All season long I’m going to be sharing my thoughts and stories of my five year old son becoming a third generation Monster Kid. Today I’m going to look at how he first discovered monsters and started down a path I was not aware he had begun.
Unless you have a child of a certain age, you may not be aware of the plethora of kids opening up toys and doing crazy things genre that is prevalent on YouTube. We started with Ryan and then algorithm after algorithm led us to more and more kids. Eventually, we were down the Nerf sub genre. Kids vs parents, aunts, each other, anything up to and most of all including monsters. This is the first monster my son ever watched and I don’t think he’s been the same ever since.
Sure, its a basic costume. Mask and chest piece, probably all bagged together at Spirit, paired with an old flannel and jeans found in the closet. It serves a purpose though. It’s bigger than the two kids, and most importantly – scary.
What I didn’t realize at the time, but what was deep in a five year old’s subconscious, is the appeal of monsters. A year ago he watched The Avengers movie for the first time and it changed everything about him. How he talked, what he was interested in, our shopping trips, and how he played. When we pull up to one of the local playgrounds I have to remind him of the rules – be nice, be respectful, introduce yourself and “no scary Hulk”. He loves to play Hulk – pounding his fists on the ground to smash it then unleashing his mightiest roar. Its amazing to play along with but I never thought about why its so attractive to him.
It could be Hulk, King Kong, Wolfman or any other larger than normal humanoid creature of fantasy. No matter who he pretends to be, the reason is still the same. If I’m bigger I can be in control.
One of the things I swore to do as a parent is to never forget what it’s like to be a kid. I don’t love every show or movie he’s discovered but not once have I said to him that its stupid. I remember adults in my life saying this show or that cartoon is the dumbest thing they’ve ever seen. The only effect it had is causing me to feel shame in what I enjoy. I never want him to feel that way.
Another thing to remember is how he thinks now is the best he can think right now. I can’t take my brain at 40 and impose it on his 5 year old mind. There is no point in explaining the duality of man vs monster or the lunar cycle to him. While I find even greater love of these geeky topics the older I get and the more I can dig into them that doesn’t mean his child level love of the same things is any less valid. Where I have a need to understand why this character means something over the years and what the underlying psychology says about society – he needs something too. He needs that fantasy of being bigger.
The monsters that interest him the most are the ones that loom large over normal humans. Much like his parents, teachers, and any one else in charge are giants to him. He has to go when we tell him – to school, to the store, to where ever. If he wants something its only with permission. If something is broken there’s a chance a time out is following. But not for a monster. People run away from monsters. They can take what they want when they want. They don’t need anyone to drive them anywhere, just walk their giant feet over in moments. He wants to be a violent (within safe limits) little monster “attacking” us and scaring away everyone and feels some sense of pride. Like Kong looking over his land. I’m the one standing, I’m the king here, I am in control.
With this in mind I’m keeping an even more open mind to all that he watches and why these things are appealing to him. It gives me …. Goosebumps.
This blog along with so many others are part of the Countdown to Halloween. Head over to the main site to discover many great blogs talking about this season.