Three-year-old Kaylieann Steinbach decided to step it up a notch for her preschool photo this year.
The superhero superfan had just one outfit in mind that day — her Supergirl costume.
“I had a normal school day outfit picked out for her,” Kaylieann’s dad, Austin Steinbach, tells PEOPLE. “But when she saw it, she said, ‘No, Supergirl!’
“I said I’d take the heat if mom gets mad.”
But when mom Jami, 28, saw her toddler’s school picture, she couldn’t hide a smile.
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“She though the picture was adorable,” Austin, 27, says. “Especially the prom-style pose with her Superman doll!”
Indeed, the Rocklin, California, toddler is hardly ever without her beloved Superman sidekick.
“She takes it everywhere with her,” Austin says, laughing. “She sleeps with it, takes baths with it — it’s with her right now at school!”
When Austin shared his daughter’s school photo on Reddit, he never could have imagined the reaction it received.
“It’s surreal. But what I’m most surprised about is the reaction from the deaf community,” he says.
If you look closely at the photo, you’ll see that in addition to her velvet cape and dress, Kaylieann is wearing a hearing aid.
“I couldn’t believe people noticed,” Austin says. “She’s 75 percent deaf in both ears and wears a hearing aid.”
“She wasn’t born deaf,” Austin continues. “It wasn’t until she was 2½ years old that we found out she was deaf. Doctors haven’t been able to tell us why.
“It’s been an eye-opening experience. She has a speech therapist and an audiologist and we work with her on sign language. But she attends a regular auditory school.
And Kaylieann’s friends at school can’t get enough of her daily dress-up either. Austin says they like to guess what she’ll show up to class wearing each day.
The little girl isn’t the only family member with a deep love for superheroes.
“It’s on me, I’m a huge nerd and love all that stuff. I used to dress her up as an infant,” Austin says.
Kayliann’s dress-up doesn’t stop at Supergirl.
“She loves Superman and Supergirl — the cape is her favorite. But she also really likes Spiderman, The Hulk, Thor and Wonder Woman.
“She’s starting to get into dolls and Barbies, but she still loves superheroes.”
Austin adds, “Since she can’t really hear the TV, she spends all her time dressing up in costumes and playing superheroes.
“I love it.”