if your kid loves wolverine

If your kid loves Wolverine, go with it.

Find the comics at the library; buy some for his birthday.

it's all about the x-men

When trying to choose a gift to make for that birthday, decide on a freezer paper applique of “young” Wolverine. Trace the outline from a comic when he isn’t looking. Do not swear when you cut the wrong microscopic lines in the stencil with your X-acto knife on the day before his birthday. (You meant to do it the day before that, but you’d caught the stomach flu from your kids, which might have had something to do with scraping throw-up from carpets with a bench-knife in the middle of the night, two nights in a row. But that’s another story.)

young wolverine applique

Be pleasantly surprised to find Wolverine books at the library with interesting content. Reading to him about Stan Lee’s history at Marvel Comics, find yourself intrigued.ย 

When your kid wants to be Wolverine for Halloween, brainstorm how to make adamantium claws. Decide on pencils and paper mache. Buy fingerless gloves and black hair spray.


Ignore your waldorf guilt when it whispers that newly-minted eight-year-olds should wear less violent costumes.

When he takes off the claws at your homeschool Halloween party, and is left with just a black ducktail and sideburns, and he shouts to you across the park, “Mama, make me a sandwich,” note his resemblance to Elvis.

wolverine...or elvis?

Go hear Michael Chabon give a reading at your favorite local bookstore. (Try not to feel smug when Chabon notes that it’s his favorite local bookstore.) When he reads his heart-kneading essay, “The Loser’s Club” and uses Stan Lee’s rise at Marvel Comics as a metaphor for the role of audacity in art, try not to nod your head too vigorously. You know what he’s talking about! Thanks to your Wolverine-loving kid.

getting his fix
24 comments… add one
  • Melanie Nov 3, 2009 @ 8:18

    Thanks for posting this! I have such a hard time balancing my desire to have peaceful, compassionate, Waldorf-like children AND allowing the imitation of Wolverine! You’ve done a fantastic job!

    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 16:04

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Melanie!

      Every time I post one of these “waldorf guilt” entries, I get comments reminding me that I’m not alone in these struggles. There are lots of us wrestling with old-fashioned Waldorf-ish ideals and the lure of popular culture. And despite my internal conflict, I will say that my kids have learned an awful lot of good stuff from exploring popular culture!

  • melissa s. Nov 3, 2009 @ 9:13

    Is it ok if I insert “Indiana Jones” for all the “wolverine” references? Yes? Ahhhh, I feel better now, thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 16:07

      Oh, I’m so glad you feel better, Melissa.

      Besides, think of all that you can learn from Indiana Jones: archeology, history, the geography of far-flung places… Not to mention the proper technique for brandishing a whip.

      • melissa s. Nov 5, 2009 @ 8:56

        Oh yes, whip brandishing is quite popularโ€ฆalong with everything I never wanted to know about mummification.
        BTW – your little guy is adorable (in a fierce, Wolverine kind of way)

  • Barbara Nov 3, 2009 @ 15:46

    What a wonderful, rich post.

    I can’t wait to read your book!!

  • TheOrganicSister Nov 3, 2009 @ 16:30

    Oh I love this! What fun he must be having now and what awesome memories he’ll have of his passion and your enthusiasm for it.


    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 22:38

      Thanks, Tara.

      It just works so much better to go with their passions than to try to get them worked up about something that doesn’t thrill them.

  • Arp Nov 3, 2009 @ 16:57

    This – or rather YOU – rock! I also had no idea there was a DK book on Wolverine, which is really cool. I see a few more books to add to our Amazon wishlist.

    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 22:42

      I found three different DK readers on Wolverine or the X-Men at our library! The one I linked above, on creating the X-Men, was surprisingly interesting.

      Mr. T’s favorites are the Mini Marvels series, which are the X-men as kids. I didn’t get any of them into the book photo–probably because he’d been reading them somewhere.

  • Kristin Nov 3, 2009 @ 20:22

    Your “Waldorf Guilt” is so funny. It’s cracks me up whenever you refer to it. The photos of Mr. T are classic and yes, he did remind me of Elvis when he was without his nails. So sorry you had to scrape the carpet–the nails would have come in handy for that activity.

