When Kyle was very young, he would act like a dinosaur. You all probably have kids that do the same… but my son is actually part dinosaur. The way he can curl his fingers and pull his arms up to look exactly like a T-Rex… and then he puts his face up in the air and roars… Not a lion roar… a real, so real it is scary, dinosaur roar. He would do this on and off for years, at home, in public, on a runway in a fashion show in front of hundreds of people. Even though we would tell him to stop, and it wasn’t “normal” to act like a dinosaur (unless he was at home playing), it would continue. It wasn’t until later in therapy we learned that Kyle would do this to protect himself. In any uncomfortable situation, when he felt vulnerable or scared, he would “turn into” a dinosaur. His deep knowledge of animals, including dinosaurs, told him that they were the most ferocious of animals. If he could turn into a dinosaur - specifically the T-Rex, no one could hurt him. He was the most ferocious predator, and when in this form, he could do anything. Even with the understanding of why he would do these behaviors, it took awhile … and still is hard not to get embarrassed when I see the claws come out.
Years later, almost 12 we are still in full wardrobe. My kid who wouldn’t be caught wearing two different socks on crazy sock day or spiking his hair on crazy hair day, had NO problem dressing up as spiderman or his favorite, Deadpool. On a random Tuesday, here comes my son, ready for school and in his morph Deadpool costume. Thank god just the mask and gloves. My first thought is OMG what the hell are you wearing!!! How are you okay with wearing a costume to school, where you will stand out like “a kid wearing a Deadpool mask” and you won’t wear two different colored socks on a day that everyone wears crazy socks. Mind blowing. I have learned that my son, with his anxiety and over awareness of the world around him, when HE chooses what HE wants to do on his time, he will do it. Although in class he had to reveal his true self… and me dealing with my embarrassment, seeing him smile and happy and looking like he is going to conquer the world… there is nothing better. So everyday is dress up day, and everyday no matter which superhero you want to be… just be you, costume or not. It is amazing to watch the confidence Kyle exzoods… not giving a shit what anyone thinks and owning every ounce of who he is. I wish I had his courage.