Its been two years that I have been threatening to start back blogging but life somehow always seems to get in the way. I have three kids now - the latest addition is a mouthy three year old who often poses as the girly little princess her dad envisioned her as, but regularly proves that she is a force to be reckoned with. I often think if she had been the first one to come along that we would most definitely not be dealing with three kids. This realization came to me from the time she was in the womb. It was like I had been taken over by a vicious alien species and I'm not just talking about the pain either. My mouth would, seemingly of its own accord, simply distribute tongue lashings to whomever should cross my path. I chewed out random strangers. I chewed out friends. I chewed out family.
The day she was born was also a day that special note should be given to. I still remember it like it was just yesterday. After she was delivered, the midwife suggested I should try to breastfeed her. I put her against me and her mouth opened in instant expectation. I struggled to place my breast in her mouth and the midwife decided my movements were too much since she was still tending to me. She suggested to the nurse that it would be best to clean the child and bring her back. The moment my child realized their intent, she made a loud string of discontented sounds, which I kid you not, sounded like she was delivering her first ever in-person tongue lashing.
I'd like to tell you that it has been three years and that her nature has changed, but it has not. Single-handedly, she has managed to redefine the meaning behind me being a super mom. On one hand, she is the sweetest, most affectionate little angel and on the other hand, she is a bossy, mouthy little terrorist who thinks she is the boss of the universe. With a sweet smile, she wraps daddy around her little finger and paints this super mom as the villain of this story.
Well, this is my first blog post in a long time. I've been a bit overwhelmed lately trying to juggle a new baby and life in general and I just have to say; being a parent is challenging. If you didn't know, I guess you needed me to tell you. Never feel like you are in it alone, or that your struggles are yours alone. I bet I can find a story that if told, someone out there will nod to let me know they've had the same experience.
Anyway, it goes without saying that this has been a very long, tiring week. I've got some personal and familial challenges that have left me battling exhaustion, but as you know, life as we know it, goes on. I've got house chores to do, dirty bottoms to change, spittle to clean and children and a husband to raise. Kids have no idea what us parents must go through just to ensure their comfort. And, after the crazy week I've had, imagine that I went to the bathroom where I know I sent my boys to shower, only to find the little one in the shower alone, while the big one stood on the sink trying to peer through the little space between the roof and the wall to see outside. I think I was truly a super hero the way I handled that particular challenge. To my credit, I honestly didn't get angry. I simply gave him the spanking he'd been asking for and sent him in the bath.
You know, I sometimes think that when we put the kids to bed, they all meet up in dream land at a big kids convention where they brainstorm ways to make their parents fret. The most recent feat for Shakir is that he has perfected his look complete and utter unawareness. Yeah, that's not the word I was going for, but my mind is a complete blank. Its a look where his mouth gapes open, his eyes widen and his brows turn into a V. My mother calls it his 'dumb' look. Anyway, what happens is he does something he thinks no one is privy to and when confronted, he puts on his mask. SMH. At that point, I transform into Amazing Alli and can deduce the lie in about two seconds with a little help from my weapon of mass destruction.
Jaheim now has begun to refer to himself in the third person. He fancies himself a little super hero, so there I was minding my own business when he sprang off the bed like a ninja turtle and landed with a loud thump in a chair as he loudly exclaimed, "Jaheim did it!"
Like I said, parenting is a challenge, Good thing I'm a super mom. I can handle it.
They call him "The Laywer" but I dare say they all have it wrong. I don't know what career tag I'd replace 'lawyer' with but though his numerous questions may be the bane of my existence, there is so much more than meets the eye going on here. I'll give an example. Our church conference is having its annual quiz and spelling B, which, up until this year, I managed to keep Shakir out of. It wasn't that I didn't want him to participate, but rather that I dreaded the preparation that had to go into getting him ready. And then, you know what gets me? After all his grief shatters my patience and very nearly takes my life, I will her people patting him on the back for good work or congratulating themselves on getting him ready. Mind you, I don't see any of these people early in the morning or late at night when this boy taking me through the ringer.
