Five Conversations With My Toddler About Superheroes
I Need a Do-Over
1. And So It Begins...
Me: Did you know that Buster picked this Daniel Tiger doll for you?
Chicken: He did?
Me: Yeah! We were at the toy store and we were going up and down all the different aisles trying to decide what to get you for Christmas.
I asked Buster, "do you think Chicken wants a ball?" And he said, "mmmm... no."
And I asked him, "do you think Chicken wants a set of blocks?" And he said, "mmmm... no."
And then I said, "do you think Chicken wants a superhero?" And Buster was like, "no."
And we turned the corner to the next aisle and Buster's eyes lit up, and he pointed at this Daniel Tiger, and he said, "there, Mom. There. That is for Chicken."
Except in Buster speak, so it was like, "NNNNGGGGGH!"
Me: Do you like the Daniel Tiger?
Chicken: Maybe a superhero would be better.
2. Just Call Me Daniel Webster
Chicken: Mom? What's a superhero?
Me: A superhero is a person who has very special powers, who protects good people from bad guys.
Chicken: But he doesn't protect bad people?
Me: Well, sometimes bad people too, I guess. Or rather, just regular people, you know people like you and me who are a little bit good and a little bit bad too, or... wait... no, let me start again. A superhero sees when someone is hurting another person and says, "hey, cut that out!" To make sure nobody gets hurt.
Chicken: Because the person is bad?
Me: Uh, I mean, I don't think very many people are just plain bad. Sometimes people do things that hurt other people, but that doesn't make them bad people.
Chicken: That's complicated.
Me: Yeah. I'm gonna work on it.
3. Superhero Diplomacy
Chicken: Let's play superhero!
Chicken: OK, Miss Elena is gonna be mean to you and I'm gonna be the superhero.
Me: Okay! (I grab the Miss Elena doll, and say, in the voice of Miss Elena:) You can't play with me or my friends because I don't like you!
what evil lurks
in the hearts of men
miss elena knows
Chicken: (runs over and bellows in the doll's face) HEY CUT THAT OUT!
Chicken: I SAID MISS ELENA CUT THAT OUT!
Me: Wow Super Chicken! That was a really strong move! Now could you maybe explain to Miss Elena why she should cut that out? That what she said might make someone feel left out?
Chicken: No, I'm just gonna say hey cut that out. Let's go again.
Me: Do you think you could try doing some explaining too?
Chicken: No. Let's go again.
Me, as Miss Elena: Gimme your snack. I'm gonna eat all of it.
Chicken: HEY CUT THAT OUT!
Me, as Miss Elena: Why should I cut it out?
Chicken: (sighs) Ask Mommy.
4. Oh No She Di'int
Chicken: Let's have Miss Elena be mean to Nana!
(We call Nana on FaceTime and explain the setup. Nana is game. Chicken hides around the corner, waiting for evildoers.)
Me, as Miss Elena: Nana, I don't like your shirt. I don't think it looks nice on you.
Nana: Oh, I am so sad!
(Chicken comes charging out from around the corner swinging two curved wooden pieces of railroad track like twin pirate cutlasses.)
Chicken: I'M GONNA CUT YOU!
since chicken is "napping"
and i was laughing too hard to get a pic when it happened
he wears that mask
when he is super chicken
when you push the button on the nose
5. He Has a Point
Me: You know, Chicken, a superhero's greatest weapon is his words.
Chicken: And my hurting tools.
Me: (wincing) But you know, you don't need to use hurting tools most of the time if you can just explain why it's not okay to hurt people.
Chicken: I don't think that's how it works.