Playing Sidekick to My Incredible Hulk

Our T has found a kindred spirit in a superhero with anger issues and the irony is not lost on me.

Last week’s loan from the school library was a non-fiction book featuring the green Marvel superhero and we enjoyed reading it over several nights.

I love that reading comics or books inspired by comics is more acceptable now. Letting kids read what interest them help them develop an enjoyment of reading.

T was very engaged and asked great questions about concepts like energy and muscle mass.

I grew up loving superheroes. Comics provided an escape. I loved the X-Men comics, because they provided a metaphor for being different.

I was Batman to T’s Robin for Halloween 2017.

Some saw the X-Men’s plight – living in a world that feared them – as a metaphor for racism, ableism and for me, homophobia.

I am amused that T is interested in the Hulk, a brilliant scientist who struggles with controlling the strong angry monster in him.

Our T is a bright, capable, determined and caring boy full of potential.

Just this Friday, his teacher let us know that he’s very good with counting money.

I saw this when we did a worksheet on Saturday how quickly he did the questions in his head.

Regulating his emotions is challenging. The rude words and anger pop out.

He hasn’t leveled any cities like the Hulk, but the emotional debris his worst moments leave behind can be chaotic and disruptive.

This Sunday morning, I had a fun day all planned. After finishing his work in the morning, we would go on a hike as it was a beautiful day.

He wrote the lower case “M” incorrectly on his worksheet and I asked him to correct it and it triggered a tantrum.

Out came the rude words and the hitting and I had it. I got up and left the table.

T as Venom for Halloween 2019.

Parents caring for individuals with FASD often speak about being their child’s external brain.

To put this in superhero terms, we’re the Alfred to Batman, the Jarvis to Iron Man, the Aunt May to Spider-Man.

No super powers, no backstory, but I somehow keep our Hulk’s life in order.

And today, that external brain needed a break from his chaos. I sat in my room for a few hours.

Later in the afternoon, T and I went for a drive to the Bluffs – far later than I had planned.

During the drive, T talked about how he didn’t like playing Pac-Man because he always lost.

I reminded him it was important to keep trying.

I added his Daddy (the hubby) and I always try and never give up on T, no matter how frustrated he makes us. We never give up, because we love him.

T was silent, which meant he was listening and absorbing it all.

It was a pep talk not just to our superhero, but to myself.

We arrived at the Bluffs and T made a beeline for the ice cream truck and asked for a Spider-Man popsicle.

The ice cream, fresh air and outdoor time was just what we both needed.

21 thoughts on “Playing Sidekick to My Incredible Hulk

    1. Thank you Gary. That is very kind of you. Similarly, your Asgardian God-like devotion to Hawklad is very inspiring!

  1. I’m glad to hear that you still made it out to the Bluffs. Hopefully it wasn’t too busy given the nice weather. It’s tough to stay patient all the time. Even the Alfreds and the Aunt Mays need a break sometimes. P.S. I love the superhero Halloween costumes and that you dress up with T!

    1. Thanks Linda. It was a beautiful day and we’re gonna go back again this weekend.

      PS. We ended up booking camping this summer! So excited to be camping again for the first summer since 2017!

      1. We should have fabulous weather this weekend, which will be perfect for spending time outdoors. That’s very exciting that you booked a campsite for the summer. Where are you going?

      2. Presquile! It’s very close by but it’s been on our radar since our very brief visit in Fall 2020. Can’t wait to explore it further!

      3. What a great park with a fantastic beach. I highly recommend taking a stroll along the Marsh Boardwalk Trail. It’s also nice that it’s not too far of a drive from the city.

  2. Love the superhero theme – and that little Robin costume is so cute!

    Sometimes I feel like when I correct my daughter on something that it’s even more personal to her than if it had been someone else. Like somehow she finds it disloyal or something. It’s hard to be their person and their teacher.

    I’m glad you could get some time alone for a few hours and the Bluff looks awesome. Those pep talks really matter and I love hearing how you handle these things. Nice work, Alfred! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Wynne. I have a side by side picture of T in his Robin costume and me at age 3 in a Robin costume to. Life is full circle for sure!

      And for sure, I can see how the feedback from the parent can feel more personal. Very challenging but necessary to do.

  3. Thanks Ab for this positively uplifting post. Indeed Parents are the sidekicks to our Children, the superheroes. We are there to guide, mold, heal, inspire, motivate, change, keep them grounded and focused. I grew around comics too, and Hulk and X-men are my favorites, Justice league too. I didn’t realize it but as you mentioned comics are a reflection of the truth, fears and concerns of people and society. Hulk is more than ever relevant among those battling with anger and control. To be honest, I’m a Hulk too, and controlling outburst and frustrations are the usual challenges in a society that triggers them yet forced us to just take it all in.

    1. I can definitely tell you grew up loving comics! I see that the same love has transferred over to your son. 😊 He has a very impressive Funko collection! I also grew up loving the Super Sentai series from Japan and all their cartoons. Voltes V was very popular in the Philippines if I recall correctly as a kid.

      I think we all have our inner Hulks and this pandemic has really escalated our triggers. It’s very hard isn’t it, trying to contain it all when sometimes it’s easier just to smash a building down. 😂😂😂 Our kids keep us calm and collected in the long run!

      1. Yes, it is hard to control our inner Hulk and even more annoying is that it seems we are not allowed to express it because it’s disruptive and hostile. I don’t understand society and work rules. So have to channel hulk somewhere like stress eating or going outdoors. Thank God for our Children too because they brighten and calms us when we need it the most. Happy weekend.

  4. I love the Hulk equation and how you are able to take it in stride and walk away without exploding yourself. It takes a lot of self control or a very calm individual…taking that time off and connecting later on the way to the bluff is probably the best think you could have done. I love the Hulk and the Bluffs 😊

    1. Thank you! I do wish I was calmer in my response this weekend but we’re all human. 😆 The emotional regulation is definitely one of the hardest with parenting a child with FASD and some days are particularly challenging. But it’s a new day and week and we’re all doing very well so far. 😊 And yes, the Bluffs are amazing!

  5. That excursion you and T did sounds like what both of you needed. I’m glad you managed to tell T about the importance of perseverance, and I’m happy that he listened. It brings back memories of my much younger self being told by my mom about life lessons. Sometimes I just listened without fully understanding what she really meant. But over the years, I finally got what she said.

    1. Thank you, Bama. It’s very funny looking back at the life lessons we’re told and those moments – and what sticks out particularly as an adult. I’m hoping now that I’m on the other side of things that some things do finally stick and click over time. 😊

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