From Dinosaurs to Bat Girl!

My four year old daughter, Alice, is going through a “Batgirl” phase. Normally she’s big into her Dora, Princess and more recently Barbies. But she’s always had a thing about cars and trains (her oldest cousin was also big into them) and also dinosaurs, which is just as cool.

The Bat Girl thing, I think comes from her male peers in her school talking about Superman and Batman and also more than occasionally we’d sit and watch cartoons together, such as Avatar: the Last Airbender (Alice thought she was the female waterbender), Ben 10 (Ben is actually Alice’s cousin) and obviously Batman. There was an evening when we were talking about Batman, Robin and Batgirl and I looked up Batgirl on Wikipedia to find her real name. Now we have a little game she plays sometimes where she says “Hi Commissioner Gordon” and I reply with “Hi Barbara Gordon”. (If you didn’t know, the most common incarnation of Batgirl is as Commissioner Gordon’s daughter). We’ve even had to buy her a graphic novel (of the cartoon of course), and I’ve read from it every night for the last few weeks. I’ve got my hands on season 3 of “The Batman” cartoon that features the arrival of Batgirl. She now knows most of the major Batman super-villains. I’ve even done some images for her, ones that she can colour herself (the colour example is actually mine, not hers…).

The thing is, before I had kids, I never really liked Robin, Batgirl or any of the other “sidekick” characters. They always detracted from, what I thought Batman was all about. It’s perhaps unsurprising now that as an parent, I appreciate the kid friendly nature of sidekicks. Alice sees Batman as a family: Batman as father, Catwoman as mother (?), Robin as brother and Batgirl as sister (herself). (I don’t know where Alfred fits into it!)

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