Stalking the Superhero

 

Child pretending to be a superhero

 

Sammy’s been going to preschool a few days a week, for just a few hours on those days. This summer there is a boy in class with him, Nathan.

Or, as Sammy refers to him: “My super hero”.

At first I didn’t even realize Sammy was talking about a real person, as he would spout off random facts about his super hero, and what they did together. he DOES sneak around the house, talking quietly into various phone-like objects, as he spies on us or fights “the bad guys” that only he can see. He loves being a super hero in his action fantasies, karate chopping as he jumps off his bed, or leaping into some sort of summersault before he dashes off to save the world… in our dining room. So I figured this guy he was talking about was his imaginary side kick.

But, as I picked him up one day from school, he pointed him out to me. “That’s my super hero!”  So began my understanding that this was a real boy my son seemed to worship.  I asked questions, like “why do you call Nathan your super hero?”  “Because he IS my super hero, mom!”. Oh. Okay. Well, I did see him wearing a Super man T-shirt that first day…so maybe this Nathan kid thinks he IS some super hero….maybe he only likes to wear super hero clothes or something. No big deal.

But sometimes Sammy would talk in the back seat on our way home from school, and in his continuous monologue, I would here little things like how Sammy ALWAYS wants to sit by Nathan, but sometimes Nathan sits by other people and Sammy doesn’t like that. Because that’s HIS super hero… I wondered, did Nathan want to sit by Sammy as much as Sammy wanted to sit by him?

“Sammy….does Nathan call you Super hero too???”  he said yes, Sometimes, Nathan calls him super hero, but he always calls Nathan super hero. He really, really liked Nathan. I asked him for the names of other kids he was friends with.  He just shrugs.  They aren’t his Superhero, so who cares?

So this goes on. It’s not a daily obsession, but I hear about Nathan several times during the week. One day I was going to keep him home from school so we could go to the zoo with friends. Sammy wanted to go, but didn’t want to miss Nathan at school. We had graduated to “My Superhero Nathan”.  We still went, I told him his super hero would be fine without him for a day.

I really wanted to meet this kids mom.  I guess I thought best case scenario, the boys would be equally obsessed with each other, and they could hang out sometimes. Maybe they were two peas in a pod, and would remain lifelong friends, understanding each other like no one else could. But first…I had to make sure Sammy wasn’t driving this kid crazy.

Today was the day.

I picked him up at school, gathering in the lobby with the other parents as we waited for the teacher to let us in. Surreptitiously glancing at the other moms….which one is His??

Once inside, I walk up to Sammy. “Hey, Buddy!, Where’s Nathan?”   He points to another boy, who is not paying us any attention. I’m watching to see who is there for him. There she is, a slight blonde woman with a toddler on her hip. Excited, I head over, Sammy in tow.

“Excuse me!, I’m Kim, Sammy’s mom!”….. as if I expected a thrilled response from her. Something along the lines of “Oh, Sammy….you’re SAMMY’S mom???!!!!  I’m SOOOO excited to meet you! Nathan just can’t stop talking about Sammy ALL THE TIME!!”

Well…. she DID smile at me. That’s pretty much it.

I kept going. “I hope Nathan talks as much about Sammy as Sammy talks about him!”  A teacher overhead us and came over, “Oh I know, he always calls Nathan his super hero!”  This was met by another smile, a little laugh from his mom. But no real interaction. Clearly, she was not as excited to meet me. And her son….why wasn’t he talking to Sammy? He just sat there, still not paying us any attention.  She was nice, not rude at all. But…there was no real interest coming from her. I didn’t feel like talking about play dates…..instead just said it was nice to meet her, and we left.

I asked more about Nathan on the way home. Sammy was pretty adamant that he ONLY wanted to play with Nathan. No one else. He only wanted to sit by Nathan. Then he mentions to me that Nathan felt sick today. According to Sammy, Nathan told him not to sit next to him because he was getting sick. He even held his arm out to ward Sammy off. Sammy felt like it was worth the risk…and reports sitting by Nathan anyway. So now I’m starting to feel weird. Is my son stalking this boy? How do I fix THIS?

