by | Jun 10, 1998 | Parenting, Priorities

My four-year-old son, Caleb, thinks he’s Batman. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t put his Batman suit on and try and make the world a safer place for us to live. It all started this past Halloween when we took him shopping to pick out a costume, and he insisted that he must be Batman. So we bought him a Batman costume for $19.95. It was not the Batman suit of the recent blockbuster movies, with its reinforced armour, and sleeked down aerodynamic look. No, this was the kind that Adam West wore in the TV series some 30 years ago. You know the one where his not so athletic belly sticks out and it looks like he was wearing a pair of tights?

Caleb has used it so much that it is ripped, torn, stained, and won’t even tie around his neck anymore. But the worse the suit has become, the more he has grown to love it. I’m sure that one of our favourite memories, years from now, will be Caleb, throwing his arms and one leg back, pausing dramatically, and then “Whooshing,” into the next room, cape billowing out behind him as he fights crime in our Wisconsin home.

While Caleb is Batman, Connor, his one-year-old brother, is Robin the Boy-Wonder. I don’t think Connor likes being Robin, as it usually means being ordered around, but Caleb makes him his sidekick anyway. The Dynamic Duo run around the house letting bad guys know that crime doesn’t pay, stopping only to let Connor take drinks from his tippy cup when he gets thirsty. We couldn’t find a Robin costume, so Connor has to settle for Caleb’s old hand-me-down Superman outfit from his first Halloween. Don’t anyone dare tell him! He’ll figure it out soon enough…

My son and his alter ego have become inseparable. Two months ago I took him to a birthday party for one of the high school girls I coach in basketball. My wife was gone for four days, and so I took both him and my youngest son Connor to the party with me. Halfway through the night, Caleb disappears upstairs for a few minutes. Suddenly, I look up. There stands my offspring with his hands on his hips, and a smile on his face. Oh yeah…and a very used and abused Batman costume on. He had hidden the suit in his Lego’s bag and smuggled it into the party.

“I’M BATMAN!” He yelled, and then proceeded to run down the stairs to impress the sixteen or so high school girls in the living room below. My players ooohed and aaahhed at him, and then started giggling. When he got to the bottom of the stairs and turned around, the giggling turned into outright laughter.

“Caleb could you turn around for Daddy?”

He turned around for me and I saw right away why the girls had started laughing. The back of his suit was so torn, that his naked buttocks were hanging out.

“Caleb, where is your underwear?” I calmly asked.

“I took it off before we left the house Daddy!” He proudly replied. Then he turned and showed all the girls his bare buns. He looked just like a patient in the hospital who had forgotten to tie the back of his gown. I didn’t know that part of my parental duty was to make sure my offspring had the proper undergarments on before taking him out into public. Anytime my wife leaves me totally in charge of my children, I learn something new.

Caleb didn’t like that the girls continued to giggle at him, so he went upstairs and put his regular clothes back on. But five minutes later he had his suit back on, and was showing his Bat-Buttocks to the world. Finally, I made him go put his clothes back on, before he lost all his dignity, and I my coaching job, for super hero nudity at a team function. Caleb insisted that we let him take his costume on our recent trip to Florida.

While there, we stopped at McDonalds to eat one afternoon so he could frolic on the Play land after lunch. It was a good thing too, because our cuddly Caped-Crusader was needed!

(Suspenseful music)

This little girl is about three levels up on the play tower. She is trapped by fright. She is afraid to go all the way up to the top where the slide starts, and she is also afraid to go back down the way she came. The damsel in distress starts crying! Her distraught mother is trying to coax her down; first with care and concern, and then by threatening to never take her to the McDonalds’ Play land again.

“This happens every time I take you here. I’m never going to take you here again!”

Suddenly our preschool super hero jumps into action. He scales the three flights of Play land tunnel-stairs and finds the young girl in her perilous predicament.

“Hi! I’m Batman! It’s OK! Just follow me up to the slide!”

No response from the stressed-out maiden.

“All right then! Just follow me down the stairs!”

Still no response.

In fact, she is now looking at our son like he is some kind of a Midwest freak show. Finally, Caleb gives up and climbs back down. I’m thinking,

“Of course she didn’t respond to you. You didn’t have your suit on. You can’t expect people to recognize you without your suit on!”

The five-year-old girl finally did get the nerve to go all the way up to the slide. I’m guessing she was fearing a second visit from our budding young hero.

As I have stated in previous writings, Caleb is constantly bugging me to play Batman with him. When I am able to, I play along with him. I would like to tell all of you that I only do it because I love my son and want to spend time with him. Most of the time, this is the reason. However, I was also a four year old who loved to play Batman back in the early 70’s and I must admit that I have as much fun as my boy does.

There is one thing I love to do while we play Batman. It doesn’t matter what villain I am either. Sometimes I am a traditional bad-guy like the Joker or the Penguin. Sometimes I am the tickle-monster, and sometimes he just calls me the daddy-monster. But regardless of what bad-guy role I take, there is one “trick” that every villain plays on him.

In the middle of the “fight” I throw him down on the waterbed, get on top of him, and then plant about a thousand kisses on his face. You should have seen the look on his face the first time I did it. A look of pure shock came over him first. I guess it was the last thing he expected the Joker to do to him. Pretend punches and kicks are something he can deal with. He blocks them or tries to roll out of the way. Pillows sent flying his way can be avoided by ducking…


Kisses from his arch enemy!!??? How does Batman deal with that? There is no kiss repellent on his utility belt! After the look of shock passes, another look takes over his 4-year-old face. A look that could only be described as total and outright BETRAYAL! I am guessing the following thoughts went through his young mind:

“Daddy, how could you. How could you defile something as sacred as playing Batman by kissing me!”

When I planted the last daddy-monster kiss on his chubby cheek, he just laid there looking up at me with that stunned look on his face. He rolled his eyes at me, and then screamed,


Oh, how I laughed…

He has since become smarter in his dealings with my villainous kisses during our Batman sessions. Now, whenever I start to kiss him, he points to the Batman logo on his chest, and shoots a Bat-ray out of it at me.

“I’m turning you back into the Joker, daddy!”

He figures that these lapses back into daddy hood can be reversed by his special Batman powers. I usually play along with him and immediately switch back to the traditional role of the villain, unless I am especially in the kissy mood.

Sadly, the Batman costume has seen its last days. We will be retiring it very soon, and most likely replacing it with a new one. In fact we may look for the suit that is based after the Batman movies of today. And hopefully it will be better made this time. But when we do, I will be taking the old, ripped-up, stained, and worn-out suit, and will be setting it aside in a special place. The special place reserved for magical childhood memories…and for things to show his first girlfriend. (Hee hee).

And while I realize that these precious times with my children are flowing through my cupped hands like water, I know that in the future, I will take the suit out from time to time, and try and recapture the early years of my kid’s lives. When I am done reminiscing, I will place the suit back in its hiding place, but not before rubbing the wetness from my eyes. And I pray the tears that appear there, will be drops of happy remembrance, and not of regret; wishing I had spent more time with my children.

Here’s one last kiss, Batman…

Michael T. Powers
Copyright © 2000 by Michael T. Powers, All rights reserved

The above story is from Michael’s new book: Straight From the Heart: “A Celebration of Life.” To read more of his stories or to get your own autographed copy, visit his web site at: