A new school year started last month which means that Fraboo has a new teacher. I’m not sure whether the standard of educators has improved since I was her age, or that she has been exceptionally lucky with her teachers but she has had four excellent teachers since she started her academic career. Each of them have recognized her unique qualities and have waxed lyrical about what a great kid she is and how much of an asset she is to the class. It hasn’t all been fantastic though, they have remained curiously tight lipped about her academic prowess but then she does take after her father. In any case, for Fraboo, being appreciated is of much greater importance than high marks in a test, or being in the top reading group.
Her latest teacher has ignited a little spark in our daughter which seems to be in danger of becoming a forest fire. This is an exciting new development for me, as it is something I was keen to cultivate in at least one of my kids. To be completely honest I would have thought they would have been a bit older. I am, it seems closet misogynist as I had assumed this would be an interest.
Fraboo’s teacher is really keen on superheroes. All of the reading and maths groups in her class, are named after teams of them: Justice League and Teen Titans for example. There is also a lot of superhero related books in her classroom (I know, I’ve had a bit of a squiz myself), which Fraboo is consuming with a ferocious appetite. Her reading group is the Avengers and as consequence, has been talking almost nonstop about, Iron man, Thor and the Hulk etc.
After considerable deliberation, I asked her if she’d like to watch the recent slew of Avengers movies. Unsurprisingly, she said she’s love to (and that I was the best Dad in the whole world), and so for the past few weeks, our evenings have been spent watching the adventures of the comic book heroes.
I’m sure there are many of you reading this who are wondering if I have lost my mind, exposing my impressionable little daughter to violence and scary villains, and to be honest I wondered myself whether it was a bit of a stupid idea.
I really shouldn’t have doubted myself though. We carefully explained to her that it was all pretend, and reassured her throughout the movie that it was make believe. I also sat through the films with her; not a tremendous hardship, I can assure you.
From an early age Fraboo has displayed a blood thirsty streak, insisting we watch and re-watch the most gruesome parts of virtually any film we have seen with her, and so I was less concerned than I perhaps might have been.
In any case I wouldn’t recommend showing these movies with just any old kid. Strangely enough, when the time comes, I would be less likely to share these movies with Boy-Boy at the same age. He is a lot more timid than his sister (like his father in fact), declaring the Gruffalo to be “too scary for me!” And despite Jojo’s tough bully-boy exterior, to date, he has only impressed upon me how much of a wimp he really is.
So what have we got out of this little experiment? Have I had to endure sleepless nights as Fraboo screams through her dreams? No!
Has my daughter started carrying a hammer with her everywhere and declaring herself to be the Queen of a race of Nordic gods, or designing bullet proof flying suites? No!
Has she started bouncing off the walls and generally trying to knock the living day lights out of us all? No more than usual!
In fact, the only negative to emerge from this interest, has been that I have had slightly less time to spend with my wife, as I’m spending it with my daughter instead.
On the plus side, she has started to take a far greater interest in reading and art as she wants to start a comic book collection. Even more importantly, she has noticed that not all of the good guys are men. There are a few ladies in the movies too, who she really admires for all their bad assery.
She has started to notice that girls can be just as tough as boys, and she is now constantly flexing her muscles at me and telling me how strong she is! She has realised that the Hollywood stereotype for little girls (a Princess who needs to be rescued), isn’t the only aspiration for a young lady to have.
That aside, please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way advocating that you rent “The Conjuring” from your local video shop (do those things even exist anymore?), for a family movie night. What I am saying is that it’s really important that you know your child. Much as we like to lump them all together, no two kids are the same. Although I have extremely limited experience in such things, I would suggest that if you asked the parents of identical twins, they would tell you that they are actually very dissimilar.
The reason I raise this point is that, as I’m sure you are aware, Longdon baby number 4 is due to be arriving later on this year. As implied by the mention of the number 4, Mrs L. and I are no strangers to the whole newborn thing. Those of you who have not had kids or still have just the one, may be thinking, “what can the new one do, that the other’s haven’t already put you through?”
If my own experience is anything to go by, the answer to that question is plenty!