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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mama's Super-Cape

We love super-capes in our house. Son has a fantastic one courtesy of his Nana. It's a bright tomato red, made from a weighty fabric and cut on a circle so that it swirls around him when he runs. And, of course, it has a black medallion on it with his first initial emblazoned in gold. Daughter has one that was initially an infant present. A deep heathery purple color, hand knitted, with a hood, it started as a blanket cozy. It looks more like a Little Lavendar Riding Hood cape, if you ask me, but the kids are quite happy to call it Daughter's super-cape. And just the other day, Daughter pointed excitedly to something in my closet and announced forcefully, "Mama Soup-a-Cape!" She was indicating my new Christmas bathrobe--full, plush and very red, no doubt, but a bathrobe nonetheless.

Now, anyone who has seen The Incredibles, knows a few things about being "super."
(1) The real mom super power is the ability to stretch without limit--arms that can always catch a falling child, no matter how far away child is when she starts to fall, laps that can accommodate all the children who need to sit in them, patience without bounds. (Actually, we might have known this without watching the movie, but Mrs. Incredible makes it so perfectly literal.)
(2) Capes are a detriment. (If you don't know why, watch the clip from the movie, below.)

And yet, here we are with super-capes in our house. So I've been trying to figure out if is mine is an asset or a detriment. Things I've managed to do in this super-cape lately include: sorting tall piles of laundry in a single bound, using my x-ray vision to tell who started the fight in the next room, exercising my super-sense to know when someone who was completely silent was getting into trouble upstairs, carrying 73 pounds of overtired children up to bed in one trip, snatching a very ill fish back from the brink of death, and relying on my bionic hearing to let me know that the child who'd gone potty had forgotten to wash his hands.

Did the cape materially facilitate my success? Decidedly not. Did it hinder it? Only in terms of how sexy I looked doing all these things. I can't decide if wearing my robe until 2pm is the mama equivalent of being sucked backwards into a jet engine, but I think it might be.

Many days, I think to myself, "Self, you have the right to look nice, and put together, and grown-up, and not like someone afflicted with the flu who doesn't have the energy to get dressed." And so I try.

Other days, I wonder, if I lose the uniform, do I dilute the power? I will admit that, deep down, despite the ways it makes me look like a shiny, lumpy, stuffed, cozy, velvet lobster, I'm loathe to ditch the robe. I have a sneaking feeling that the number of years during which my children will think that I am all things Super has a limit. And I want to savor this a little. Besides there is something delightful about punctuating housework with bursts of flying through the house, swooshing over the mountains of dishes, and laughing with the kids at the bad guys. And since no one at work seems to be handing out capes lately, I think on the days I'm home, I'll parade around as Super-Mama for a little while longer.


MIQuilter said...

Seriously, I would wear a super cape EVERY DAY if I thought Husband wouldn't think I'd gone off my rocker (well, he thinks that anyways but I don't need to add fuel to that fire). And it's not a bathrobe, Daughter was correct, it's your super cape and as such it can NEVER be out of style.

I think you only have to worry (about wearing a cape) if you're planning on flying around jet airplanes or launching missles or that sort of thing. As long as you stay away from those activities, you should be fine.

Edna, incidentally, is my favorite character in this movie. I want to be her when I grow up.

OHmommy said...

"Other days, I wonder, if I lose the uniform, do I dilute the power?"

I need an uniform? No one told me about a uniform. I am in desperate need to some super powers, even if diluted.

Great post!

MommyTime said...

First of all, ohMommy, you don't NEED a uniform. But sometimes it does help you feel more super.

Secondly, you give me an idea...perhaps I need to hit up Judith Shakespeare for a little super-cape button to bestow on those feeling in need of a little more oomph in their super-powers... hmmm....

MultiplesMommy said...

You ROCK. I know this, because I have read the Child Handbook that came with my children. I quote from Page 362:
"Persons of parental authority may only claim the title of Super Mom if they can demonstrate the following:
1. Stomach impervious to all foul smells during fumigation of child producing such smells.
2. Ability to withstand 4,562,737 repetions of a nursery rhyme sung by a preschooler without throwing said child through a window.
3. Inate knowledge of all child's wrongdoings, regardless of geographic location of child.
4. Ability to make strong fashion statement with super capes of various designs and spandex content."

See? The cape is NECESSARY!

foolery said...

Superman wore his uni UNDER his street clothes. Have you considered wearing Super Lobster under some Mom Jeans and a faded purple 1980s "Physical" sweatshirt, with clogs of course?

MommyTime said...

Ahhh... Foolery's brilliance is unmatched. I had NOT thought of this. Til now. I might opt for "Frankie Goes to Hollywood," though, and I'll let you know how that turns out!

MommyTime said...

Also, MM, thank you for the very useful quotation, which I shall retain for usage at a later date, I'm sure.

And MIQ, you are wise about capes, as all things. Happy Birthday!

lattemommy said...

If my children were bestowing a super hero outfit upon me, I'd be grateful for the fantastic coverage of a cape, rather than the "Oh, Mommy could use a trip to the gym" revelations of a spandex suit. However, the only thing my children seem to be bestowing upon me these days is the ability to go without sleep. Is that a super power?

Great post!

MommyTime said...

Yes, functioning while sleep-deprived is a serious super-power, LatteMommy. Some of us lose our little minds in that state (hence its use as a torture tactic, seriously). If you are still up and going, you are seriously super!


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