    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 22:43

      You’re right! The claws would have been great for scraping the space between the carpet and the floor. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Angela Nov 3, 2009 @ 22:32

    I loved this post. And the pictures. I had a similar inner turmoil with Captain Underpants when my SIL bought one of the books for my then 6YO.

    But then one night I walked in and saw him READING. To HIMSELF. In BED. And I thought, “You idiot. Isn’t this exactly what you want?” Though I’d never really knocked them out loud, I’m sure my derision must have come through to some extent. I fully supported his Captain Underpants love after that. And even ENJOYED reading them together (-:

    Good for you for going all out for your boy!

    • patricia Nov 3, 2009 @ 22:51

      At least with Captain Underpants kids can fine-tune their senses of humor. Those books are funny! I’m glad you eventually had fun reading them together. Tra la la!

      I have less patience for books like the Magic Tree House series, which just seem to pander to kids, trying too hard to teach. Mr. T kinda likes those, so I check out the tapes at the library–so I don’t have to read them.

      • Angela Nov 4, 2009 @ 5:52

        Oh yes, LOTS of internal eye rolling with Magic Tree House. Though an 8-volume audio book set was instrumental in helping us survive a 16-hour road trip — just me and the older two — so for that I am eternally grateful! (-;

  • susan Nov 4, 2009 @ 8:34

    What fantastic photos. I love Mr. T flashing his claws, looking fierce with donut and especially perusing his biography. My kid have also gotten incredibly inspired by pop culture from time to time and the input fueled their creativity rather than limiting it.

    The one that was hard for me was My Little Pony (I am not sure plastic ponies qualify as culture at all, even pop). But they and their friends would gather at park day with their ponies and have a blast. Some of the ponies have magnets in their feet which allow them to cling to jungle gyms, which they had great fun with. Then they discovered that the ponies picked up iron bits from the sand and fell to using them as mining tools. A big gaggle of little girls on their hands and knees pushing ponies through the sand and then collecting the metal bits that clung to their hooves. You just never know where an interest might lead them.

    • patricia Nov 4, 2009 @ 23:58

      Oh my gosh: My Little Pony as a geology tool!

      It’s always those quirky experiences that redeem the interests that seem, at first glance, trivial. Because more often than not, my kids will take one of those predictable fascinations and put their own spin on it. For instance, the conversations we’ve been having about why Wolverine should lead the X-Men, rather than Cyclops, are really more than comic book discussions. They’re an exercise in making arguments, in using logic, in gathering evidence.

      Who knew that comics would be such great prep for the debate team?

  • Mom Nov 4, 2009 @ 21:06

    I just spent 45 minutes catching up – should tune in more often. As usual I am speechless and impressed. From the camping photos I am guessing that you all had fun after all!!!

    A proud mom and grammy

    • patricia Nov 5, 2009 @ 0:01

      Now everyone knows where I got my proud mom-ness. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Tara Reese Nov 6, 2009 @ 21:16

    I’ve been reading so much Sandra Dodd lately, this Wolverine post fits right in! You are one good mama, and our boys, they’re kindred, too ๐Ÿ™‚

    • patricia Nov 7, 2009 @ 20:39

      I always think of Sandra Dodd when my kids get into stuff like this. She’s definitely more radical in her approach than we are, but I’ve learned an awful lot from her. I loved reading her book of essays.

  • molly Nov 10, 2009 @ 8:52

    there you go, impressing me with your use of active voice again! i can’t tell you how many times we’ve checked out that DK x-men book ๐Ÿ™‚ and mr. t is adorable.

    i want to see michael chabon read! are you going to write about him in your essay series? he might read it, you know. just sayin’, haha.

    • patricia Nov 10, 2009 @ 10:11

      I love writing in the second person. I guess it just goes along with my unfortunate tendency to boss people around.

      I guess you’ll just have to come to the big city to see Chabon read. He’ll be reading right in my neighborhood this Thursday night. And I’d go with you…

      Yes, Chabon is up as my November essayist. And yes, I realize that he’s probably the sort of tech-savvy writer that might check out what people are writing about him. But he’s got four kids and he’s probably way too busy. Right?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.