Once again I'm going to stray slightly from the theme of this blog and do a more serious post. It's not because Alex hasn't been funny lately, he's as funny as ever, but I have a couple of more pressing issues on my mind.
Lately he has been obsessed with Spiderman. I'm not exactly sure when this started or how, but judging from the number of kids I see with Spiderman paraphernalia I'm guessing Alex is not Robinson Crusoe on this.
The thing I find really weird is that there is this massive juggernaut of Spiderman stuff marketed clearly as specifically at small boys - towels, shoes, clothing, toys, lunchboxes, you name it - and yet the only Spiderman movie I've been able to find is M rated. So the dilemma is then whether to aid and abet his obsession, in the name of encouraging his curiousity and supporting his interests, or nip it in the bud with a war-cry of "no you won't overcommercialise my kid!" even though every other Tom Harry and Jaiden seems to be participating. Don't get me wrong, I'm as irritated as the next parent about the way our kids are bombarded by marketers. The thing is though, he appears to get real pleasure from this, and to exclude him at home while he's aware of it going on all over town seems to be a small victory.
So what's the solution? Do I allow him a Spiderman toy or two but not the movie? Or do I just put a total ban on the whole thing? The complicating issue is that we've had the Spiderman movies on our shelf since they came out on DVD, before Alex was even a consideration, and since he's taken interest in the subject he's noticed they're there and been petitioning to watch. OK, I know I could just say it's too adult for him and he has to respect that... but I watched it recently and it didn't *seem* to me to be *that* much worse than some of the stuff he already watches that's G rated. And on the plus side, he seems to get SO much out of this Spiderman/superhero fantasy world that he creates for himself. He'll play it for hours in the backyard, alone or with friends, shooting imaginary webs from his wrists, 'getting' the baddies, running amok. Superhero-worship is truly a time-honoured small-boy phenomena. We've had various discussions about 'play' fighting vs real fighting, and he seems to know where the boundaries are so far. So I've let him watch it, and if his behaviour starts to change I'll pull the plug.