Sunnyisms for a Cloudy Day: Superhero Edition

My eight-year old, Sunny, has a way of confounding expectations in the best possible way.

It’s her superpower.

Super Iron Sunny

 

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All’s Fair in Love and Goldfish

During the Morning commute:

“We had a lot of fun at recess this week, Mommy.”

“What are you doing?  Playing superheroes?”Goldfish Crackers

“No.  We’ve been getting married.”

“All of you?”

“Pretty much.  Yesterday, Jennie married Gavin and Melissa married Jack.”

“With actual ceremonies?  Or just cake?”

“The church words.  We take turns saying the awfully married wife stuff.”

“And the boys are okay with this?”

“Not always.  We had to tackle Colin.”

“Did you get in trouble?”

“No.  The groom gets half the bride’s snack after recess, so they’re usually okay with it once they’re caught.  It’s just, Colin doesn’t like peanut butter crackers, so he wanted to marry me instead of Sophie.”

“Did you accept his proposal?”

“No way!  I like goldfish crackers way too much to get married!”

ooooooooooOOOOOoooooooooo

A recent triumphant shout from the bathroom:

“Once again, the Toilet Paper of Justice has wiped the Butt of EEEEeeevil!”

Paper

(Wouldn’t that make a terrific Proctor & Gamble ad?)

ooooooooooOOOOOoooooooooo

Super Mom

For Mother’s Day, I received this poster:

It reads:

My Mom is great.  My Mom is cool. My Mom is better than any Mom on earth.

My Mom can do anything!  My Mom is as smart as a stegosaurus which has two brains.

My Mom can’t lose.  My Mom is the best.  I love my Mom because she snuggles like a pro.

My Mom is a SUPERHERO.

On the next page, there’s a form reporting that I’m as strong as a hippo,
as smart as the aforementioned stegosaurus
(no mention that the stego’s second brain is installed in the rear),
brave as a mountain lion,
And that I have the Power to Snuggle.

My only weakness?

Work.

Yeah, I teared up.  This kind of thing is pure kryptonite.

 ooooooooooOOOOOoooooooooo

Bad Mommy

I tucked Sunny in last night at she wanted a snuggle, so I climbed in.

“Ow!” I said, shifting to extract an Elsa doll, a transformer ball, a Dr. Who My Little Pony, three books, a flashlight, an empty bottle of bubble solution, two Pokemon figurines, and a handful of sharp-edged Legos.

“You have an awful lot of non-sleeping stuff in this bed,” I said, dropping everything all over the side.

“Mommy!” Sunny said, “You’re getting my room all messy!”

Sunny Comp

Sunny is Eight

Sunny is 8

As I gave Sunny her bedtime hug last night, I told her that it was a little sad to think that this was the last time I would be the mother of a seven year-old.

“Unless you have another baby,” she said.

“The very last time,” I replied, hugging her a little tighter.

“Mom! Can’t! Breathe!” she said, then giggled like a hyena-loon hybrid and kissed my ear.

She was so excited to be almost eight that she couldn’t settle down. “It’s okay, Mommy. I know how to sleep-wiggle!” she said.

Sunny Getting Down

I would have called her on it, but she might be right. This kid never walks—she dances and bounces and skips and jumps over all the cracks she can so my back doesn’t get hurt.

Super Sunny3She loves superheroes and dogs—the last time we went to the Family Museum, she bought two little dog figurines with Her Own Money and named them Connor and M’gann.  When I asked her where she’d found those names, she rolled her eyes and said, “After Superboy and Miss Martian from Young Justice.  Duh, Mom.”

Super Sunny has pledged her allegiance to DC, but still cuddles up to watch Agents of SHIELD with me and has Opinions about the Marvel Universe.  She thinks Tony Stark is a hoot, but Captain America needs a secret identity.

And that the Hulk needs a hug.

Super Sunny ReadsShe also loves to read. A few months ago, I found her in the bathroom, standing naked from the waist down with a wad of clean toilet paper in her hand, lost to the world in the open book on the counter.  She’d apparently hopped off the commode, glanced at a page, and immediately forgotten where she was in the proceedings.

“She’s yours, all right,” my mother told me, after she stopped laughing.

She’s also a Wesson.  Last week, at dinner, she passed more gas, loud and prolonged, than a non-parent would think could be held in a body that small.

“‘Scuse me!”  she said, calmly.  And then, as her older sister fell off her chair cackling, and the adults around the table tried to gather themselves to explain proper protocol without doing the same, Sunny nodded to herself in satisfaction and said, “I have very good manners.”

