Batman. Superman. Spiderman. They have become the centre of Jackson’s world.
For awhile I was able to say to my four-but-yearning-to-be-five year old “I don’t know any five year old that would behave like that!” when he was starting to act up. Good behaviour would immediately follow. Sadly, the authority behind these words and the absolute control they empowered me with was quite short lived. But, like all parents, I was on the lookout for what else I could add to my arsenal.
I found it in our superhero friends.
I was on my own with both kids one evening for a neighbourhood meeting. Since we are the only ones on the street with kids (and it was around their bedtime) I was just a tad nervous that they would exhibit the monster behaviour that is typically reserved for behind closed doors. Thus, I packed a bag with a few keep-busy toys and looked up the signs for Superman, Batman and Spiderman.
Jack loved learning the signs and, even better, he was completely oblivious that I would soon be testing my new behaviour modification tools.
Both Jack and Lily were wonderful. Lily curled up in my lap for much of the meeting – at one point she turned, signed ‘thank you’ and gave me a kiss when I handed her something. That’s right: Bizarro Lily. Jackson was quietly drawing for the most part and when he did need to communicate he either whispered or signed.
As Jack pointed, he leaned over and whispered in my ear “Can I go sit in that chair?”. I nodded my approval but as he got close the realization was upon him that the chair was surrounded by not very familiar adult faces. He turned to me with a ‘come with me’ plea in his eyes. By simply reminding Jack through sign (“‘you’re Batman”) that he IS a superhero and didn’t need to be afraid, his nervousness disappeared and up on the chair he went. The sign for Superman also came in very handy but in a ‘Superman wouldn’t do that’ sort of way.
Signing with hearing preverbal babies can be a powerful parenting tool. Not only does it reduce frustration for both baby and adult because babies can communicate their needs and wants but it also allows you to see the light bulb moments that you might not be privy to otherwise. However, I never would have thought that the powers of signing would still be evident as Jackson nears five! I’m still amazed that we were able to get through the evening with minimal interruptions and, more incredibly, without my getting frustrated!
Unfortunately my arsenal is still practically empty for Lily. I have to start Googling…