One constant that seems to have held with Jack over the last few years has been, the cape. Jack loves his Capes and wears them all the time. This little 2012 montage shows that (minus the jumping in the pool shot, but he would have warn it had we let him).
The Super Hero angle really started with Robin, then quickly moved to Batman. His first foray was a dress up day at school. At home he'd wear his mask and cape and watch some cartoons. After a while he had started acting out the title sequence of the Batman cartoon. It was funny to watch.
Jack would insist on wearing his cape everywhere. We'd go to the store, the market, a bike ride, a walk, to the beach, etc he'd want to have his cape on. As much as it was a bit corny he would get the coolest compliments from other adults. "Hey kid, nice cape!" "Are you Batman?" "Wow, superhero kid coming through." Very rarely would I get a second look from a disapproving parent, but I knew that those adults were just refused a cape when they were little, which was probably why they were such judgmental jerks.
Jack would play all kinds of fake-believe (our family word for make believe) games with his cape. Some of the games had nothing to do with super heroes or even the cape. It just became an accessory, like wearing a coat. The picture to the right is him, building a city in our parent's backyard. No need for the cape, or the Robin R but he had it on anyway.
With capes come masks too. We've had Batman, Robin, Darth Vader, Nightwing (yeah, my kid knows how Nightwing is, how cool is that) and more.
Jack has had a few capes over the time. His favorite is still the black and red one. He's added a new shinny one from xmas that has a bat on one side and spiders on the other. He earned a treat at the toy store and purchased another one with lizard spikes on it. Your own mother made him a yellow Robin one one day. The most creative was the one he made himself. The one below that is Jack hanging out with me and my buddies one night when Mama was traveling. He was just hanging, shirtless, having some crackers and juice while we all had a brew or a Tequila... with his cape.
One day Jack had sassed his Mama a bit too much and his cape was taken away. He was heartbroken, how could we he asked. He was told that he needed to respect his Mama and indeed things did get much better quite soon. However, in a fit of what can only be called "Creative Defiance" he set out to make his own cape, and make one he did. With construction paper and tape he fashioned a cape that he wore for over 3 weeks. He even wore it out to the stores. Oh the looks we received that I'm lucky I never saw. While a bit defiant, it was super cute and creative.
I wonder what dress up symbolizes or means for young children. I know that I when I go bike riding there is a large difference between casual dress to some bike specific clothes to even a full on team race kit. When I have my kit on I ride harder, I visualize success on the bike, I'm serious and it helps me enter the zone. I begin to wonder if Jack would do better in school wearing his cape. Would it give him the edge, the focus? Or would he just daydream, like I do, about what it would be like to fly through clouds or lift a bus off the ground.
I guess every kid has something that they latch on to and won't give up. We had our blankies, other kids have a hat they never take off, some kids carry a stuffed animal and so on. At the end of the day I pretty happy that Jack has found a fondness for his super hero cape. Maybe it will help foster a kid that not only quotes Peter Parker's Uncle Ben but also walks the talk. Every parent believes his/her kid is special and capable. Maybe that is why it doesn't phase me at all that my kid likes to wear a cape, because I already think he's a pretty Super Kid.
P.S. Here's a couple of galleries of his best Cape wearing photos and a good video of him dancing to the Batman cartoon theme.