It’s no surprise that she was due on April Fool’s Day and then tricked us all into throwing her a birthday party a day early, by doing an unexpected, last-minute somersault in utero.

Come to think of it, that’s probably what she was trying to do last night, as I tucked in my seven year-old, one last time.

 Happy birthday, Sunny-girl.

We love you.

Even your sister.

When Janie Met Sunny

Super Sunny and the Role Models

Super Sunny3

Those aren’t bunny slippers. They’re supersneakers!

Sunny loves superheroes.

She reads superhero comic books and graphic novels.

She watches Young Justice, Teen Titans, and Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes  on YouTube and  Justice League Unlimited with her father.

She loves live action superhero shows and movies, too.

She hasn’t outgrown her Super Sunny bedtime stories, either.

And at recess, she plays superheroes with her friends. She’s Flash’s daughter.

I asked her why, and she said they had decided to be superkids, because there weren’t enough girl superheroes that anyone wanted to play.  Her friend Kira had called being Wonder Woman’s daughter.

“I didn’t care, though, because I want to run, and Kira says Wonder Girl wears these high-heeled boot things like her mother, which you can’t run in. That’s why she flies, I guess.  Flash Girl can’t fly, but she wears supersneakers. If I wanted to fly, I could be Hawk Girl, um, Girl . . . but that sounds weird. Plus, we aren’t allowed to hit stuff at school and that’s all Hawk Girl does.

This is a great attitude, but it also made me think about female superheroes as role models.

Traditionally, one would be forgiven—if not entirely correct—for thinking that the majority of female superheroes were originally created or significantly modified by artists who were into silicon-based porn and also extreme wish-fulfillment.

Some of them also maybe didn’t like or understand women that much, either, outside of some clichéd, stereotypical roles, which were the norm at the time, so perhaps they might be forgiven, too.

Times have changed, though, and are also changing for female supes, too, sort of. People are starting to question the the plausibility of a universe in which all female supes and mutants are equipped with incredibly strong Cooper’s ligaments and supporting back muscles—or localized anti-gravity powers over their upper torsos—paired with the inherent ability to keep their nipples (or whatever those things are on non-mammalian-based species) almost covered with whatever is passing for a costume, even while doing the MMA version of twister.

The Hawkeye Initiative  in particular has brought attention to the differences between the way men and women supes are depicted on covers (and other comic-based art), simply by putting the decidedly male superhero Hawkeye (or his bros) in the costume and position of the woman in the original.  It’s surprisingly effective and intentionally hilarious.*

But we’re still in a strange time when female supes are allowed to be smart, strong, and deadly but are still being drawn or dressed in tight leather catsuits or body paint and using sex to sell their stories—and their “action” figures.

And now that the holiday gift giving season is coming around, I’m looking for superhero stuff for our tiny superhero that will let her play without marginalizing her—or giving her a head start on the body issues that the fashion industry will start giving her any minute now.

Luckily, her Aunt Watson is on it.

A week ago, my SIL sent me sent me an article from Time Magazine about a new kind of female superhero, based on the actual proportions of a real human woman.

Whoa.

Not only can these figures do anything a male action figure can do—like sit with their knees together, because their hips work as nature intended instead of what plastic can force them into—but they aren’t locked into backstories or ready-made storylines, either.

They’re power based female superheroes who can be whomever the kids imagine them to be.

When I showed them to a friend who has almost given up finding super figures who match her children’s racially-mixed identities, she said, “Even their skin tones can be any shade you want!”

iamelementals
Bravery, Energy, Honesty, Industry, Enthusiasm, Persistence, Fear

These are the kinds of superhero role models** I want for my kid. Because she will essentially—elementally?—making her own.  The website even asks kids to send in elementalselfies to proclaim their own powers.

I bought the whole set the same day. I almost bought two, but my husband assured me that Sunny would let me play with hers.

Eventually.

I hope so—I could use a role model or two, myself!

An interesting two-part YouTube interview with the creators is here and here.

_______________

*The fantastic and utterly flexible Jim C. Hines did the same challenge—personally—for fantasy covers depicting women in anatomically suspect poses. The poses are hilarious, but it’s his description of the effort and pain involved that really drives the (pressure) point home.

** With the exception of Fear, maybe, though you can’t really have Bravery without her, right?

 

The Bedtime Adventures of Super Sunny: Superhero Birthday Party!

About three in the afternoon, after Sunny has returned from a costume-themed birthday party and has worked off a truly epic Hulk-colored cupcake by bouncing off the walls like a chocolate powered gas-molecule in a Supergirl costume:

“Mommy?  I want a made up story tonight for bedtime.”

“All right.  Thanks for telling me and please stop jumping on the couch.  What should the story be about?”

