Ignoring all the obvious inaccuracies with that statement, I decided to address the sentiment instead.
“Why are you excited about puberty?”
“Because that’s when I’ll find out if I have super powers.”
Okay. That was another statement loaded with questions. I needed to zero in on what he was really trying to say. As my mouth hung open and I stared uncomprehendingly, I went through my options in my head:
- What super power would you like to have?
- Why do you want a super power?
- How do you know you’ll find out on “Puberty Day?”
- Do you know what puberty is? And that it takes more than a day?
What I settled on was, “Did you brush your teeth?”
I was presented with a mouthful of presumably clean teeth in an exaggerated smile. Then he continued, “If I have super powers, I could pick up the bullies at school and take them to the principal.”
I said, “Okay. That would certainly give you a great skill set, but if you don’t have super powers now, why would you get them when you are older?” - because that’s what one says in this situation.
“Well,” he answered with all the logic of a nine-year old, “All the heroes in my comic books got their super powers on Puberty Day and Harry Potter did too.”
At a serious loss for words, all I could utter is, “Is that right?”
“Yeah, and Harry Potter got magic powers. That would be even cooler! If the bullies got nasty, I could just take away all their bones and they would be a big blob rolling on the floor. Then they would have to go to the principal’s office.”
“Goodness! If you had super powers and I made you mad, what would you do?”
“I’d prob-ly just put you in a cage - for a little while - maybe a couple of minutes. But I would never take away your bones!”
He looked very sincere about that last statement. I was slightly relieved until I realized that he may have said that only because he thought I might somehow be the key to getting his super powers. That is a mistake all super heroes make. They are usually instrumental in giving their foes the powers that are then used against them.
“You know, sometimes if you act as though the bully doesn’t bother you, they will leave you alone. Their words can only hurt you if you allow them to hurt,” I said.
He looked doubtful, and who could blame him? That never worked for me either.
“Another option is to let them know that you have some older brothers that have already gone through puberty,” I continued.
“Yeah, but they don’t have super powers,” he said, as if this was a major flaw.
“But your bullies don’t know that,” I reminded him.
“That’s true. It might work until my Puberty Day,” he said.
“Hmmm. And when will that be?” I asked.
He shrugged and said “Nobody knows. It’s a mystery.”