Ever since Target sent us a ton of Captain America merchandise a few weeks ago, superheroes have been a big subject in our house. Mazzy’s got a history with superheroes, but to Harlow the topic is pretty new.

I wasn’t even sure Harlow knew what a superhero was, so I asked her.

She said, “Someone with powers.”

“What kind of powers?”

“Like… bubble power.”

“What is bubble power?”

“When you trap a bad guy in a bubble and he can’t get out.”

Fair enough.


“If you were a superhero, what kind of power would you want?”

Harlow thought for a little. “Girl power.”

“What is girl power?”

“It’s when you are a girl who saves your friends who are also girls.”

“That sounds like a very important power.”

“I’ll save you, Mom. Because you’re a girl.”

Thank you very much, Harlow! (I did not ask her about Dad.)

That day, Harlow decided she wanted to wear her Ironman mask on her way to preschool. Her face is so small that the eyes don’t quite line up, so I had to hold her hand for guidance most of the way.


“Why do you think superheroes wear masks?”

“So they have super eyes.”

“You think they can see really well with their masks on?”


Kind of ironic, seeing that Harlow couldn’t see at all with her mask on.

This past weekend, Harlow decided she wanted to play superhero again. First, she was just pretending to freeze her dad (over and over and over again)…


…but then she decided to step it up a notch. She requested her blue satin cape.


That cape followed her around a good part of the day, flying behind her as she ran from one room to the other, using her freezing powers on anybody she could find.


Then she got an idea. She sorted through our bag of Captain America stuff and pulled out the magnetic shield. “The only way you can protect yourself from my freezing power is with this.” I followed instruction and fastened the magnetic shield to my hand.


Harlow ran back and forth, trying and failing to freeze me, as I defended myself successfully from her powers.


After we had done that a few billion times, I grabbed her and started tickling her. She laughed and shrieked and screamed something unintelligible.


I stopped. “What did you say?”

“You have TICKLE POWERS!!!”

“What are tickle powers exactly?”

“You can trap bad guys by tickling them!!”

I love that Harlow’s interpretation of superheroes, bad guys and weapons still exists mostly in her own wheelhouse. There are no guns or forces of evil. It’s just girls, bubbles, ice and tickles.


I also realized that just because Harlow isn’t asking for something specifically, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t buy it for her. Having superhero gear at the ready has totally expanded her scenarios for pretend play. It’s nice to see her in a cape and mask instead of a princess dress and heels every once in awhile. And it definitely works to expand her imagination beyond mermaids and marriage. Her list of pretend super powers is growing by the minute,

For instance, later that day, still in her cape, Harlow asked to go outside to play.

“You have to put on your jacket.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do. It’s cold outside.”

“I’m wearing my cape, Mom. It will protect me. I have cold powers.”


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