Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Parenting like a Geek

When you have kids, you can decorate a “Star Wars” themed room, wear cosplay and buy action figures without any judgment; you can always say “its for the kids.” Deep down, one desire of every geek parent, is that our kids will be indoctrinated with our geekiness. Yesterday, as we drove home from school I was bellowing “Why Does Dad Get So Mad?” It’s a song about the “Star Wars” generational gap, written and recorded by The Board of Education (if you have never heard of this song, you must listen immediately). At the stoplight I realized my 5-year old daughter Inara, & 3-year old son Nathan were singing equally as loud and likely more on key. It seems that my hopes to raise two well-adjusted geek/feminist children is off to a good start.

Parenting is a game in the Cruz-Boone household. Each day our kids complete tasks such as napping or cleaning their room for stickers on their chart. After five stickers they earn a treasure from their boxes. With summer looming we are bracing for a few months without preschool. To help prepare we have re-introduced and emphasized the importance of the chart. The kids are at an age when this reward system has reached a fun arc.

The superhero themed chart is daddy-designed by request and includes characters ranging from Spidey and Buffy to Pinky-Pie and Diego. The treasure box is filled with treasures that are child-chosen and daddy-approved. Other items in the treasure chest are previously owned toys in purgatory for a child’s poor behavior.

The toys that are selected for the box are a learning moment for the kids. On yet another tour of Target, my partner recently helped select figures from the impending Spiderman movie, because he wanted to make sure “he” (which I assume means our son Nathan) did not miss collecting his favorite characters. On the same trip my daughter looked for Merida toys, and she and her father agreed that getting “an itchy dress” is not nearly as awesome as waiting for a toy she can actually do something with. I am proud that my partner did not just give in, and buy my daughter yet another Barbie or dress, which is not to say she does not own any barbies or dresses. It is important to emphasize that only having dress up toys defeats the purpose of a character like Merida, a point that was not lost on my little girl.

This morning my daughter was beaming with pride to show me her new sticker chart that included “Buffy.” I asked if she knew who Buffy actually is, she said that she is “a super-hero that beats up bad-guys.” Her assessment was both accurate and exciting for me as a mother, that my daughter is enthusiastic about a female superhero for the right reasons. She went on to explain that she is not allowed to watch all of Mommy’s Buffy show because it is too grown-up but when she is a kindergartner she plans to “explain to Daddy she is ready for grown up shows.” Part of me cannot wait to read “Hunger Games” and “Harry Potter” and of course watch and read “Buffy” with my kiddos but for now I am relishing in the fact that they are already becoming geeks.