For as long as I can remember, I've been a sci-fi aficionado, with a particular affinity for superheroes/heroines. As a child, I remember dressing up in my favourite home-made superhero costume, jumping up and down on my parent's king size bed and kicking the living daylights out of imaginary villains. And I've sprained many a joint as well, throwing uncomfortable round-house kicks and falling from the high wall of my compound. Despite my numerous injuries, none of which were imaginary by the way, I retained my dedication to all these costumed superstars.
I even remember the phase where I secretly hoped that my parents were some sort of retired superheroes who were maintaining normalcy (and secrecy) to shield me from a mega-villain. I tried to dig up records that might confirm my suspicions in a short-lived tenure as the household's Sherlock Holmes but finally resigned to the fact that my parents were just normal human beings. (I know, how boring right?) And that I had no superpowers. Except the ability to fart and burp at the same time. Oh, and the superpower to put on weight by just looking at food. Anyway, I digress.
We too deal with 3ft-tall arch nemeses who are constantly up to mischief and forever looking for ways to destroy the peace of the planet that is our home.
As I grew up, I had more sense knocked into me, and I started putting down my obsession with superheroes as one of the side effects of being a single child (I had plenty of imaginary friends, too). Fast forward to the present. I am now a proud papa to an amazingly active and naughty toddler, who is the main source of inspiration for most of my parenting posts. And over the course of the past year, I've discovered that I've had some superhero-esque traits, all along. I just had to become a parent to release them.
Now before you go about picturing me with my underwear over my jeans or trousers, let me make one thing clear. The only similarity between Superman's costume and mine is that there are times when the waistband of my boxers tends to play peek-a-boo over my jeans. But that's where the costume similarity ends.
As for the powers, yes, I have found that we, and I mean parents, definitely have a few similarities with superheroes.
1. Superhuman strength and stamina
Now, I'm not what you'd call "fit". So, having to often run after this little toddler of mine is something that makes me huff and puff like the big bad wolf in The Three Little Pigs. But surprise, surprise -- I've discovered that I not only have the ability to carry my toddler son in one arm, but also a set of heavy grocery bags in the other and run after public transport too. As parents, we can often go for a whole day, or even more, without taking rest, just powered by pure adrenaline. After all, looking after an active toddler means having to spend a lot of time on our feet. Because you can be assured that the moment we decide to put up our feet to rest is when something will go drastically wrong.
Nothing ever escapes our vision and we are constantly on the lookout for trouble, no matter which hideous form it might take.
2. Superquick reflexes, alertness and the "need for speed"
Parents are always alert. After all, there is a crawling/walking/running/tip-toeing mini-bomb waiting to go off the moment we look away. But not on our watch. And this alertness manifests itself as an ability to react to the slightest change in the blink of an eyelid. Like, when they're on the swing, we know the exact moment when they're about to jump off. Not to mention the incredible power of hearing that we have, when our toddler is not within our eyesight. Oh yes, we parents can give "Mr Spidey" a run for his buck with our ability to suddenly dive to catch a toddler falling from the bed or from above the table, and the capacity to duck high-impact flying objects, such as a sippy cup or sometimes even the mushy food that we just stuffed into their mouth. Of course, not to mention the speed with which we have to chase them around the house to make them eat or get them to do stuff. Even, "The Flash" would be so proud.
3. Nothing ever misses our eye
Unlike the Man of Steel, whilst we may lack the synonymic X-Ray vision, when it comes to our child, we notice everything. And when I say everything, I mean quite literally, everything. Nothing ever escapes our vision and we are constantly on the lookout for trouble, no matter which hideous form it might take.
4. The power of super-jumps (and occasional flights)
Having a toddler in the house is like being in a metropolitan city, but without the beauty of the architecture. Regardless of our toddler's tastes, or our intentions to keep the house spotless, we will invariably find buildings and objects of varying shapes and heights littered across every room. Though it mostly doesn't cause us much harm, every now and then we may feel a stiff pain when our feet connect with these lovely objects. And soon, we too learn to jump over buildings and obstacles. Particularly Lego blocks.
We too learn to jump over buildings and obstacles. Particularly Lego blocks.
5. The smarts to outwit a cunning nemesis
Battling cunning, smart scientists is in a day's work for a superhero. Here again, we are very similar in that aspect. We too deal with 3ft-tall arch nemeses who are constantly up to mischief and forever looking for ways to destroy the peace of the planet that is our home. The only difference is that ours are way too cute for us to be angry with them for long.
Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list. Each child is unique and poses different challenges and thus triggers different superpowers in the parents. Whatever the situation, each parent plays superhero all day, every day... well, maybe bar the costume.
On second thoughts, I might look into investing in a costume. A six-pack sounds fancy.
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