To get down to specifics, I asked him to spell the word 'garbage' - easy enough, right? I sat in silence as he, with halting eloquence, spelt G A R B I G E. "That's incorrect," I said. I told myself it was a simple pronunciation problem and I slowly enunciated so he would clearly hear each letter. Again, he spelt: G A R B I G E. Still patient, I advised him that it was incorrect and urged him to try again. This time, I repeated the word twice. You know the boy spelt it the same way again and then had the heart to look at me and say that his spelling was right and I was being difficult???!!! I don't think its necessary to mention that I blew my cool. If I were an animation, my head would have been on fire and ready to erupt like a volcano. #slowdeepbreaths I gave him the sheet with the words and told him that he was to go over the words properly to ensure that he knew them, just like my mother used to do when I was his age. I remember how annoyed I used to be about it, but I appreciate that it forced me to really learn the words. I looked over and saw him lying on his back, covered in the sheets with no sign of the word list at all. This was when I decided that I would give him a surprise quiz in the morning.
I sometimes think of myself as a gluten for punishment. I seriously couldn't be right in my head trying to get ready while I encouraged him to spell words, but as any real super mom, I was unfazed, or just stupidly oblivious or something. With each word I called, my child had to utter an annoyed string of complaints, which I desperately tried to ignore. I asked him to spell music, deciding to start with a simple word I was sure he knew how to spell. "M A S I C" he recited and I swear I could feel my blood bubbling. I've been a mother long enough to recognize when he doesn't want to do any work and he has made up his mind to give me a hard time. Some will think I'm kidding but believe me its easy to think that I'm exaggerating here when you (a) have no kids, or (b) have never met my Shakir. So anyway, I told him his spelling was wrong. He sat there muttering softly and I could hear him correcting the 'A' with the 'U", but when he became loud enough for me to hear, he said M A S I C. "No," I said. Now, let me say here that I don't think patience is one of my virtues - I used to think so before the kids, but now I've been enlightened - but when dealing with my boys, I honestly suck in a big breath and as I slowly let it out, I try my damnest to look calm. Maybe I stink at poker. I don't know. But the next thing I knew his little face crumpled and he began to tell me how I was trying to trick him that he was spelling the word wrong. He spelled it again - correctly this time - and then insisted he had been spelling it that way all along. #trialsandtribulations
Determined to use the super mom power of ignore, I continued firing words at him - minister, blessing, pasture, computer, etc. Each of these he was able to spell quite well with just minor grumbling in between. I imagine it was because he felt that I had no business making him spell words so early in the morning when he was just waking up and was still tired/groggy, but his early morning sluggishness wouldn't have fazed him one bit if I had turned the TV on or told him he could play a while. NOOOO! So just when I figured we were making real progress and things couldn't get any better, the devil decided to rear his ugly head in the form of my child. He stood up there arguing with me in a high-pitched, irritating, grating voice, his face folded like a balled up fist - Look, I can't even remember what he was saying, he had me so mad. And hear Jaheim in the background repeating the word I'd given Shakir loud and slow like it was so simple, even he could spell it... My hand stretched high to deliver that backhand lash stopped in midair as my alter ego took over and decided that Shakir should kneel as punishment instead. And on Saturday, after all this drama, he will go to the spelling B and spell these same words like they are as easy as pie and he will do it with a smile and no one will ever know of the secret havoc and misery I endured. So tell me people - still a lawyer?
Its been a while since I've had the opportunity to blog. I kept saying soon and tomorrow but lately I haven't been able to drag my behind up to do much other than work and sleep... oh and yell at the kids. It wouldn't be life as usual if that wasn't part of it. And of course, toss in the part where you feel absolutely terrible because you know that all the experts say that you shouldn't let your anger get the best of you. Raise your hand if you're one of those moms that wonder if the experts that write this ish have kids and if they really practice what they preach.
Well anyway, the reason I've been so tired is because I am expecting baby number three. If I'm honest, I have to admit that the plan was to stick at number two, but sometimes life throws these little curve balls and instead of ducking, I raise my hand and like an expert, I try to catch them. Well, this time I got knocked flat on my ass.
Once I got past the initial shock and revelation that another baby was coming, I started thinking about how to go about sharing the news. To be more precise, I started thinking about the type of reactions I was going to get - reactions ranging from congratulations and the 'just how old or you' questions, to comments like 'again?' Yeah, I didn't feel like dealing with it. In fact, I haven't dealt with it. I haven't even told some of my closest friends yet and I'm already halfway through this journey. Plus, I distinctly remember a conversation last year between my boys where the two of them were quietly laughing at me and saying, 'Jay, you know mummy couldn't handle another one of we'. #SMH. Now the two of them are laying in wait and plotting my further demise once the other partner arrives to complete the terrible trio.
