I mean, what are the chances, me just hanging out at the park, and then running into Johnny Depp who then takes an immediate interest in me, shares a few of his toys, and based on almost no conversation at all pretty much implies that I’m his best friend now? Chilling. I’m also pretty sure that based on his reaction to me, I am now his emergency contact for when things get heavy.
This is the only way I can illustrate Smitty’s reaction to a child he saw at the park, dressed head-to-toe in a Batman costume, complete with a mask and obviously, “A KEEEEEP!!” (that would be “cape” to those of you who don’t speak Smitty). Smith spotted him in the swings, being pushed by his Grandfather (or was it Alfred?) right when we entered the park. Smith screamed. He screamed in the same way my head would explode if I saw Johnny Depp swinging in the toddler swings 10 feet away. “Mat-man!” And then again and again, with no subtlety or nuance, pointing to Batman himself who was much shorter in real life than he appears on-screen.
I asked if he wanted to go swing next to him and Smith answered “NO?” because that’s his go-to for when things are exciting. So I placed him on a big statue of an elephant, facing swinging Batman, so he could just stare at him and point. The 3-year-old Batman was eating up the attention, smiling and laughing for Smith. He had his hands in flying position, and would wave at his newest fan about every 20 seconds. Each time he waved, Smitty screamed “Mat-man!” and then in case I wasn’t paying attention, “MaMA!! MAT-MAN!”
Yes. I see. It’s Batman.
So Smith finally got the nerve to go swing next to his hero, whose cape was catching the wind just so perfectly it almost looked like a CGI special effect. Smith sat next to Batman, sideways in his seat and kept saying “Hi.” Eventually Batman grew tired of his swinging time, and went to go play with some filthy awful park toys that give me cause to shudder each time my boys play with them. I look away when they lick them because I just can’t with that. Obviously if you’re Batman these things don’t scare you. But he kept looking for Smith, who had eyes locked on him and would always give a salute, or a flying mime for my boy.
Eventually Batman had to go home for a bath, dinner, story and bed. But recognizing the depth of his power, Batman walked up to Smith and gave him a hug goodbye. This pretty much freaked Smitty out because even though it’s Batman, dude. Personal space. Still, the story was told for days after by Smitty, and went something like “Mat-man swing!” or “Mat-man park!” or “Mat-man Keeeeeeeeep!” It’s Smitty’s first star-sighting and his mother can certainly commiserate on the the exciting nature of these things. No one loves a good brush with celebrity more than me. I recognize Smithy’s enthusiasm for it, and am just glad that he met child-Batman and not dark tortured crime-fighting Batman. I also believe I have a thing or two to learn from my boy. Instead of just playing it cool and hoping the hamsters running around in my brain don’t howl too loud when in the presence of great celebrity-ness, I can apparently just go ahead and stare, point, stalk, follow and say “Hi!” approximately infinity times to them, with stellar results.