Don't shy away from your child's weirdness, don't dress your kid in a fedora and pretend he has inherited your naturally hipster tendencies. Instead, get out the flip cam and cheer awkwardly and loudly with one hand in the air while your kid -- yes, one of Lil E's Tae Kwon Do buddies in the next grade up, I am looking right at you, Weird Superstar -- stands on stage during the talent show and gives a demonstration of all the tools in his collection. Am I right? Weird Superstar, heavyweight, ginormous gold belt-holder.
I want to believe that these kids, the ones as-yet untouched by the cruel realities of peer pressure and college admissions and Forever 21 and One Direction's new album, will hold on to this magic pixie dust of weirdness that is really just being who they are. I want them to press the glitter into their double-jointed fingers and remember that who they are is goofy and gorgeous and and glorious and great, long after it is socially appropriate to wear an Incredibles rubber mask to swim class or introduce one's self to a room full of strangers by full name.
But we all know how it goes. Those of us who have grown up and stashed away our Wonder Woman Underoos and hidden our Donny & Marie albums (ahem), know that some of the best weirdness fades.
Lucky for some of us, the patina of trying-too-hard coolness and trends and office dress codes wears off a bit when we have kids and get, for another too-brief period of time, get weird again with our even-weirder kids.
This Halloween, my son is going to be an alien in a full body suit. For days, he's zipped his skinny body in and out of this costume to practice his dance moves and alien-sneaky-ways in the mirror to prepare for the big day.
"You're letting him wear that for real?" This is what a parent of a toddler asked me last week when I showed him the picture of Lil E all decked out in green Spandex.
"Ohhhhh yes," I replied. "I highly encouraged it."
I couldn't think of him being any other way. And this costume is so HIM because it is so weird. One day soon enough, he will want to be distanced from the thousands of humiliating pictures I will be snapping of him in this other-worldly get-up. But right now he's working it with all the weirdness he's got.
I asked him this evening, “What makes a kid weird?”
His trigger response was, “I don’t know.” But he’s eight, so that’s standard. Then a slow smile oozed across his face.
“It’s like a movie where a man comes up to you and says,” and here he launched into his whispery, low Darth Vader voice, “‘I AM FROM THE FUTURE and it is your destiny to be WEEEEIIIIIRRRRD.”
“Yeah, it’s kind of like that,” I agreed.