Wednesday, December 26, 2007

a logical mind at work

About a year ago, Ezra went through a phase where all he ever thought about was flying. That boy wanted to fly so badly he could taste it. He was constantly rigging wings and capes and parachutes for himself out of paper napkins, masking tape, pillowcases, cardboard boxes, string, balloons, and anything else that struck his fancy, physics be damned, and then jumping off of various pieces of furniture and asking, "Did you see me that time? Did you see me fly?" (Sometimes, "Yes, I did!" was the right answer and sometimes, as it turned out, it was the worst answer you could possibly give him and the right answer was actually, "That was a great jump off the coffee table, but people can't really fly." Of course, he never let you know ahead of time.)

After hearing about his obsession, my mom sent a couple of homemade capes in the mail (one for Ezra and one for Levi, who wasn't especially interested in flying but had to have everything his brother had and she didn't want to be responsible for bloodshed); essentially, they were big tee-shirts with the fronts cut out of them. Unfortunately, the flying fad died in our household soon after the capes arrived and nobody ever gave them a second thought.

This morning, I found one of the capes at the bottom of my dresser drawer. (No, really, I did just find it there! I swear I've never worn it myself! I have no idea how it ended up there because I thought I had hidden it with the handcuffs and nipple clamps in that other drawer!) When I showed it to the boys, Levi immediately grabbed it and put it on, and then wore it for the rest of the day. (He still has no interest in flying per se; his delusions revolve around being a superhero and getting the bad guys, which sometimes does require flight.)

Tonight, as we climbed the stairs this evening, he announced that he was going to put it on over his pajamas and wear it to bed too.

My first instinct was not to let him. Can I tell you why? Because I immediately thought of E. from The Incredibles and her long list of superheroes who had died all because of their capes. "No capes!" she insists, and while I'll concede that she probably wasn't offering parenting advice, taking care of our kids is hard and we get guidance wherever we find it.

So I had this image of Levi getting sucked into some kind of secret vortex in his bunk bed, but at the same time it had been a long day and I was alone with the kids and things were running unusually smoothly and I just didn't want to mess anything up. And besides, the sane part of me was pretty certain no ill could come of it. So I let him.

But after I put him to bed, I kept having these lingering doubts. My four-year-old sleeping in a cape--I just knew I'd sleep better if he wasn't wearing it. So I figured I could take the cape off before I went to bed. Two possible outcomes: a) he wakes up and starts freaking out about his cape and then takes forever to get back to sleep, guaranteeing a crappy day for all of us tomorrow; or b) he doesn't wake up.

If b, two possible outcomes: 1. he stirs around dawn and rouses himself enough to notice that THE CAPE IS GONE, and is so worked up that he can't get back to sleep, guaranteeing a crappy day for all of us; or 2. he sees the cape hanging next to his bed and gets up to put it back on, which means that he's done sleeping, guaranteeing a crappy day for all of us.

I think I'll just let him sleep in the damn cape.


BrianJ said...

i'd call that good parenting that kids will never fully appreciate. it'll take 'em 20 years before they realize how much thought and consideration you put into raising 'em.

Liquid said...