Parenting and life lessons for mom in the form of a Skylanders t-shirt

by sesame on January 13, 2014


Kieran has quickly become a full Skylanders fan after getting the Giants version for Christmas. Before actually having the game, he inherited some Skylanders t-shirts in a fantastic lot of hand-me-downs from our friend’s son. Kieran would wear them to kinder and from the reaction of the other boys, gleaned that whatever Skylanders was, it was pretty awesome. 

I never loved the shirts on a purely selfish aesthetic bias.  They are busy and garish and branded. Not really the type of shirt I can photograph him in. Today we were rushing around to get my brother, sister-in-law, husband and oldest daughter off to the tennis. I needed to spend the day doing some photography and required the twins as my models. In an effort to be extremely helpful, Kieran got himself dressed in one of the Skylanders t-shirts with some shorts and proudly came to show off. For a moment I thought about asking him to change his shirt, but he was so happy. He had expressed himself with his clothes…this was his five year old way of telling the world what made him tick. How could I then say that the shirt he picked was not attractive enough to be photographed? It was almost equal to saying that he, himself wasn’t worthy to be in the pictures because his outward appearance wasn’t my idea of pretty.

So I smiled and told him that he did a great job. Because he had.




After taking the others to the train, the twins and I ran some errands. In one shop we rounded a clothing rack and came face to face with another small brown haired boy in a Skylanders t-shirt running errands with his dad. What transpired over the next ten minutes was a huge life and parenting lesson for me. The two boys immediately struck up a conversation about their shared love of Skylanders and five minutes into it they were practically best friends. By the time we had to pull them apart, parent emails had been exchanged and the promise of a playdate was made. 

So how do you start to categorise this world if you are five? What signals the prospect of potential friendship in a stranger on the playground? Well, you wear a t-shirt featuring your favourite stuff. Or as Clover does, you proudly pop on the hideous Barbie sun hat when going to the park. They are expressing themselves and their interests just like the goths and their black eyeliner and clothing or the hipsters on single speed bikes wearing brogues without socks. 

I get it now kid. And I am really proud that you are happy with who you are.


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    { 6 comments… read them below or add one }

    angela January 13, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    when he is finished that playdate, i have another one ready for him in montreal. my alex and his skylanders are waiting;). my little one is my youngest, and i have seen this happen over the years for my oldest with pokemon. it is boy code on how to make friends. it took me a while to get it. now? embracing it.


    Casey January 14, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Awesome story!! I usually hate the licensed apparel because it is generally always busy, overpriced, and usually clashes with wherever I want to photograph them! But I’m slowly coming around on all of those points. My son is 6 and in kindergarten, and at that age where you really do bond over something as simple as a tshirt (in my son’s case it was TMNT and backpacks).

    He also got the Skylanders Giants game this past Christmas, so it’s all the rave in our house right now. Love these pictures, and the story you’ll have to go along with them forever!!


    Angie Baxter January 14, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Love this one, you! xo


    Fi January 14, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I love you, Rachel Devine! Your posts so often perfectly describe what I (and i’m sure another million mums!) often feel but just don’t know how to put into words! This post is a beauty :)


    Tim M January 15, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Awesome read. Made me smile a lot! :)

    Just for the record does Kieran have a pair of brogues that match the Skylander t-shirt?


    Barry Cail January 16, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    I just logged-onto your site Rachel and read this! So well articulated and conveyed. By the way, for those who don’t know, I am the other parent who Rachel, Kieran and Clover ran into! The reaction of the Boys was priceless and left little for Rachel and I to do but “fall into line.” Skylanders are the perfect ice-breaker for kids. It is like a club for them and I could never foresee the excitement that they would generate. It is about self-expresion. Thanks for sharing Rachel.


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