I try talking about how it’s nice to play with ALL the kids…. and every one might be a good friend to have, and wouldn’t it be nice to have lots of friends at school? No, Sammy is completely sure he doesn’t need anyone but his super hero.  Well, “does Nathan play with other kids?”, Well, if he does, Sammy doesn’t see it. He says no.

My friend takes Sammy to school on the days I work. She met Nathan’s dad….one day Nathan introduced Sammy to his dad when they were picking up the kids. This makes me feel slightly better, at least Nathan hadn’t run away from Sammy, screaming for his dad to save him from my son.

I’ve talked about it with my family. I feel bad for Sammy, and I want to make sure he isn’t acting in a way that bothers anyone else. As my family pointed out….I would surely be notified if he was causing any trouble…. but I don’t want him to be the obsessed kid, following someone around all the time. I want him to be the one other people are obsessed with….it’s SO much cooler!

Well, I guess I’ve just got to look at the upside. So far, my son has absolutely NO idea that he is possibly stalking someone.  He’s happy, excited to go to school, and happy to have his super hero Nathan to play with. He’s confident in his choice of friends, and believes his feelings are reciprocated.  I’m GLAD he’s happy.

I’m still going to encourage him to play and get to know the other kids.

This is my first stalking, I don’t know really what else to do.

 

 

 

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Sammy and the moon

My Sammy just turned 4 years old.

He’s always been a funny kid, an inquisitive kid, a very active kid.

Like many kids his age, he talks on his imaginary cell phone, fights all sorts of “bad guys” with super ninja moves all around the house, uses the word “actually” a lot, and asks question after question as he tries to make sense of this place we live.

One day a couple weeks ago, he asked me when the moon was going to talk. I kind of laughed and said I didn’t know the moon COULD talk. He was completely serious, he knew it was going to happen and he believed it was going to happen that night. As soon as it was dark enough for the moon to be “out” all the way.

It just so happened that his dad was home early that night, and took Sammy with him to visit some relatives. They all sat outside and Sammy watched for the moon, still believing “he” was going to talk to everyone if they were just patient. People laughed, commenting to each other “how cute!, he thinks the moon can talk!”

He came home in tears. Devastated. The moon DIDN’T talk.

My husband had played along with him, not realizing how serious it was for Sammy. He didn’t know how to fix this. You can’t just buy a talking moon at Target. Neither of us was prepared for the letdown when his expectation didn’t happen.

He went to bed that night a little broken hearted, the silent moon mocking him from above. (Well, probably not…)

He brought it up the next day, still puzzled. Trying to work it out, as if he just needed to find the right “code word” or perhaps the right sequence of secret hand gestures to release the moons voice.

I felt like he was too serious to play with about this. I wondered if I should be more forceful in telling him that I really, really didn’t think the moon could talk.

A couple nights later, he announced that the moon would talk…..in two days. I don’t know where he got that information, but we all wanted to see where this would go. He mentioned that the moon might even “come down” but he needed to eat all of his vegetables first. Great idea. So the moon is a guy, he will be talking and possibly visiting in 2 days.

It’s funny, because every day since, the answer is still the same; the moon will talk in 2 days. No problem.

Coping mechanism?

I love his imagination. He hasn’t seemed upset since that first night of bitter disappointment, instead the moon talking is always safely “2 days away”. I am sure this is a way his 4 year old mind has dealt with a problem that he just was not able to figure out or fix. I’m not going to worry about him being 30, and creating imaginary solutions to deal with realities that he can’t handle. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to be concerned about that.

Now he’s an expert on the moon, did you know he looks white in the sky because he drinks so much milk?? He doesn’t have parents though, so that’s kind of sad.

I think his mind is amazing. I love it, I love talking to him and hearing his logic. His opinions are based on so many things that may or may not have to do with reality or fact….but they are valid for him. I don’t want to stifle that imagination, I don’t want to force him to think in terms of what’s “normal”….at least not yet.

So I enjoy him and our conversations. About the moon. About painting his toenails, because “mom, I like green, why can’t boys paint their toenails green??” He makes a good point! Why not indeed? And maybe the moon will talk, to a little boy who believes it so much, he might just make magic happen.