A couple of months ago, my grandson, Jacob, halfway between 3 and 4 years old, entered that magical time in life when make-believe and costumes become very important. But when I heard the defining story from my daughter, I pretty much knew there would be an intervention in Jacob’s future.
“He wanted a cape just like Superman, so I took an old pillow case and some masking tape and fixed him right up. He just loves it!” Katie told me on one of their Sunday family visits.
I remember the days not so very long ago when our youngest became smitten with his first superhero. His name was Rafael. Not the painter of Renaissance fame, but one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thankfully, I haven’t had to watch their cartoons for a couple of decades. But now the legacy continues! It is Katie and Chad’s privilege to hear superhero theme songs in their heads just before they nod off to sleep at night.
I believe when the Turtles weren’t eating them, they might also have been throwing frozen pizzas at their foes. I could have that totally wrong. But I do recall Ricky having a Ninja Turtle toy that zoomed little plastic toy pizzas clear across the family room. Our dog at the time, Peaches, loved seeing the discs fly in her direction. After all these years, a crusty little pizza disc will occasionally turn up in the bowels of the backyard with chew marks still visible on it.
The hubster even fashioned Ricky a wooden sword and wrote in permanent marker, “Rafael” on one side of the blade and “Ricky” on the other. Oh, and the “blade” was very rounded on the tip. That was mostly because Ricky carried the sword down the back of his shirt and Turtle underwear. This was for easy access in case Ricky encountered sudden mayhem or mischief. Thanks to dad, Ricky never drew any real blood … his or his little buddies in the neighborhood, who also carried similar swords!
Fast forward over 20 years to Jacob’s little intervention. I just couldn’t have my grandson walking around with a pillow case masquerading as a Superman cape. Surely I could fashion my cute little superhero a cape that would knock those little tennie runners off his feet.
But before I got too deep in the mud and got myself stuck, I went to one of my friends who had lots of experience sewing theatrical costumes. My limited experience was comprised of a children’s clown and pumpkin costume and adult versions of Raggedy Ann and Andy many years ago. All were made with cotton, which does not have that billowy effect required for a proper Superman cape. It was my goal to impress a 3-and-a-half year old … not scar him for life.
“Buy some of that costume satin at Hobby Lobby. It will drape nicely and is reasonably priced,” said the fabulous Helaine.
Nodding my head in the affirmative, I now had a plan. My trip to Hobby Lobby included a pattern and royal blue satin fabric. They didn’t have any radical red. Hopefully, Jacob wouldn’t notice it wasn’t the right color. Heck, I’d just tell him the real Superman had two capes and the red one was probably at the cleaners.
After taking Jacob's measurements, I knew the length was right. I mean … did you ever see Superman trip over his cape? My only other issue was with the pattern which was designed to create a seriously voluminous cape capable of taking flight or leaping tall buildings at a single bound. Obviously, the pattern was one-size-fits-all for Superman, or Dracula, or whatever superhero of the week. After seriously scaling back the bulk, Jacob got his cape just in time for Halloween!
So … as interventions go … this one was relatively painless. I can’t wait until Baby Ben comes up in the queue in a couple of years! With a little help from my friends, this grandma is ready for almost anything!