Did I mention that my husband has been praying for a girl this time around? I've told him having a girl won't make any difference with those two ruffian boys she'll have for brothers to inspire her into mischief. But, what can I say? He has always wanted a girl and he seems to have a mental image of a sweet, dainty, perfect miss. I actually doubled over and laughed at him. First: is he acquainted with our boys? And second: I've never been very dainty, although I'm very bookish. When my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, we played cricket with a ball and sticks and fooled around with our father's tools, though I doubt some of them can remember it. My sisters and I made mud coffee and grass soup in our backyard. Once, my older brother got it into his head to teach himself martial arts and since I was the youngest of us girls, he instructed me to jump on his back. I got so good at it that I would hide in the bedroom and ambush him as he passed. I guess you could say that pretty old pretty fast - at least for him.
It isn't that I'm expecting this new child be a holy terror or anything of the sort, but rather, I'm trying to keep an open mind and be realistic. I'd rather prepare myself for a handful and get a sweet bread than expect a quiet little angel and get the mouthy, little bowl of sunshine who will control everyone with its little finger. Dear Lord, give me strength. I don't think I'm ready for this.
aI took the kids to a party on independence day. For those who don't know, independence in Barbados is November 30th. They had quite a bit of things going on this day but I admit it is usually my choice to stay home. Its not that I don't like going out but the honest truth is, sometimes when I think about carting my boys along, its enough to make me just want to curl up in bed.
People who have kids, they never tell you the honest truth about what a chore it can be sometimes. If you're leaving the house and your destination isn't school or work, its probably to some kiddie-themed something and they never tell you that you get to be completely bored while your child has the time of his life. Now, if you've thought ahead, chances are you travel with a book to read or do crosswords or you find out which kids are going in the hopes that you know at least a couple of parents so you can have an adult conversation. Me, I really haven't got any friends these days and making friends has always been somewhat challenging for me, so I fit into the latter part of that equation most times. It finally paid off.
I had the brief pleasure of conversation with another parent. So starved am I for adult conversation outside of my family that I prattled on senselessly about all that I had seen and all about the children. Can you tell that I have absolutely nothing major going on in my life right now? Anyway, there I am all engrossed in conversation when Jaheim zooms past me in a blur of colour, so picture me mid-sentence, taking off behind him like some crazed person. I can't even remember apologising but the plus side to interacting with other parents is that no one bats an eyelash when you do something that would otherwise be considered weird.
Now, I forgot to mention that there were two parties going on at the facility and so when Jaheim decided to take flight, it was so that he could crash the other people's party for the sole purpose of going into their jumping tent. The jumping tent was completely empty of all the children who were eating and Jaheim was in there jumping around like there was nothing more fulfilling. I tell you, I almost climbed inside beside him and jumped up too, but no, he was party crashing. So like any good, dutiful super hero mom, I stood with my arms folded and my face stern and demanded that he come out right away. He did - laughing and giggling like he had made a big joke and I hadn't gotten the punch line. Me, I have the little monster bundled in my arms like a bolt of fabric and I'm breathing heavily as I take him back to the actual party he's at. Meanwhile, Shakir is in a line waiting to get his face painted and totally and completely oblivious that anything has happened.
A little later it was time to eat, so this landed me back in the centre of the storm, minding Shakir, Jaheim and one of Shakir's little friends. All of a sudden, the little boy looks at me as only a child could and asks if I could please allow Shakir to go to After Care. "Pardon?" I asked feeling like I had missed something. I actually told myself I had heard wrong - maybe he had said Art Splash centre or karate or tennis. But no. After Care. At school on evenings. Then, they began to list the merits of going to After Care. Apparently, you get extended play time and sometimes you watch movies and it is absolutely the most brilliant thing. At this point, I cast my eyes to where Jaheim was quietly eating and said a prayer of thanks to God that he, at least, was too concerned with filling his gut to tell me what great thing I should be doing for him as well. Calmly, I explained to the boys that my current arrangement is rather convenient and will remain in place until such time that I should feel necessary to change it. I was informed that there is simply not enough time designated between 9 and 3 to allow for them to play. Huh!
