Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spidy School

To Infinity and Beyond!
My four year old son wears a costume nearly every day. He started out dressing like a fireman all of the time. R loved that costume so much that he'd wear it in the tub if he could. The thing was really starting to smell. I'm not sure which costume came next but I encouraged it because it gave me a chance to sneak the fire coat into the wash.

Sir R of Train Park guarding
his castle.
It's two years and 20 costumes later. (I'm not exaggerating.) R's favorite is Spiderman. I don't mind that he dresses up. It gives him the confidence he needs to be social. His security blanket. It's the ultimate icebreaker. If anyone says "Hi" he shoots them with his spidy webs. That's considered an acceptable response. At the park the game is automatically implied. The playground turns into Spidy's secret lair, Count Dracula's cave, Captain Hook's ship, Darth Vader's deathstar. The other kids know their rolls and want to play with him. It makes me so proud.

Spidy School
When preschool time came I sat R down and discussed school etiquette including: No costumes. Boy was not happy. When we went to "meet the teacher day" the only question R had was "Why can't I wear a costume?" The teacher smiled grandly, pointed to a big box and said "Not only can you wear a costume but you can wear one of ours if you'd like." And so it started.

On the first day of school, when the teacher called his name during roll, he stood up and announced that his real name was Spider Man. I thought that as soon as R saw that the other kids didn't wear costumes that he'd feel silly and stop. The whole peer pressure thing. Nope, R proved that he doesn't care that he's different.  As time went on all of the kids wanted to sit by him, talk to him, hug him when class was over. He became the most popular kid.
Calling all cars...

When we meet adults the general reaction is playful curiosity. Sometimes they'll humor him with something like "I sure feel safe with a policeman around." Sometimes they react just like the kids do by shouting "You'll never catch me Batman!" followed by maniacal laughter while running out the door at Starbucks.

Even cowboys need cupcakes.
That's why I was FLOORED by the reaction of the parents at school. I quickly noticed that other parents did not want to be paired with me while chaperoning the field trips. I overheard one mother pointing me out to her husband as "that lady who lets her kid wear anything." As if he's running around in his underwear. One mother approached my son while I was standing there and said "Doesn't your mommy do laundry Honey?" I'm ashamed to say that I was too shocked to come up with a witty response. I ended up laughing as I walked away.

I'm still clueless as to what the problem is. Is it that they feel R's a bad influence on their kids? That one can become addicted to costuming and next thing you know there will be princesses, heroes, and villains everywhere? It would almost be like living in a comic book.

There are a few parents who don't mind. They'll talk to me and to R like we don't carry the plague. But overall the parents are not welcoming. But what do I care about what the other parents think of me? Right?