“I don’t know yet.”

“Okay, tell me when you do and put Toby down, please, honey.  Cats don’t like to pretend to fly.”

“Like elephants?”

” . . . Sure.”

“Oh.  Sorry, Toby.”

_________

Four hours later:

“I want a made-up story, Mommy, remember?”

“Sure.  You know what you want?”

“Quack and Peep.  The episode where they—”

“That’s not a made up story.  That’s telling a tv show.”

“Oh.  Then can I have a superhero story?  No, wait—a superhero birthday story!”

“Okay, um . . .  Once there was a superhero called Super Sunny.  She was five years old—”

“Five and a half.

“Sorry.  Five and a half.  And she had curly pigtail hair.  Super Sunny had been invited to Captain Eamon’s sixth birthday party.  She would have flown over but her Mommy drove her instead.”

“Because she didn’t know her kid was a superhero, right?”

“Right.  Parents never know.  So she gave her present to Captain Eamon, who promised not to look at it with his X-ray vision—”

“What’s that, Mommy?”

(pause for explanation that did not include a discussion of the societal and school rules about the displaying and viewing of underwear until Janie decided to help)

” . . . So, Captain Eamon’s Mommy asked Super Sunny to help with blowing up the balloons while she went inside to decorate the cake—”

“No, cupcakes!”

” —the cupcakes.  And since there weren’t any parents around, Super Sunny used her super breath to blow up all the balloons so they floated . . . Did you brush your teeth?”

“Yes.  See?   <Hwoof>.”

“Okay—ugh, why did I buy you Berry Mint toothpaste?  Never mind.  All the balloons were up and the rest of the super guests started to arrive.  There was BatSophia and Ninja Jack and Optimus Daniel and Spider Tommy and MegaTyler and Bumble-Ryan and . . . uh . . . Jedi Jared, who is Captain Eamon’s big brother.  Was that all?”

“Melissa, but she didn’t have a costume.”

“And Melissa, who came in her secret identity. Right?”

“Right!  Good one, Mommy!”

“Thanks.  So all the super guests played Rescue the Scientists and stick the Bad Guys in the Jail Cell when all of them heard someone calling . . . ?”

“Help, Help!”

“So they all told their parents they had to go potty or get a drink and Jedi Jared said he’d help them, because he’s older.  So he led them through the house to the front yard and all the ones who could fly picked up the ones who couldn’t and they all took off to see who was in trouble.”

“And Melissa was very heavy.”

“But Super Sunny is very strong so it worked just fine.   And they all saw that a train was rushing towards a bridge over the river—but the middle of the bridge was gone!  And the train couldn’t stop!

“Seriously, Mom?  That’s the best you can do?”

“Janie, shush!  This is my story.   Tell it, Mommy!”

“So Captain Eamon held onto the end of the bridge and Super Sunny grabbed his ankles and BatSophia grabbed hers and so on until they made two lines of superheroes over the gap in the bridge—

“Even Melissa?”

“Yes, because she’s a superhero, too, even without her cape.”

“Then why did I fly her all the way to the bridge?”

“Maybe you were being nice?”

“Or maybe she can’t fly—like BatSophia.  Why can’t she fly?  She’s a bat.”

“It’s her symbol, honey—she’s not really a bat.”

“Yeah.  Bats aren’t pink.

“Thank you Jane.  So. . . all the superheroes held on very, very tight to each other and the wheels of the train rode right over them and everyone was saved.”

“We did it!”

“Yep.  And they decided that they had such a good time working together that they’d schedule lots of playdates so they could help more people.”

“Good.  I want a playdate with Ninja Jack.  He has a Playstation.”

I’ll call his Dad tomorrow.  Meanwhile,  back at the bridge, Jedi Jared called the police on his cell phone and stayed behind to make sure no one else tried to cross.   Everyone else went back to Captain Eamon’s backyard and had cupcakes bigger than their heads.”

“Mine was green!”

“Yes, all the cupcakes were decorated with made up superhero flags, and all the real superheroes thought that was really funny and  laughed and laughed and wouldn’t tell their parents why.  And they all had a very good time. The End.  Good-night, honey.”

“And we saved one for Jedi Jared.”

“Right.  The End.”

“Mommy?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you know I’m really a super hero?”

“Yes, but I can keep a secret.  Right, Jane?”

“I guess—unless it’s going in the blog.”

“Oh.  Whoops.”

“Mooomeee!”

The Bedtime Adventures of Super Sunny: The Great Penguin Rescue (or ‘Snot Funny, Janie)

 Sunny has had a tough couple weeks—she had a double ear infection and has had a bad case of the ick the last four days. 

