Lest you think I welcomed this superhero phase with open arms, let me assure you: not true. You might remember my sweet 2-year-old Noah who loved magic wands and princes — who belted Broadway songs on street corners.
When brought to the toy store, the only thing he wanted was the LEGO DUPLO Cinderella castle to play with mommy. Now he’s collecting the big-kid LEGO Batman set with daddy.
And it’s not that I only want him to be into “girly” things — which is what so many (blatantly worried) people thought — although I did like the genderless-ness of it all. But princes and fairies are gentle and kind — no violent explosions or aggressive fighting. It’s pure magic.
The superhero thing irked me. Sure, maybe it’s because I was losing my baby to big-kid stuff, and okay, maybe a tiny part of me was clinging onto a suddenly lanky body that was running toward his daddy. (I’ve always known he’d one day follow around his dad like a mini-me, mimicking his movements and interests — desperately waiting by the door to play catch, or, as it turns out, superheroes. I remember assuring Justin that this would happen, back when Noah would reject his affection for softer, more maternal arms. “One day he’ll be yours,” I said. “Just let me have this little time as his world.” That day has come.)
But more than anything, his playtime interests personified his personality. They were him. And I don’t want to let go of him yet.
With this new phase comes the mourning of the last — which is so much of parenting, right? A series of goodbyes and hellos, both painful and exciting. I’ll miss the toddler who said things like, “I YIKE my diapers, mama,” and would never leave the house without a wand in hand. Just as I miss the baby who clung to my shirt as he slept, only waking to eat from my body. Just as I miss the newborn who made grunty dinosaur noises and slept with his victory arms straight up in the air.
The passing of these personality quirks means the passing of the personality. And would the superhero phase bring a more aggressive little boy?
When I brought up this sadness to my mom, she quickly replied,”But this superhero thing might be best for HIM. Think of how much it’s helped him.”
And it’s true.
Superheroes have made him more comfortable in his skin — able to relate to his peers in a way he never could. He’s become more confident and, believe it or not, imaginative than ever.
See all the lessons that superheroes have taught Noah over at mom.me.
And one day, as I look at a young man who has celebrity crushes and spends way too much time in his room, I’ll miss the days he ran to his batcave and plotted his missions. I’ll miss the little boy who thought a forcefield could prevent anything bad from happening, who was always the leader of the good guys.
I’ll miss this little boy.