Friday, December 18, 2015

Holiday traditions

So yesterday afternoon I picked up my kids from daycare, and although it's only a five or ten minute drive home after that, sometimes that can be a seriously fraught interval, replete with tears and screaming and all manner of freakout. But on the occasion in question, the kids were all in good moods, and none of those moods involved, for instance, one of them crooning nonsense at the top of their lungs until the other siblings got their calm massively damaged (aka the little girl's go-to move lately). I think it may have something to do with the approach of Christmas, not so much the whole "better watch out" morality enforcement (we do still have the Elf on the Shelf on patrol for the month, but rarely do we need to draw attention to his powers to inform back to the Fat Man and diminish potential gift hauls) but simply excitement and general holiday season happiness. Which is nice.

Anyway, once we got to our neighborhood the kids were contentedly staring out their windows at the displays of Christmas lights and idly commenting on them. The bino started unobnoxiously singing "Jingle Bells". That, in turn, inspired the little guy to break into a rousing chorus of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells".

Which was not a song I knew that the little guy knew! I have tried over the years not to betray the fact that my oldest child's relative disinterest in comic books and superheroes is distressing to me, but I'm sure I haven't been entirely successful in hiding something so self-evident. It's weirdly reassuring that he at least knows who Batman and Robin are, enough to find that particular bit of festive doggerel amusing; indeed, he was giggling his fool head off by the time he finished singing. We've come a long way from "Who's Chewbacca?" (and in point of fact he now knows exactly who Chewbacca is since he has seen Star Wars and Empire and, true to form once he gets into something, is now fairly obsessed with Star Wars. But that's a topic for a whole slew of separate posts.)

It also warmed my heart just to know that the dumb playground chants of my childhood are alive and well as part of the modern elementary school oral tradition. When I asked the little guy where he had heard that song, he told me it was one of his friends in his second grade class, and that in fact he had just picked it up from her that very day. Interestingly enough, the lyrics had changed ever so slightly over the intervening thirty-odd years. Rather than ending on "and the Joker got away" the little guy sang "and the Joker learned ballet." I shared this tidbit with my wife just this morning, and we both agreed that this probably reflected the fact that we've gone through quite a cultural shift, particularly in the 21st century. We used to romanticize outlaws and see the idea of a bad guy on the lam as not terribly troubling. However, the Joker is a straight-up psychopathic murder clown, and if he gets away he will surely kill and kill again. But this generation of seven-year-olds is having none of that! He may indulge in a surprising new dance hobby, but he will not escape justice.

(The ol' bliggity-blog isn't quite dead yet, and as you can see, all five members of my family household are still alive as well! Perhaps I will make a New Year's Resolution to put up posts here more frequently and to elaborate on everyone's current status, but for now suffice to say we're all well enough, keeping on keeping on.)

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