Well the day continued on with Jaheim finding a railing to swing on and later as I sat in their father's car regaling him with my adventures, Jaheim said the most brilliant thing. He said they needed to have jumping tents at the supermarkets for the kids. Right away, my husband and I began to consider the business potential of such an idea and we eventually shrugged our shoulders to think it had come straight out of the mouth of a babe.
As a young girl, I used to look forward to days of being able to watch reruns of Designing Women. I particularly liked the character, Julia Sugarbaker, played by Dixie Carter. Maybe it has something to do with the awful rumour that I am somewhat talkative, but I admired her tenacity. She wasn't easily intimidated and never backed down from an argument and she was highly opinionated. I used to love to watch as she would launch into one of her tirades, rendering anyone who opposed her into a pile of disintegrated debris. Perhaps its because I was never able to do that myself. Oh I talk a good talk, but when it comes to standing up for myself, I get the shakes, my eyes water with tears and the right words never come out. I hate it. Over the years I've grown stronger, but I still can never say exactly what I want to say when I need to. Julia Sugarbaker suffered no such fate.
Now, it is no secret that my son, Shakir, has been blessed with the gift of gab. At the moment, he has absolutely no problem challenging me when he thinks I am being unfair. I spoke to him one time about raising his voice to me and he asked me how I could accuse him of raising his voice when his father in the next room couldn't hear him. Now that's brass. Growing up, I would have gotten floored for something like that. Anyway, it was this morning that his father made the comment that if Shakir were a real super hero, he would certainly wear his enemies down by talking them to death. I got one of those big stupid grins on my face and I told him thanks. It makes sense to me and so I am going to breathe this to life in my little fantasy super hero world.
Most animated hero shows have repeatedly portrayed chatty villains who, before carrying out their heinous plan, would capture the hero and proceed to give length dialogue about their intentions, thereby buying the hero time to escape and defeat them. What if, my super hero son were to turn up and begin his own length dialogue about sporadic and mundane things like the sun being hot and fun facts like the fact that some animals are born blind at first? I think the villain would be thrown off and would actually begin to underestimate the super hero, who would be quite casually boring him to death, or at the very least, distracting him long enough for me to swoop in. I bet the criminal mastermind would beg me to place in prison or in an asylum in solitary confinement. This is worth considering. I really ought to capitalise on this child's expertise.
For the last couple of months, I've been telling you that my husband is a super villain. I've been keeping a secret journal which I plan to take to the oracle to see if there is anything that can be done to redeem him so it with a heavy heart that I must tell you that I fear his villainous ways may have rubbed off on Jaheim.
Like the one who came before him, Jaheim has a quick wit that at best leaves you shell-shocked and dumbfounded and at worst, puts him in trouble for rudeness. I've been watching him closely and it hasn't escaped my notice how easily he is able to put his brother in trouble. You'd think by now that Shakir would learn too, but Shakir is a super hero and like my brother says, super heroes are always hopeful that they can spark a reformation... or something like that, anyway. A fine example would be me giving them my consent to take a shower together, despite those warning bells that gonged loudly in my head. I gave them explicit instructions that there was to be no horsing around, no bickering, no jumping up and down in muddy puddles (to the geniuses behind Peppa Pig, take note that active boys in search of adventure need no further influence other than their minds) and they were to bathe properly, without soaking down the entire bathroom. It took less than five minutes for the bickering to start. The water, from the sound of things, was on full mast and from the snippets of arguments I picked up, neither of them were actually in the shower. Jaheim was in the toilet area, screaming that he needed to pee and Shakir held him at the middle, bossily telling him that he didn't know that all the time. Jaheim's feet were about two inches off the floor and they made a comical sight - Shakir trying desperately to carry Jaheim back to the shower and Jaheim thrashing about. Did I mention that the shower was on, at full mast? I gave Jaheim the first lash. He wailed loudly and scurried into the shower. Trying to give Shakir the lash could be likened to trying to dance with a left-footed partner - a lot of hard work. He got an extra lash for the extra effort. He scurried into the shower wailing. In true mother fashion, I yelled as loudly as I could, in my angst, "shut up!" Jaheim buttoned his lips, which wobbled for about a second or two, before he got himself under control. Shakir quietened but he kept wailing and moaning for another few minutes before he finally stopped. The funny thing about it is that Shakir could have easily saved himself the spanking if he had just complained for Jaheim. That's a lesson it feels like its taking him a lifetime to learn.
