One of the few words Malachi regularly says is "hero." He will say "badguy" too, but mostly what I hear is "hero."
Heroes are a bit of a big deal hereabouts.
And in that annoying motherly way that I have fully embraced I am always trying to turn it around into some sort of lesson.
"Heroes fight bad guys like this!" Zeke will proclaim while he flips around the livingroom wildly, punching and kicking with a wild abandon, "Pow, Pkshaw!" Malachi, wanting to join in but also aware that he is much more stout and much less agile then his brother, crouches down and does a sort of tai bo punching the air in front of him bit.
I sneak in, "Yes, and heroes help people that are in trouble."
"Spiderman is a super hero." Zeke will suddenly announce in that way he has, full of knowledge, over his mac and cheese.
"Heroooo!" Mal will add for emphasis.
"You know who else is a hero?" I will attempt, "Daddy is a hero. He works hard every day at his job, and then he always comes home and helps us make dinner and take baths." But they are already sword fighting with their forks, ignoring me.
"Heroes are strong!" Zeke will yell, jumping off the couch in a superman pose.
"They are strong, and they are also kind." I will helpfully add.
But he just ignores me, "Momma, be the princess and I will kiss you and wake you up." And I lay back on the couch while the boys take turns fighting the dragon and bestowing a kiss to break my spell-sleep.
In the end I mostly gave up. The image of the hero that's been built by the Disney movies we let them watch, the old school video games they play with Josh, the fairy tales I read, and the comic book figurines and posters we are culturally surrounded by is just too strong for one momma to overthrow.
But the other day I heard Malachi's voice, "Heroooo!"
And Zeke came bounding into the bathroom, "I'm a hero! I can help you!"
...maybe that image can be nudged a bit after all.
Two heroes who have dressed themselves to play in the rain. A hero always has a flashlight.