Thursday, April 23, 2015

Liking The Bad Boys

"I'm naughty," my son says to me, though he has done nothing wrong.

I try to dissuade him of this, idea.  Despite being three years old and constantly driving me nuts - he isn't naughty in any real way.  I don't want him to think otherwise. But his comment gets me thinking about "normal."  I realize "normal" is a moving target for a 3 year old.  But is it truly normal for a child to associate with the naughty characters from every show we watch?

Pitch from the Guardians, The Green Witch from Oz, the Jester from Legends of Oz.  Mega Mort and Power Pants Pete from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  Heck, for a while he was fascinated with Jacob Marley from the Mickey Mouse version of A Christmas Carol, until he realized it scared the bejesus out of him and gave him nightmares. If we watch a movie or show with a bad guy in it, you can assume Liam will take to role playing the naughty character.  We watched The Incredibles the other day, and with a roster of really cool "good" guy characters with awesome talents to choose from, he picks... Syndrome.

Is he going to be a master criminal or worse, some kind of serial killer?

He has what I can only describe as his maniacal laugh that he clearly thinks signals his status as the naughty guy.  He can often be found telling his "winged monkeys" to "fly, fly, fly" in the mode of the Wicked Witch from Wizard of Oz.  He revels in being tricky and what passes for mischievous for a three-year old.

How much does he favor the naughty character?  Well, he has this stuffed Smurf that used to be his mother's toy.  He has never seen the animated show, and has not seen more than short clips from the movie.  Despite having no familiarity with the characters, he loves the Smurf so much.  He sleeps with it every night, gets out of bed holding it, and takes it with him to play.  But the other day he was asking me about the Smurf's name.  This was right after nap and I was holding him as we went downstairs.  We talked and I got around to explaining the Smurfs and their lives and how their names relate to their distinct identities.  Maybe we could name this one Candy Cane Smurf, since he is holding, you know, a candy cane.  Then I explained Gargamel was the naughty person in the show.
"Jimmy was the kind of guy
that rooted for bad guys in the movies."

It no sooner fell out of my mouth when I realized what I had done.

Liam snaps his head around.  I tried to back track.  I tried reversing time.  I tried hitting Control Z on the entire thing, but that never works.  He looks me in the eye and says "I like Gargamel."  Of course he likes the naughty character.  A naughty character from a show he has never seen, mind you.

He came to this behavior honestly, as far as I can tell, because I remember rooting for Cobra to defeat G.I. Joe when I was younger.  I always
had a soft spot in my heart for Skeletor over He-Man.  Maybe it was the contrarian in me, maybe I can relate to the outsider/loner, or maybe the flawed, evil characters just seemed more real, I'm not sure.

But what does it all mean?  Is my kid destined to be a bully?  Is he destined to be an outsider?  I mean, there is that line in Goodfellas where Henry says "Jimmy was the kind of guy that rooted for bad guys in the movies."  Jimmy, of the "Do I amuse you" line; Jimmy, the guy who shoots the teenage bartender; Jimmy, who loses his mind and bar stomps the mafia guy and ends up getting killed as a result.  Is that my kid?

Because, as my wife will tell you, I've never really had a good grasp on what is acceptable in social situations.  Its not that I have some phobia, social situations just aren't a strong point or area where I shine.  That makes life infinitely harder.

And while I've done OK and I'm fine with it, I don't want that for my kid.



  1. Ah! Nothing to worry about as kids are kids and in the end they turn out exactly how they are supposed to be! :)

  2. Thanks! Yeah, I'm a big believer in the whole "kids grow up to be what their genes want them to be," but its hard to see the big picture sometimes.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Until he was seven my eldest son wanted to be an evil mad scientist, he too was fascinated by all the bad guys and thought they were great. He's almost nine now and hasn't voiced these thoughts for a while so I think we are both okay. Of course he still may be secretly planning to take over the world! Thanks for linking up with #MultipleMadness x

  4. Thanks for stopping by, Katie! Good to know its not just mine.