Also this week, I think it was Monday, Shakir asked me if it would be possible to grow up and become a real super hero. I asked him to explain, after all, I consider myself to be a real super hero. But when kids ask these questions, especially Shakir, I've leaned its best to ensure that we're both on the same page. Well, although I would rather not have heard it, I listened while he eloquently detailed what he was asking and I realised that he was actually speaking of catching real life criminals like real world iron man or green arrow. I was forced to tamp down the glowing pride that swelled inside me and explain that society would view him as a villain and refer to him as a vigilante. His work would not be appreciated. Then, later, I happened to see my super villain husband lift my two year old into his arms while saying, with a grin that spread from ear to ear, "come here, my super villain." It is imperative that speak with the oracle soon to find out what must be done to turn my husband away from his evil ways before he corrupts my young son.
Its been a crazy week. I've been battling with exhaustion and now, I'm battling a cold. I've also spent most of the minutes that I've been on line recently, searching for a means of publishing the book I've been writing for the last few years. I finally got serious about it and completed it last year and now, I'm to the editing stages. I admit that I haven't been juggling well and I kinda neglected the blog for a spell, but I assure you that I'm back. The world needs this working supermom, even if it doesn't know it yet!
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Shakir's school for a class level meeting. While most parents would be interested to hear from their child's teachers about how their progress and what challenges they face, I was more interested in hearing about his behaviour. I relaxed in my seat when she kindly informed me that he behaved well. She did mention a bit of rough play that the boys engage in at lunch time and he, along with a few others, had to be spoken to. No big deal there as far as I was concerned. She went on to discuss school work and like me, she is aware that the level of work he is doing isn't challenging to him. His main difficulty is his handwriting. So far so good.
She told me that Shakir likes to draw and will sometimes hurry down his work so he can ask for a piece of paper to draw. She went on to advise that he would doodle in his book beneath his desk when he thinks she isn't looking and that if something needs to be drawn on the board, he always volunteers to do it. By now, I admit that I was laughing heartily at the idea that my son's biggest transgression is that he draws. Then it all went downhill.
She mentioned that he told her he is learning to play the steel pan and the drums and sometime during that conversation, Shakir passed by to add that he was also interested in learning to play the piano and flute. That statement alone almost took my life. She began to talk about the cost of the lessons and the price of the instruments and all I could hear in my head was the loud mess it would sound like while he is at home practicing. I must have had at least dozen massive heart attacks while she engaged the boy in discussion about remembering her once he became a famous musician. In fact, the more I think about it, I'm fairly certain that I'm giving you this recount from the so-called 'other side'. "He like a piece of drumming," I recovered long enough to hear her say to me and that's when I remembered that there is another miniature musician living at my house.
That miniature musician, who is appropriately named Jaheim, can drum right along with Shakir to most beats. When Shakir is at steel pan rehearsal and Jaheim and I are waiting for it to be over, often times, Jaheim will tell me that the microphone needs to be plugged in so that he can sing. At home, he likes to strum the little toy guitar he owns and most recently, I noticed that he had it perched on his shoulder like a violin and he had a stick to play it with. At this point, I began to wonder where precisely I went wrong. I had planned to churn out artists and writers, not musicians. Let the musicians raise the musicians. Right now, my musician siblings are likely nodding their heads and smiling their pleasure at this small victory.
I have to go back to the drawing board and rethink how best to proceed with this situation, otherwise, heaven help me.
People are often shocked when they learn that Jaheim is only two. It isn't that he's big for his age, but rather, due to his vocabulary and apparent intellect. It was the same with Shakir. It seemed like Shakir took his time learning to speak and when he felt confident that he wouldn't stumble over his words, he started to talk. He shocked people by using words they never expected a child his age to know and it took ages for me to get some people to realise he was a whole year younger than they thought. He hasn't shut up yet either. Now Jaheim is more of the silent type who conveys his messages with just a raised eyebrow or a pout, etc. Don't be confused into thinking that he has any sort of difficulty expressing himself verbally though, because he doesn't.
