Batman and Bach

IMG_1727-600x250At his suggestion request, my younger son received two beloved items for his fifth birthday earlier this year. One was a strikingly authentic, midnight-black Batman costume, cape to cowl, everything a little boy needs to patrol the streets of Gotham on the lookout for evildoers. Did he like it? Let’s see – beginning with our traditional birthday breakfast at Peppermint’s restaurant, he was costumed for roughly three-quarters of his waking day, drawing some interesting looks while he tried to manage the challenging job of eating pancakes while wearing a plastic mask.

The other gift was a CD of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Though he hadn’t requested Bach specifically, the album was part of a line of radio theater-style programs which weave the music of classical composers into the story. Like his Batman costume, the CD went over like gangbusters. He listened to the CD in its entirety three times a day – that’s a safe estimate, mind you – for the next two weeks, gulping down the music of Bach like he had done with similar recordings featuring Beethoven, Handel, and Tchaikovsky.

Batman and Bach. Go figure. Could you have picked more contradictory interests? But that’s my son. Both of my boys, in fact. They’re walking contradictions. They love action figures, lightsabers, and … the Moonlight Sonata. There was actually a moment when the strains of a Bach cantata drifted out of the stereo speakers while my son leaped from the couch at his older brother yelling, “Come and face justice, Bane!”

So what do we do with these seemingly dichotomous elements of our children’s personalities?

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