’ll find another set of Dracula teeth, I get:
Jacob: “I want to be a superhero.”
And Nate: “I want to be Captain Amewica.”
A week or so later:
Jacob, “I want to be Captain America, too.”
A day later:
Jacob, “No, I want to be the Flash.”
Three seconds later:
Jacob: “No, I want to be Superman.”
And Nate: “I want to be Captain Amewica. I’m a Soopah–heeWO!” (Imagine his legs splayed in an active pose, one fist forward in triumph.) Nate still shows me how strong his muscles are by pointing his elbows at me. I will likely cry when that stops.
Halloween is quickly approaching. I put the kabosh on further costume dream-weaving via the only weapon at my disposal: Amazon.
Nate’s Captain America costume shows-up lickety split. Including his shield. Now he has to line-up his big shield and his doll shield. I mean action figure shield. I got him the one with the muscles because I had done quite a bit of costume research on the internet. I know that little boys are overly exposed to stereotypes of big, strong superheroes and unrealistic brawn. But who can resist baby beefcake? Child psychologists be damned… I’m going with cute and funny.
The Captain America choices were pretty good. Great reviews. The Superman costumes on the other hand weren’t that clear. Should I choose the classic Superman? Or the new one who’s lost the red Speedo and now wears more of a blue muscle leotard? I was leaning toward the more modern Superman, but decided to check with my decision-maker. I like to push decisions down to the lowest possible level within the organization.
He confirms, “I want the Superman costume with the muscles. And the red underwear.”
“Muscles and underwear?”
“Muscles and underwear.”
To some, they’re a turn-off. To a four-year-old, the red underwear are a key selling feature.