Tiern has been attracted to the special powers and privileges of superheroes for the past several months. I believe it started, ironically, with the VeggieTales’ “Incredible Vegetables” movie–a take-off of the popular Disney movie, “The Incredibles.”
One of the contenders for Tiern’s Halloween costume this year was Larry Boy; he’ll still dress up in the purple ski hat, yellow shirt, and purple sweatpants we acquired for the possibility.
But really, any superhero will suffice for a period of pretend play. When he spies a costume or figurine, a poster or a signature piece of clothing, or any other hint of superhero characterization while we’re out, he immediately wants to know who is being depicted, what the superpowers are, and whether the hero can fly.
He is especially enamored with those who can fly.
So when Grandma and Grandpa came for Thanksgiving, bringing a Superman cape and a Superman figurine with them, he fully latched onto the Superman persona. We were not allowed to call him anything except “Superman.”
Whenever we tried to use his given name, he would interrupt the conversation before it got started: “I’m not Tiern. I’m Superman. Say ‘Superman.'” He was the only one who consistently remembered who he was.
At one point, I explained to him how I had given him the name “Tiern,” and how I really loved that name. So that was why I kept forgetting, and kept calling him by the name I loved to call him.
He conceded, “Ok. You can call me ‘Tiern.’ But Dadoo still has to call me ‘Superman.'” Even that only lasted for a few hours before I, too, had to switch over to calling him by his superhero identity.
A few days ago, I listened from the other room as Dadoo and Tiern looked online to find out which superheros fly.
“Ok, here we go,” Dadoo announced, apparently finding a source of information. “Superman can fly, Batman, the Green Lantern, …”
At this point Little Miss chimed in, “And BUTTERFLIES can fly!” I’m sure she had her signature wide-eyed look.
Tiern has begun to invent his own superhero personas. When Grandma and Grandpa came to our house, as mentioned before, he became Superman. But immediately previous to their arrival, he was “Phobia.” We had many discussion about what colors Phobia wore, and whether or not he could fly.
These days, he is “Erquist,” inspired perhaps from the name of the powerful sword in the Hobbit, “Orcrist.”
I haven’t heard yet about all of Erquist’s superpowers, but I’m pretty sure he can fly.