The thing about Jaheim is that once he's interested in something, he'll sit quietly or for the length of its duration. Once, he sat in a pew at church during Shakir's steelpan lesson, never moving as he watched the instructor working with the children. On the other hand, Shakir is a little busybody, who needs to be constantly occupied or prepare yourself to talk a lot - either by disciplining him or by answering a lifetime of questions. Anyway, on Saturday, I, along with my cousin-in-law, took them to Chefette along with their cousin, who is also male and close to their age. That little boy is very intelligent and the three of them together are a triple threat. Those boys had the time of their lives running around Chefette's little playground and climbing the thing - I apologise, but I really don't know what they call it. It looks like a little obstacle course for lack of a better description and it has three levels. There is a sign that indicates that the upper level is for big kids. I dare them to tell that to my two year old. He sees the other children climbing to the highest level and he will try it. The first time I saw him do it, I was with my brother, who calmly shrugged his shoulders and asked me what my problem was. He told me his daughter was a little thing like Jaheim when she started climbing to that third level too, so I suppose there is a bit of monkey or acrobat in the family genes.
It was while we were on our way back home that we cut across the street to take a shortcut and halfway through the gap, we met a woman having car trouble. She asked if we knew any mechanics in the area. As luck would have it, there are two mechanics who work right in front of me, so I called my husband and asked him if he could get one of them to come over. While he tried to get it organised, I stayed with the lady. We were standing in a big open lot that looked like it was a vacant house spot. There were three large garbage cans turned on their sides on the pasture and someone had dumped an old tree on the property but there was plenty of space for them to run around. My cousin-in-law supervised while I talked to the woman and waited until my husband - the honorary mechanic of the day - came. Well, the boys had a good run around and then Jaheim decided that the twigs from the tree would make brilliant drumsticks and the cans could pass for steelpans. Soon, he was banging happily on a can and making what he considered to be music. This gave Shakir and Caleb the wonderful idea to do the same thing and soon the whole area was flooded with their loud melody. So there I was thinking that boys will be boys when my cousin-in-law started to sing. I hadn't thought things could get much worse before then. Deep in my heart, I said a prayer that my husband would come soon and that no one would call the police to have our little band removed from the area.
I'm told that when I was a child, I had the habit of talking in my sleep. As I grew older, I have even awakened in the mist of conversation, unsure of exactly what I was saying, but quite aware that I was speaking. It seems that I have somehow passed this trait on to Shakir. Its not something that happens terribly frequent and it usually more amusing than a bother. But last night, my dear, sweet son took it to a whole new level.
As it was, I was fast asleep. I'm a light sleeper so it doesn't take a whole lot to wake me. I would have to be extremely tired or sick and on medication. Anyway, it had to be close to 2 am when I felt a little hand slap me on my arm and in an annoyed manner, a boy's voice said, "get up!" Being a mom, the first thing that came to mind is that he has wet his bed or he has to go to the bathroom or something along those lines.
"What's the matter?" I asked, already on full alert. "Do you have to pee?" As I asked, my hand was searching the mattress for any signs of dampness, but there was none. "Are you having trouble breathing?" He has allergies and sometimes during the night, his nose is so congested that he can hardly breathe and I have to get up and squirt some nasal drops into his nose. So, there I was, completely concerned and ready to do whatever - super hero, right - when all of a sudden, right before my eyes, my son turned on his side and stretched out all catlike like he had never moved, and resumed a peaceful slumber.
I was like, what the hell is this? Can you believe that he had been dreaming something and while in the throes of sleep, he sat up and woke me up. He was totally oblivious to the fact too, so again, being a mom, I decided to take the opportunity to send him to the toilet to pass water. He got up and was completely disoriented so he started to turn left, when he should have turned right. I stopped him and he sat back down on the bed. Again, I gave him a nudge and sent him to the bathroom. The child gave me a venomous scowl like I was really about to be on the receiving end of a serious tongue-lashing, but he didn't speak. Finally understanding me, he disappeared in the direction of the bathroom. When he finally came back a couple minutes later, he climbed into his bed and curled into a fetal ball and went back to sleep before I could blink properly.
SIGH! A mother's job is never done!
Allison is mother to two active boys who challenge her on a day to day basis with their escapades. In her other life, Allison juggles a regular day job as a marketing executive in a health food organization. At night, when everyone is asleep, she dreams of being a fulltime writer and super hero.