Friday, March 18, 2011

Grown-up vs. Geeky?

Despite the growing number of adults who love anime, video games, sci-fi and fantasy, the general public consensus seems to be that these pursuits are immature. Even the open-minded tend to harbor this belief somewhere; I'm guilty of it myself. The clearest evidence is my home. The decor in the living room and kitchen is hardly what one would call geek-chic. It sneaks in occasionally, like the kanji plaques on the living room wall or the pixel-art magnets on the fridge, but for the most part our nerdy art and collectibles are kept to the home office or my crafting space. I can't really explain why I don't want to geek out our whole home. Maybe it just feels too much like a dorm room or bachelor pad without going to the trouble and expense of getting all our artwork framed. Maybe the bold colors that tend to dominate nerd culture don't mesh well with our furniture. Or maybe, just maybe, part of me cares about what people think, no matter how much I tell myself that I don't.

The nerdiness has found another foot hold as we put together the offspring's new "big girl" bedroom. In my effort to gather cute things I accidentally (or is it subconsciously?) ended up with a mostly Japanese-themed room, including a sweet little Totoro print for the wall. Maybe some day I will have the courage to let the geek spread futher; I know I will have 1337 D4ddy's full support if I want to make our kitchen Dr. Who themed (we already have a Tardis cookie jar, after all) or if I suggest covering our living room with anime art. I suppose only time will tell.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year...

I haven't been posting for a while here. Partly it's because this nerd-lifestyle blogging is harder than I thought. I think parenthood and other adult responsibilities have forced us to normalize a little. When you can't rush out to buy every Lego set or video game that fills your nerdy heart with desire, the passion can wane a little. Christmas did bring an iPhone into our home, but it belongs to 1337 D4ddy.

I'm also spending some of my time posting at a new blog, to indulge my slightly (but only slightly) less nerdy, Martha Stewart wannabe side. This side of me is not necessarily interested in insider trading and the associated jail time.

But this is a new year. The offspring is older and I owe it to myself to get back in touch with my roots and myself. We have the good fortune of being able to attend Naka-kon again, this time with friends. My mother is bringing my younger brother, and we're trading kids. If I don't have to lug a diaper bag and stroller, it means I can lug a Ball Jointed Doll in full costume instead! I'm looking forward to wearing anime accessories without a toddler tugging on them, too. I might have to take her with us to get autographs though. She was such a big hit with the celebs last year.

Other than taking more time for myself and some home projects, I don't know what 2011 holds for us. If parenthood has taught me only one thing, it is that plans can always change- and often do.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Holidays Ahead!

I like Thanksgiving. Food and family, what's not to like? But when it comes to holidays I really have to give it to Christmas. First and foremost it is about celebrating the birth of Christ. I really don't care that Jesus was not actually born in December, or that the Christian church only chose to celebrate during this season to keep people from participating in a pagan fertility holiday. I don't care that the Christmas tree, the feasting, and the gift-giving are all carried over from said fertility holiday. That doesn't change the meaning of the season for me. No matter what the circumstances of my life as a whole, Christmas always leaves me feeling fulfilled and blessed. It's hard not to feel God's presence when you are surrounded by people who love you.

If there is any one tradition that I'd like to pass on to my daughter and any future children, it is simply that they be surrounded by family. I can't imagine a Christmas season without going to three or four family gatherings, minimum. Sometimes it seems overwhelming to schedule them all, especially now that I am married and we have even more family members to see. I imagine that if we lived far away from family I would scrimp and save all year to travel home. I love having everyone together.

Do remember though, I am a nerd. Not all of my holiday memories are pulled from Hallmark cards. Whenever my parents claim that they are not nerds, I remember a holiday tradition that, sadly, stopped when I moved out. My parents worked at school so we had a vacation all the way through the new year, and in the vacation days after Christmas we would watch the original Star Wars trilogy. With the movies fresh in our minds, we gathered around the table to play Star Wars trivia. My dad was always Darth Vader. Still, they won't label themselves nerds... I suppose I'll let them slide since I won so often.

Even my nerdy memories are about family. They're not always cool, or easy to put up with, but if I didn't have family I might as well have nothing.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mama Drama!

I wanted to make a Thankful post tonight, but instead I feel like I should write on a topic that has been bothering me.

I've seen it all over the place lately: mothers putting down other mothers, women insulting women, and always over petty issues. It's ridiculous. And I don't care if you do it without naming names, or if you hide it under the veil of "just your opinion". Your opinion, when you express it in a way that is derogatory, inflammatory, and self-righteous, can hurt people. And if you're okay with that, all I can say is that I'm sad for you.

I say 'you' not because I have anyone in mind, but because we have all been guilty of it. I have, too. It's so easy to sit in judgement, to pretend we know best. But what's the point? Who are we helping when we raise ourselves on a pedestal? And how will it ever change the world for the better?

