About a year or so ago, Batman and Spiderman arrived on the Duchess and Honey’s radar screen and gripped their imaginations with a Hulk-like strength. My husband, like many Generation X dads, pulled up little snippets on YouTube for their viewing pleasure, and last spring, the Duchess wheedled out of me a Batman t-shirt from Old Navy. Indeed, it wasn’t until I saw the Duchess playing with her preschool pals (all boys) one day that I realized why she kept throwing her arm out at me and hissing…she was pretending to be Spiderman shooting a web.* All summer long, Honey begged for a Batman cake for her second birthday in August (it was quite a while before I understood what she was talking about, since it sounded like “Adman Rake” and I thought she might have been referring to Mad Men).
Neither of them actually has seen a show or movie, but that’s okay, because they know that the superheroes are good guys who fight bad guys. (Honey frequently calls out, “Spiderman to the rescue!”). The Duchess, who also calls our favorite baddie from Star Wars “Dark Vader,” is very clear about this dynamic and likes to discuss it. A lot. She also wants superhero underwear, which for some mysterious reason is only made for boys, so now I am considering whether to force the poor girl into the designs they have for girl underwear, or buy her boy underwear with the flap. I guess it doesn’t really matter, but I can’t believe they don’t put superheroes, even Wonder Woman, on girls’ underwear too.**
Some people may not like the violence inherent in superhero stories, but I personally think this interest is a fascinating insight into the mind of the Duchess. She is trying to figure out the world around her, and she also is developing a strong sense of order, and superheroes are a great way to harness that, as she fights for truth, justice and the American way.
*Ignore the Freudian interpretations. These are three year olds!
**As a child of the seventies, I had a Wonder Woman swimsuit that was totally awesome, even if I had to make the magic bracelets out of aluminum foil.