Zen and the Art of Automotive Maintenance…

“Here we go with the cars again,” I’ve complained to IncrediMom on more than one occasion. What had been a cute quirk—my son’s fascination with cars — was getting out of hand. No child needs seven Lightning McQueens, and yet here we are. The quest for cars usually takes over a routine trip to Target as well.

I knew I had to bite my tongue. We all have our interests. IncrediMom loves Broadway musicals. I have my superheroes, and even though we had no interest in them (at first), cars still holds a special place in our son’s heart.

So we did what we thought would help nurture it even more. We watched Cars 3 once a day. We’d run to the window with him whenever the Ice Cream Truck rolled down our block. We’d ask to sit near windows at restaurants so he could yell out “Car!” every ten seconds (Go ahead and laugh, but you do what is necessary to enjoy a meal in public when you have a toddler). And of course, we bought as many Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Batmobiles, and Fire Trucks as we could. Don’t believe me? Our living room is filled with them.

He has other interests of course but nothing compares to his love of cars. We even took him to the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California to see the real Batmobile and Disneyland to see the real Lightning McQueen.

At some point, our sidekick’s interests can feel overwhelming. Especially when it can determine our day (like watching cars instead of eating lunch). Still, I think we should encourage his interests, no matter how annoying or different they may be to us seasoned superheroes. Here’s why,

Besides the obvious fact that it’s easier to teach someone about something they have an interest in, it’s also a great way to connect with them. Let’s say your sidekick is interested in cars. Imagine how much he’ll want to share what he knows. Maybe you can borrow books about corvettes or take him to the local cruise night? The important thing is that you are sharing those moments with him. I guarantee this is the perfect way to get your sidekick to express themselves with uncontrollable enthusiasm (even if they can’t quite use all their words yet, they’ll still babble your ears off!).

Us IncreiParents sometimes make the mistake of forcing our interests on our kids. It’s one thing to share your love of your Batman with your sidekick. It’s another to expect him to hold that same interest. But trust me, he will love Batman too.

I’ve learned more about Boy Wonder when I let him lead me to whatever interests him. It’s taught me to focus on smaller things. A walk down the car aisle as a reward for good behavior. Time spent behind the driver’s seat will make his day (and you should see how he handles the freeways!) Watching Cars 3 when there’s a Yankee’s game on because he was polite enough to say “Pleeeease”. I feel like the more I nurture his interests, I learn more about him than ever before.

So IncrediParents, what are some weird hobbies your kids have had? We here in the Dad Cave can’t wait to read your comments below!

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