If I were to bring my past self forward in time and tell her to give her opinion of my life, I think she would judge me harshly. After all, my daughter barely naps, gladly ignores the word 'no', climbs like a maniac, and sleeps in our bed despite my best efforts. I never thought this would be me. The only thing separating the two of us is the experience of raising the offspring, but it makes a world of difference. So how can you possibly criticize someone without knowing what they have gone through? What makes you think that your so-called success could repeat itself in their situation, or that your choices would make them happy?

I do have something to be thankful for. I have met a unique community of women with low doses of drama, gossip, and general unpleasantness. Some of us have nothing in common other than having children born in the same month, but we get along. Every woman should be able to find that kind of support system, but too often someone decides to be catty, or worse. It can ruin a woman. Words hurt.

Next time you decide the internet is your personal high horse, think again. If you really want someone to hear you, try treating them with respect. Educate instead of lecture, think instead of rant. Remember that your words have power, but with power comes responsibility.

Yes, I had to make that reference. This is a nerd blog after all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One Year

Tomorrow is the offspring's first birthday. It seems like it has been a short year and has gone by far too quickly, but I know all parents say that. All day I have been remembering the twenty four hours leading up to her birth. I had been having so many contractions, and I was more than ready to lose twenty pounds or so. I love my daughter immensely, but pregnancy, especially that last month or so, is not really appealing to me. I was done. I was so lucky to have a relatively short and easy labor. I had time to chat with friends and family, make a number of facebook posts, and play a little Mario Kart to distract myself from contractions pre-epidural. I was able to genuinely enjoy my labor and delivery and all my memories are so great!

Even though I love to reminisce about those early days, I am glad the offspring is getting older because she is so much fun. Every day she learns and her personality grows. When she was tiny I could admire her tiny face, ears, nose, hands and toes. Now she can tell me where all of them are. I used to have to wave toys in front of her face to get a smile, but now she can fetch them for herself, often retrieving the one that I ask for. Many times she will wave them around to get our attention instead! There is not a single moment or memory that I would trade to reverse time, even the days of reflux and teething. I've discovered some of her favorite activities while trying to soothe or distract her.

Happy birthday to you, little one, and may the years to come be as blessed as the first!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Creating Creativity

Even though I'm making this post as an entry for a giveaway from Cotton Babies, it's something I've been meaning to discuss for a while. Creativity is very important to me, and I want to see the offspring blossom into an imaginative child. At eleven months (four days shy, how time flies!) it's impossible to know what talents she will have, so right now it is all about creating a mindset.

Right now, she loves to dance, so we dance every day! Whether it is just singing silly songs or playing CDs to see what she likes, there is a lot of music in our house these days. She loves it all, from mommy singing the alphabet to rocking guitars! She definitely has her own moves and I don't know where she got them, so she is already getting creative there.

I think making independent choices is very important to creativity, too, so the offspring helps choose her clothes almost every day. For now her choices are limited, but she gets to pick from two or three options. She is showing preferences towards bright colors and bold patterns, which of course I love. It's great to dress her and know that she likes her clothes, and thinks she looks good.

Most of all I try to get her to use her imagination every day. She is welcome to play with some of my plastic bowls, and she takes the offer gladly. Some days they are drums, other days they are baskets for collecting smaller toys, and still other days they are hats. And some days, they are all three! I want to keep buying her toys that will encourage her imagination instead of just flashing lights at her. She does love gadgets like a proper little nerd baby, but there is so much more to life. For her upcoming birthday she is getting Megabloks so that she can build whatever she can dream up. For Christmas I plan to get toy food so that she can pretend to be a gourmet chef, or run a grocery store, or be a mommy cooking for her baby doll. And when she is old enough to hold them she'll get crayons and I will draw with her every day, because even at 23 I think crayons are one of the best things on Earth.

Creativity is a muscle, and if you don't nurture it, you can atrophy. I'll keep exercising the offspring's creativity every day!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Educating the Offspring

So, while I don't like to brag about it, it's easiest to start off this entry explaining that the offspring seems to have above average intelligence. She is hitting milestones early and has very high comprehension skills for her age. 1337 D4ddy and I aren't exactly slackers in the IQ department so I can't say I'm shocked, but even knowing it's likely doesn't fully prepare a person to raise a gifted child.

I worry about whether I am stimulating the offspring enough to help her reach her potential. We talk and I teach her words every day, we read pretty much every day, and we are already introducing the alphabet and colors into her daily play too. But the world throws lots of early education "opportunities" at parents these days and it keeps me curious. Do I need to get "Your Baby Can Read"? Do I need to buy sign language DVDs? Do I need to make baby lesson books?

Right now my answer is no. The offspring is learning really well without any formal lessons and I don't want to interrupt it. I want her to grow into her brains and talents naturally, without being pushed too hard in any one direction. This isn't to say that I disagree with any parents that do choose baby education. I haven't completely ruled out doing it in the future. But the offspring has so far shown a fondness for learning in her own way and I'm not going to make her change. I want to encourage her imagination, too. After all, she will have years and years of school to teach her, but only five years to stay home and play!