Here is one of my favorite things about my family right now.
Jaya’s in a superhero phase, which means, by definition, that Alder is too. Her favorite superhero is Storm, from the Xmen (prior to discovering Storm, Jaya was quite fascinated by My Little Pony’s Rainbow Dash, and I think the idea that a lady — albeit a mutant one — could control the weather instead of a colorful pegasus really represented a paradigm shift for my daughter). We’re not sure which is Alder’s favorite, although he does seem to be awfully fond of “the ‘Ulk,” as he calls that great green beastman.
Often when Jaya is pretending to be a superhero (although if she hears you describe this as pretend she will insist that she is really a superhero), she will outstretch her arm and pretend she is shooting something out of her palm at you. Sometimes, like when she is trying to control the weather, this appears to require great effort and she will scrunch her face, furrow her eyebrows, stretch her arm with all of her might. Other times it’s about as effortless as a “talk to the hand.” When asked what she is shooting, she will simply reply “everything.” When you inquire further, she will explain that she has all the powers. Okay then.
In any event, this is naturally a habit that Alder has picked up, except, in a curious and quintessential Alder-esque way, he has decided that this is not only useful during pretend play, but in uncomfortable situations: say, while dealing with a grabby child at the playground or while waiting in a long line at Ikea. He will stretch out his palm at unsuspecting people, often hissing as he does so. Occasionally, if he is really angry, he will yell “BAD GUY!” before resorting to his superpowers.
Because I am a great role model, I have also adopted this habit, and it’s become something of a call-and-response in our family. If the kids are being frustrating, or arguing with each other, I will pull out the hissy superhero hand and they will immediately drop what they are doing to join me, grinning wildly. If Alder yells “BAD GUY” at Andy, Andy will preempt him with a superhero hand and everyone will start giggling and participate in a hissypalm throwdown. It works in marital tiffs too. Today, Andy said something vaguely irritating, so I palmed him. Without missing a beat, the kids joined in. Bickering averted; smiles all around. Superpower indeed!