Last year, before the beginning of preschool, we performed the ritual of Gathering New School Supplies. I know getting new school supplies is fun, but the most fun (probably for me) is getting a new backpack and lunchbox. So I asked Myla what sort of backpack she wanted, and without hesitation, she insisted “NIGHTCRAWLER.”
She had first seen him during a kid’s Superhero Summer Camp, where she was introduced to X-Men Evolution–a Saturday-Morning-style cartoon, apparently about the teenage versions of some of the X-men. Kurt (aka: Nightcrawler) was goofy, jokey, silly and had a tail. She loved him instantly.
But since the X-Men aren’t really the height of current backpack fashion–let alone a Nightcrawler version–we decided to make our own. I ordered a cheap plain navy blue backpack from Amazon, and I got out some acrylic craft paints. I let her paint the main portion of it (since she practically begged me).
And she was ecstatic. She was so proud of that obscure backpack! I tried to casually prepare her for strange looks by telling her that most kids might not know who Nightcrawler was, and she said, “Well, I’ll just have to teach them.” I had some red puffy paint, so I added the “circle x” X-men symbol on each side, and although no kid in school knew who he was, she was so willing and happy to tell them all about the wonders of Nightcrawler.
Her Nightcrawler obsession lasted for quite awhile. We even turned her into Nightcrawler for Halloween…
Sadly, the cheaply-bought backpack was short-lived, as the zipper on it died before the school year ended, so it was promptly replaced with a Ninja Turtle-shell backpack (strange choice, since she’s never even WATCHED the Ninja Turtles…but she thought the turtle shell was cool). Ah, the fickle obsessions of a kid.
Her interests have evolved as quickly as the X-Men’s powers, and Kurt has now paved the way for Minecraft, Phineas and Ferb, and all kinds of other creatures. But I know she’ll always have a soft spot for Nightcrawler.
In any case, if your kid (or you) has a great love of a character you know will never be seen on the school supply shelves of your local stores, painting one on might be a good option! Or if painting skills aren’t your thing, there are iron-ons, patches, and transfers you can order online or get at the craft store.
And for all of you that have kids starting new adventures, good luck, and happy school year!