As I watch my son dressed in a familiar red cape, jump from the top step of our cement porch into the bed of thorny rose bushes below, I am reminded of the superhero fantasy that lives in all boys. An adorable little gene buried deep in their DNA that compels them to run, jump and fly without concern for their own well being or the laws of gravity. It is this fantasy, which begins with their first pair of Superman Underoo’s and continues throughout their adult life, that I believe is responsible for about 90% of the bad decisions made by most men.
My husband proves this theory every time we go to Costco. Just recently I watched in horror as he attempted to pick up a 30 pound box of groceries and load them in the car with my 20 month old daughter sitting on his shoulders. Inevitably, he experienced his first Sophie’s Choice moment as the movement of loading the box into the trunk caused her to lose her balance and begin to fall off of his shoulders. It was either her or the box and lucky for our only daughter, he made the right decision. As I took a moment to regroup and collect the thousand blueberries now scattered around the parking lot I realized that although I could see that coming from a mile away, he honestly didn’t. His “Male Superhero” mentality took over and he truly believed that he could handle it. He thought he had the strength and agility to do these two drastically unrelated activities simultaneously. Why didn’t he strap our baby into her car seat before picking up that box? Why didn’t he ask for my help? Why didn’t he think about the basic physics of his plan? Simple. Because he’s a boy. End of story.
The Costco incident was just another reminder that when raising a boy, I must always remember one fact; it does not matter how many times I ask my son not to jump off of the couch, climb onto the roof of our shed or ride our dog in the name of his comic book gods, it is part of who he is. Boys have ideas that are bigger and more amazing than themselves and no matter how close they get to being Clark Kent, they will always be wearing their Superman underpants.