Friday, August 20, 2004

On Heroes and Their Heads

"Hey Daddy! Look at my underwear!" That's Eli 3.0 in megaphone mode, dropping trou at a local eatery to demonstrate, quite conclusively, that his big-boy underwear is totally dry. It's the first accident-free day of his young life. I might drop trou myself, I'm so proud of him. We'll have a family trou-dropping celebration in public. If you see us, keep on walking.

There was a time when I thought I might be a secretive superhero, or at least some kind of sidekick in training, but I think this potty-training thing is going to take a while. Give my regards to Spiderman. If you see Batman, ask him why he drives a car.

Why does he drive a car, anyway? There's something very jarring about a superhero piling into a car. A secret agent, sure, but not a superhero. Shouldn't they fly or leap or bounce or swing or something? This is a grown-up in a bat costume with a sidekick who looks like an action figure. I like Batman, because for a superhero, he's a grinder, but the dude definitely has some issues.

Eli 3.0 has this action figure of a fireman, and on the box it refers to the figure as 'Fire-Fighting Hero,' so his name became 'Hero.' Then, and I'm not sure how it happened, Hero lost his head. For an adult, that's a quick trip to the trash can, but Eli absolutely took it stride. No head? No problem. 'Hero' became 'Headless Hero.' He was still capable of performing all his heroic duties, but he did so without the unnecessary weight of a head.

Several days later, we found the head and it was reattached. In a strange twist, though, Eli has not returned to calling him Hero. Now he is 'Headless Hero With a Head.' Eli has these elaborate and imaginative disaster scenarios involving action figures, rescue vehicles, construction equipment, and mermaids, all starting with "OH NO!" and eventually progressing to "Here comes Headless Hero With a Head!"

This is all part of him forming very specific ideas about what things should be called. This is what happens each time we go to the Wendy's drive-through:
"Eli, what do you want?"
"I want a plain cheeseburger with no cheese."
"So you want a hamburger?"
"No no no! I want a cheeseburger with no cheese."

Try explaining that to the drive-through clerk. Hint: you can't.

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