When children begin preschool, it's not uncommon for parents to tuck a note inside their lunchboxes as a gentle reminder that they are still thinking of them.
But one father in Kensington, Maryland, has taken the task to a, ahem, Marvel-ous new level.
For the last year and a half, Brent Almond, who blogs at DesignerDaddy.com and is on Instagram at @SuperLunchNotes, has been surprising his son with super-cute, superhero-themed Post-It Notes that use characters such as the Hulk, Thor and Darth Vader to deliver humorous and inspiring messages.
"My son, Jon, started preschool last year and for the first day of school I drew a Batman on a Post-It Note and wrote 'Go get 'em, Jon,'" Almond told ABC News. "And then I kept putting in notes for the first week. He really liked it and I had a lot of fun with it, so I just kept doing it after that."
Almond, who grew up drawing superheroes and now works as a full-time independent graphic designer, with clients including NPR, The Brady Campaign and the Nature Conservancy, admitted that the notes have been a learning experience for both father and son.
"We watch a lot of cartoons and movies together. There are so many different ways to introduce kids to characters, but one of my rules is that I never use one that he isn't already familiar with," Almond said. "The only time he's ever not known was when I drew a female character called Black Canary, and he thought it was Lady Gaga."
When Jon started liking characters that Almond hadn't grown up with himself, he had to do some reconnaissance.
"Power Rangers and Transformers are really hard to draw!" he said. "So I had to familiarize myself with those."
Almond intends to keep up the lunch notes until his son asks him to stop. But so far, it seems to be keeping them both entertained.
"The only time he's ever been a little embarrassed was when I did a 'female superhero-themed week' and there were five girls in his lunchbox that week," said Almond. "But I still try to mix in a lot of female characters and characters of color that don't get a lot of exposure."
Jon is just 5 years old, so often his father or his teacher will read the notes to him. In some cases, the project has also encouraged a widened vocabulary.
"He's learned some new words and to make puns," said Almond. "And now, he's requested a couple of notes like a pic of Godzilla that said, 'Have a roar day,' or more recently, 'More snow. Yay,' which was a lesson on sarcasm."
When he is not drawing on Post-it notes for his son, Almond is a full-time graphic designer.
"I've been working for myself since 2002, and it's been pretty successful," he said. "Then, when we started a family, my husband is an attorney, so it was a lot easier for me to be flexible and handle all of the childcare."
Sometimes, his lunch notes have even attracted the interest of potential clients.
"I wrote a note for Jon that said, 'Even Avengers raise their hand,' that his teacher really liked and read to the entire class," he said. "After that, a couple of teachers asked me if I ever sell the drawings. But I can't sell them because of copyright, obviously. Still, it's cool that they've been teaching tools for teachers sometimes, too."