So the Brat has recently got hooked on BeyBlades. Now while I am strict about his television habits and don’t allow him to watch Ben 10 etc, I figured if he’s found a way to connect with the apartment complex kids, why not? Some of you might remember the initial trouble he had finding friends. At times I’d stop and wonder if I am raising the kids so differently that they are turning into misfits. No idea of popular culture, being bullied and so on. But over a period of time I realised that the Brat’s inherent goodness draws other children to him. And when he brought up the Bey Blade I caved. He’d been gifted a couple some months ago and hadn’t bothered with them so they lay packaged in his cupboard. He took to it like a fish to water and he has been one of the crowd, spinning Beyblades, having matches in a little plate called the stadium and so on.
It made me happy to see him fit in. And at another level it made me sad to think that my little boy with his own special interests was getting lost in this whole Ben 10-BeyBlade nonsense. Just aggression and competition. All of which are things we actively discourage. Is this what his life would be? Hiding away his own little quirks to fit in with whatever the average kid was doing, no matter how pointless? Which is not to say that everything must have a point, after all they are only kids playing. But I was so happy to have him develop his own individual interest instead of blindly following the crowd, getting caught up in mass hysteria. Made me wonder if one must always sacrifice individuality to be part of a group. Does it have to be all or nothing? Can he not be a part of the crowd while retaining that sense of wonder and the creativity that makes him the person he is? Will real friends ask that he change himself to hang out with them? Are these questions coming too early? Why is the OA nodding his head? What am I going to do about my story deadline? What do I make for dinner? STOP!
And then one day I found him doing this. He’s taken the Beyblade launcher and the rod that launches and twisted and turned them into a dinosaur. Look mama, says he.. I made this into a Brachiasaurus (or something, don’t ask me). Made my heart leap that he isn’t over his own personal dinosaur craze and only into mass interests and popular culture. And also broke my heart a little. How early our kids learn to hide their personal interests to look like they fit in. And then at moments like these, his old self peeks out from behind the sweaty little increasingly popular boy on the playground, and the nervous mother in me smiles and heaves a sigh of relief. My little Brat lives on.