My daughter was Robin.
She was 2.5. She and her 4 year old brother had just learned of the joy of Batman and Robin, courtesy of the 1997 movie of the same name- the worst Batman movie ever made. George Clooney played the role of the caped crusader and I suspect it was the motivating factor in his co-founding Casamigos later in life. After subjecting the world to that Batman movie, George had to make up for it by giving the world good tequila. It was only right.
The movie was awful. It was campy and the dialogue was cheesy and there were people dressed in monkey suits. It was an awful thing to watch but my kids loved it; it was like a cartoon come to life. And having watched it over and over and over again, the children came to the conclusion that they would take up the roles of Batman and Robin, with our son being Batman and his little sister, his trusty side-kick.
They didn’t have costumes. Unlike those talented moms who can fashion together a costume for their children from scraps in their sewing room, my children’s mom can’t even sew on a button. I would actually love to learn how, but at this point in my life, that ship has sailed. Plus it involves math, which automatically puts me off. So the need to be Batman and Robin resulted in tying small blankets around their shoulders to serve as capes and going on many adventures in the backyard and around the house. The dog played the villain on more than once occasion.
Now, my daughter’s blanket was a blue checkered pattern with a squatty little cowboy in the center. She had other blankets, of course—pink and lacy and girly, but no-THIS was her blanket of choice. She wore it everywhere. EVERYWHERE. And most people, upon seeing a toddler girl with a cowboy blanket around her neck correctly assumed it was serving a “dress up” purpose and so they would try to engage her in conversation.
“Oh, aren’t you darling! Are you a princess?”
Yikes. I’d hear that question and wince because I knew what would follow every single time. And I felt sort of bad for the stranger asking the question. They meant well, of course, but to my daughter, it was a huge offense. Her eyes would blaze, she’d put her hands on her hips and declare with the righteous indignation of a cowboy blanket caped crusader:
“NO. I AM ROBIN!”
Of course, at first, she couldn’t pronounce Robin, so it came out as, “NO. I AM RYE,” which only added to the confusion. “What is she saying? Your kid thinks she’s bread?”
“I AM ROBIN,” became a battlecry. Each time she said it, she became a little more indignant. She even started thumping her chest as she spoke. It got to the point where I would try to head-off each pissed off toddler encounter by introducing her as “Robin, from Batman and Robin,” accompanied by a face that said, “Humor her with this.”
But she never gave up and she never gave in. She knew who she wanted to be. And armed with a cowboy blanket and fierce determination, she let the world know that she was not a princess…SHE WAS ROBIN. She would not be be swayed. In a sea of princesses at a preschool parade, my daughter was the girl with a blue cowboy blanket tied around her neck and pride on her face.
Why am I telling you all of this?
I’m telling you this because children are my most favorite kind of people.
I’m telling you this because “weird” is wonderful.
I’m telling you this because I now have a freaking amazing adult daughter who loves her makeup and dresses and heels but also shows up to things with no makeup, un-showered, and wearing ratty clothes; a daughter who knows who she is. I’m telling you this because The Robins of the world change it.