Don't Get Sucked In

October 29, 2009

Vanya really enjoys relaying messages between his parents. He will often do it even as we try to converse. His construct is to start with a question that asks if the listener knows what the other person said. Then, he repeats the person's name and what they said. So, for example, if I ask Mrs. theskinnyonbenny to turn down the television and she doesn't jump to it right away, he might get her attention and ask,

"You know what Papa say?"


"Papa say turn down the TV."

A couple of nights ago, he came to me in the kitchen with,

"You know what Mama say?"


"Mama say I can eat cookies for supper."

Really? Papa say, was I born yesterday?

This attempted deception aside, he's been pretty well-behaved the last couple of weeks, getting mostly "green fish" at school. Fortunately, he doesn't remember the promises of what he could have and do should he get seven or eight consecutive green fish, because that seemed such an unrealistic goal that I'm sure we might have actually promised something outrageous. Like an okay to eat cookies for supper.

Perhaps this is personal growth or increased maturity, or perhaps it's because we cut off superhero cartoons. Today's superheros aren't the joyful Superfriends of my youth. They're a serious group with problems that aren't always solved at the end of the episode. They also get into a lot of fistfights, which isn't good for a three year old boy with a lot of energy.

One of our favorites is Teen Titans. If you haven't caught this one, it's Batman's sidekick Robin and a band of four other young super heroes, living in a high-rise shaped like the letter T. They get into life and death situations, often without leaving their high-rise.

When we started watching, Vanya asked me about each character. "Who's that?" Except for Robin, I didn't know. I went to the cell phone to check the Wikipedia writeup. The cartoon's page led me to the biography of each character. And extensive biographies they were. Not only did they explain how these characters ended up on Earth with powers, but they went through relationships, breakups, allegiances with other bands of heroes or villains, and much, much more. I honestly couldn't follow it all. No wonder comic book nerds end up wasting their lives away amid giant stacks of comics -- that might be the only way you can keep up with it all.

Teen Titans was long over by the time I got around to explaining who these people were. But I didn't stop my research project.

From there, I went to Superman's writeup. What would he have if these minor losers had more content than I could understand? You can check for yourself, but apparently there were multiple versions of Superman, and eventually, multiple universes where Superman was having separate simultaneous adventures. My head aches just thinking back on it.

And all this time, I thought he was just a kid launched from Krypton who found Lois Lane, flew around the world backwards to save her life, and then stopped Richard Pryor from ruling the world and stealing fractions of pennies.