When kids are obsessed with wearing only clothing items with a certain character on it or carry lunchboxes with their “favorite” character, whose fault is that really? Well, the parents! Most of the time anyway. We feed into the frenzy and addiction. For instance, I bought my daughter her first pair of sandals when she was 1-1/2. Of course, they had the Disney princesses on it. After that, I started reading her stories and bought her all the books and the gifts came in. Then the idea of going to Disney World when she turned 4 was planted in her head and broadcasted to everyone who would listen, including her soccer coach on day 1 at 3-1/2 years-old. We did take her right before her 5th birthday, and yes, we had breakfast with Cinderella in her Castle. When we buy them merchandise with their favorite characters on them, we are to blame.
My son’s obsession with Spiderman started with his first pair of sneakers. He, to this day, has never seen an episode of Spiderman cartoon or seen any of the movies. But because I kept finding more shirts, bathing suits, underwear, caps, toys, and more shoes, he got into it some more. Same with Toy Story – well, we let him watch Toy Story 3 in the theater as his first movie ever at 2-1/2 (yes, he sat through the WHOLE movie and even said some parts were FUN-ny). I thought it would be cute to have the light up sneakers, especially since they’re on sale.
After a birthday party where only Star Wars plates and napkins were used, that was the new obsession for weeks (still is for my son, but my daughter has moved on to Narnia, which she discovered on her own). We watched the first 3 movies after my husband showed them excerpts during the Star Wars marathon. For weeks I agonized about whether they were too young to see it; might it be too scary? Well, the truth is, I remember going to the movie theater with my parents to see the original Star Wars. My mother was carrying my infant brother, so I must have been about 3. I don’t remember being traumatized so it probably did not need all the attention I gave it. So, I borrowed the DVD’s from the library, and every night they wanted to watch them again and again. I finally bought W some action figures (just 3) and books (just 2), but borrowed atlases from the library, which they carry with them everywhere they go. They flip through them before going to bed, sleep with them, and crack them open as soon as they wake up. This is obsession, but my husband said, “let’s get him those curtains from Walmart.” I bought him sheets from Kohl’s AND the curtains. More underwear (3 packs). Heck, I even got them cheesy light sabers. I hid the latter because they were poking each other’s eyes out. I also had to deal with some tears because there was a saber that lit up and spoke as soon as you walked up to it…for $30 – no, thanks. Oh, and guess who has light-up sneakers?
What would have happened if I had just ignored their interests? That would be a crime. Although it’s crazy for them to be so into a character or a movie, it’s actually nice to see. I used to be worried that the two of them really don’t have a favorite anything (blanket, toy, book). At least for weeks or months at a time, they are attached to something and enjoy it. I have a feeling, though, we’ve struck gold with Star Wars because Winston was able to talk to the elderly cashier, hygienist, dentist, classmates, girls at SuperCuts, basically anywhere, about Star Wars. This one’s here to stay. I’m to blame because I let him take home the plate that he ate his lunch off of at the party after I saw the look of fascination. And that’s okay.