We have a ritual around this house. It started when my son was very young. It was cute then. It’s a little… much, now.
When he was just a little pip-squeek waking up from his nap I used to slowly push open his bedroom door and hide around the corner so he couldn’t see anyone in the doorframe. I’d crank up the volume on my iPhone (as much as possible) and play John Williams’s “Superman” theme. Just at the right moment in the music (bum ba daaaaaa, ba-dum ba-da baaaaa!) I’d jump into the doorframe with my best Superman pose. As the music swelled I’d pick up the teeny little guy and “fly him” through the house – holding him out in the air in the best Christopher Reeve pose we could muster, running from room to room as the iPhone in my pocket played the soundtrack to our geek-dom.
All I can say is, be careful the seeds you plant.
It started with a Superman onesie I got him as an infant. Then there were a couple Superman shirts even my wife had to admit were cute. Later we found some Superman pajamas. And most recently, in a moment of weakness I picked up a Superman Halloween costumes at one of those cheesy seasonal Halloween costume outlets.
While all these additions to my son’s wardrobe were being made I got in the habit of playing Pandora.com on my iPhone (how did we live without those things) while the kids were in the bath every night. If you devote any significant time to Pandora you know that the music played on any given channel can get a little repetative. In the space of a year both my children can now identify the theme music to “Superman” “Star Wars” “Star Trek” “Batman” “Pirates of the Carribean” and a few others.
Kids are smart. It didn’t take long for my son to connect the dots.
Now, whenever he hears the Superman music, my son expects me to “fly” him. That is to say, he expects me to pick him up in my hands, hold him out in front of me and run him around the house until the music is over. What’s more, now he expects the music and the costume to go together. If he hears the music he has to run to his room to put his costume on. Woe to us if the costume happens to be in the wash, or if the music should run out before the costume gets on. Either that, or whenever the mood suits him and he wants to put the costume on, he expects me to put the music on right away also. “Fly me, Daddy!” is the familiar mantra. Woe to us if my iPhone is out of sight, or if Pandora happens to be rotating through another track at that instant.
So we “fly”. We “fly” often. Sometimes we zoom through the house. Sometimes we zoom into the backyard, sometimes into the front yard. But what I can tell you is this: my arms get frickin’ tired.
This kid is 10 lbs. heavier and a lot more sophisticated than he was as an infant when we started doing this. The fantasy gets more elaborate every time. Lately just “flying” isn’t good enough. He wants augmentations to pitch, roll AND yaw. It’s more exciting that way. And if I’m not running fast enough to make his cape flutter then I’m just not doing it right.
The music finally ends. I put my boy down wherever we happen to be. Inevitably my lungs are burning, I’m huffing and puffing like an out-of-shape middle-aged dad (who me?) and my arms are limp at my sides screaming from the lactic acid buildup. And what do I get for my effort? “Can you please fly me again Daddy?”
This is our ritual.
Of course I love it… the first three times I do it right after I get home from work. Today was no different. Pandora was on. The Superman theme played. My boy ran into his room and almost had a fit ’cause we weren’t getting his costume on fast enough, and I “flew” him for the remainder of the music. Only this time there was a new wrinkle. This time when I put him down we happened to be in close proximity to his older sister. As the blood rushed back into my arms, between my ghasps for breath I heard him say to his sister, “I love you Lois Lane”.
…she was so excited she had to go into his room and put on one of his Batman shirts.