I loved Wonder Woman when I was a little girl. I don’t remember why I loved her so much – whether it was her power to do good, her awesome attire, her good looks…. I just remember emulating her with my gold bracelets and my headband and my belt and lasso.
Mario loves Spiderman. He adores him. He wants to do everything he does. He tries to climb the walls. He jumps from the bed. He flexes his wrist down to shoot a web. He turns his head back and forth to determine where evil is lurking. It is a pretty recent phenomena.
We went to the costume store to pick out Halloween outfits a few weeks ago and nothing was particularly on the minds of Maria or Mario when we walked into the store. Maria picked out five different outfits all fairly slutty and horrific (for pre-teens even!) but we finally compromised on Super Girl (which I am sure Maria agreed to because of her red shiny thigh high boots – oh, my!).
Mario, on the other hand, could not decide on anything. He liked Batman and Scooby and Frankenstein. The Spiderman costume hit me as cool because it had one of those inflated chest and arms to it that I thought would be hilarious on Mario since he is so tiny. It also had a mask that did not go all the way over his face like the others (and I knew he would hate one like that – what kid wouldn’t – why do they do that?). I mentioned Spiderman as a costume and he agreed to it and that was that. We tried it on in the bathroom and I held him up in the mirror. He smiled. He wiggled out of my arms and chirped “Let’s get it mom!”
We bought it. He never mentioned it again except on the occasions when a neighbor or relative would ask him what he was going to be for Halloween. He dutifully responded “Spiderman!” A week or so ago, he found some Spiderman books and movies at the library and he wanted to read and watch them. Then, two nights ago, out of the blue, he begged to put on his Spiderman costume. I agreed not knowing that he would never want to take it off until he was 20. He became Peter Parker/Spiderman. Coincidentally, Spiderman (with Tobey Maguire) was on HBO that same night and Mario and Jon watched it. I believe that is when the deal was sealed. He watched the entire movie with Jon asking questions, biting his nails, getting excited.
When I came home from dropping Maria off at a friend’s house, the movie had just ended. Mario asked me to act like I was drowning in wet sand. I threw on my acting hat and started crying “I am in wet sand – I wish someone could help me!” “Spiderman” jumps off the couch and runs to me, pulls off his mask, and stares as me. I learn that this means I should say “Oh, are you Peter Parker, Spiderman?” To which he responds “Yes, I am.” Then he grabs my arm and pulls me out of the wet sand. He slips on his mask and runs off to which I learned I am supposed to say “I won’t tell anyone your identity, Spiderman.”
He played the “wet sand’ game with me at least 30 times over the last two days. He wrestled with Jon during the times he was not playing the game with me. Jon played the bad guy and Mario took him on as Spiderman. He could have played all night long. He loved checking himself out in the mirror while he was slipping on his mask. He stood on our bed, staring at himself in his costume and mask, for minutes. He even posed a few times without noticing that we were watching him. When we went outside in it, and he had to put on shoes and socks, he made sure he chose his red socks to match the costume and his red and black gym shoes. Thank god we had those around because he freaked at first at the thought of having to wear shoes that did not match his outfit.
When I put him to bed (for the fourth time – he got out three different times providing a new excuse every time) he stopped me before I left. “Come here mom.” I walked over to him and he pulled my hand to him so that my face was close to his face. “Mom, Spiderman helps people. He is a good hero. He kills bad guys because they are mean. Spiderman will protect you.”
Those words cradled me all night. What a lover-boy. It is hard to believe that the kid can make me want to drive off a cliff many a days after he says something like that to me. When I went to bed later that night, I went to check on him in Maria’s bed. There he was with his mask by his side (the neurotic mother told him he could not wear it to bed because he may suffocate) and his spider on his chest, ready to take on the bad guys to protect his mama.