The bedtime before last, she was stuffed-up,  cranky, overnapped, and just a tad hyped on Children’s Tylenol.   We had books, back rubs, a song, and two drinks of water—but she wasn’t interested in sleeping or staying in bed.

So I brought out the big guns.

___________________

 “Super Sunny is a superhero who is . . . ”

(Snerk, sniff, cough)  “Five years old.”*

“And has . . . ”

“Curly pigtail hair.  Like me.”

“Right.  One day, Super Sunny was in bed with a terrible cold.”

“And a feber.”

“And a fever.  But her ears weren’t infected so she still heard someone say . . . ”

“Help (cough) help!”

“So she slooowly got out of bed and put on her bunny slippers and her robe—“

“An’ a tissue.”

“And lots of tissues. And flew slooowly around trying to find the one who was calling for help because she was really tired.”

(Yawn) “And she found a penguin.  Like on her robe.”

“Just like on her robe.  It was a small penguin and the piece of ice it had been standing on had broken off and carried it away from its family.  And it couldn’t swim back because there were walruses in the water who might eat him—”

(from the other side of the room) “Not walruses, Mom.  Seals.”

“Are you sure, Jane?”

“Is this the Antarctic?”

“Uh.  I guess so.”

“Then it’s seals.  And sea lions.”

“Okay.  There were seals in the water—”

“And sea lions.”

“And—”

“Janie, this is my story!”

“Jeez, sorry. I was just trying to help.

“But it’s my story—“

“So anyway, it wasn’t safe for the little penguin to swim home.  But Super Sunny couldn’t pick up the penguin to fly it back, because she was sick and didn’t have any super strength left—and penguins are heavy and slippery and really cold on the outside.  She thought about flying to find a tree to make a paddle or something, except she was sooo tired . . .  when suddenly her nose tickled.”

“Uh-oh!”

“And she said, Ah, Aaaah, Aaaaaaaaah, AAAAAAAAHHHHH . . . ow.  No sneeze.”

“Mommy!”

“She turned to look out at the ocean and thought about sticking her feet in the water and kicking, like you learned to in swim class, except the water was freezing and

AH-CHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”

(Story paused for much giggling and unwarranted accusations of scaring small children on purpose, Mommy—and a coughing fit)

“And Super Sunny’s super sneeze blew that piece of ice across the water so fast that the little penguin freaked out and flapped its flippers and screamed, Aaaaaaaauuugggghhhh!!!

(Story paused so two children could pretend to be freaked-out penguins and laugh
—and one could have a coughing fit)

“And the ice hit the land so hard that the penguin and Super Sunny flew through the air and knocked over all four hundred penguins who were waiting there, just like bowling pins. And every single penguin looked up at the sky and said, Bless you.”

(Very long pause for howls of laughter, reenactments, and to work out exactly what four hundred penguin voices would sound like if they said Gesundheit instead)

“And the Emperor Penguin gave Super Sunny a handkerchief to blow her nose—”

“‘Cause she had lots of snot.”

” . . .Okay, yeah, but yuck.  And she flew home very slooowly and took off her slippers and her robe and got into bed—“

“She went potty first.”

“Good idea.  Do you have to?”

“No.”

“Sure?”

“Yes.”

“All right.  And Super Sunny snuggled into bed just as her Mommy came in to check on her.  Where did you get that handkerchief with the capital P in the corner?  And why are you hands so cold? she asked.  But Super Sunny was already asleep.  And you should be, too.  Good night.”

“I’ll bet when she woked up in the morning, her bed was full of snot.”

“This isn’t a snot story, sweetie.  It’s a Super Sunny bedtime story.  Go to sleep now.”

(from across the room) “Super Snotball story.”

“Jane-eee.  Super Sunny isn’t a snotball! She’s a superhero girl.(Sniff, cough, snerk)

“Sorry.”

“Good night, both of you.”

“Night, Mommy.”

“Night, Mom.”

“Mommy?”

Yes, sweetie?”

“I do hafta go potty.”

________________

Image of Super Sunny doodled by me during a meeting a few weeks ago**  on an old pocket card:

And, no, those weren’t meant to be bunny slippers, but I’ll concede the point.

The rest of the images courtesy of Microsoft.

________________

*Or, actually, “Fibe years ode.”  Please for to imagine the rest of Sunny’s end of the conversation as if it was spoken without any help from a massively congested, tiny, neon-pink nose.  Because it was.

**While at the same time listening very carefully, I swear, to why it’s imperative that we put pink indicator dots on the lower right side of the flyleaf labels while RFID tagging, with the following exceptions. . .