There’s nothing like kids starting a new school year for me to get back in touch with my inner superpowers that tend to lie dormant in the summer.
My superpowers are not unique. In fact, I think all parents possess mighty skills. To prove this, here’s my list of Top Parental Superpowers that we, as moms and dads, seem to discover only once we send our kids off to school.
Backpack Psychic: This is the gift of being able to predict exactly how your kids’ day went just by how they’re carrying their backpacks. This superpower is enormously helpful for determining your opening after school question. Based on backpack placement, you either keep it light and chatty, or go for it or ask, “Hey, what happened?”
Human Clock: It’s not as cool as say, teleportation, but it sure saves you time. Your inner parent clock gives you the ability to forecast exactly when your child will be walking out of school.
The bell may ring at 2:50 for my daughter, but due to my forecasting powers I know to not even leave the house to get her until 2:55. She’ll chat. She’ll stare into her locker for at least three minutes and go into a mini trance (much like she eerily gazes into the refrigerator at home and announces after I’ve just spent $130 at the grocery store that there is nothing to eat). She’ll chat some more. Finally she’ll begin to walk out of the school, realize she has forgotten something and then turn around to go back to her locker. All this will take a good 15 minutes.
Due to my timing superpower, I arrive at the school precisely when she’s walking out the door. No idling at the curb for me. No waiting in the school pickup line. Just a quick stop-and-go.
Sleepover Clairvoyance: You know when your kids ask you whether they can spend the night at friends’ houses, and you just instinctively know it’s not to going end well. This is the gift of slumber-party second sight. It tells you that your children are too tired or won’t be able to go to sleep, or that this is the night they get some new phobia.
The problem with this superpower is that too many of us don’t listen to our gift and give in, and you know what that means: Yeah, you’re getting a call at 2 a.m. to come pick up your kid.
Ninja: Not to be sexist, but I believe dads may have a little more ninja in them than moms. This superpower is the ability to show up for any school performance or athletic activity almost to the second when your kid will either be performing or doing some amazing athletic feat.
For example, I will have to sit on the gym bleachers through 20 middle school band numbers until it’s my child’s turn to play her instrument. But my husband breezes stealthily into the gym, and as he’s perching his fanny on the bleachers, presto, she starts playing. Same thing for sports. You, as the mom, sit through an uneventful basketball doubleheader, and as soon as your husband shows up your kid goes on a scoring spree.
If that’s not a superpower, I don’t know what is.
Homework “Spidey-Sense”: Your kids tell you their homework is all done or they’ve studied enough for those tests tomorrow, and yet you know they need to go back and hit the books without even looking at their math worksheets. Spidey-Sense is also useful when your children tell you they have no homework, and yet you have a feeling, a precognition, there’s a book report due tomorrow.
Batmobile: OK, so none of us drives the Batmobile, and really that’s a good thing, because it’s one gigantic gas guzzler. And yes, I know it’s a car, not a superpower. But I believe that every mother’s vehicle is equipped with attributes worthy of superpower status. Take any car driven by a woman with a child, and you can probably find enough food remnants, juice boxes, half-empty water bottles, assorted sports shoes, mateless socks, first aid supplies, ponytail holders and a rogue beach towel or two to survive at least a two-week zombie apocalypse, and in pinch perform a tracheotomy with all those leftover McDonald’s straws.
All I have to say is, watch out, Marvel Comics. Your list of superheroes is — dare I say — humdrum when compared to the mighty powers of a parent.
Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at snarkyinthesuburbs.com. She has also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs: Back to School.”