Thursday, June 2, 2011

My daughter, the nerd

After something of a rough start with dinner, we had a really pleasant Wacky Wednesday. Our movie was High School Musical, a film for which I actually have some amount of affection. We first saw it when Lily was just a little baby and she grooved the music back then. We recently assembled a mix CD for her, and let her pick out the songs. It was an eclectic mix drawing on Mary Poppins, the Sound of Music, Belle & Sebastian, the Nightmare Before Christmas and High School Musical. She really likes the finale, "We're all in this together".

She was just a tiny baby the last time she saw the movie, so she wasn't that familiar with the songs that aren't on her mix CD. One of them was "Stick to the stuff you know" where the various peer groups caution their members not to engage in activities that clash with the perception of the groups.

We were trying to tell Lily that this is bad advice; that it's okay to like lots of different things. The example I gave is that it's okay to like princesses and super heroes. And Lily said, "Oh, I like lots of different superheroes. I like Ben 10 and Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad and Batman and Supergirl and Robin and Brainy." And I realized that she had become a nerd without me even realizing it.

It reminded me of something Sarah Vowell had mentioned, and which I quoted in this blog post.

Geeks tend to be focused on very narrow fields of endeavor. The modern geek has been generally dismissed by society because their passions are viewed as trivial by those people who ‘see the big picture.’ Geeks understand that the big picture is pixilated and their high level of contribution in small areas grows the picture. They don’t need to see what everyone else is doing to make their part better. Being a nerd, which is to say going to far and caring too much about a subject, is the best way to make friends I know. For me, the spark that turns an acquaintance into a friend has usually been kindled by some shared enthusiasm like detective novels or Ulysses S. Grant.

You repeat Lily's statement to somebody not interested in superheroes and what they hear is "I like some superhero and some superhero and some superhero and some superhero and some superhero and some superhero and some superhero." There are no meaningful distinctions between the different characters for someone outside the subculture.

We finished watching the movie and progressed on to bedtime (the bedtime story happened to be Sesame Street and not superheroes, doubtless to Jen's relief)

She was really sweet this morning too. I was sitting at the computer and she pressed on her gate and started to say “Mommy, daddy, I’m-“ and the gate swung open and she said, “oh, that was easy.”

Then she came over the computer and said, “Can I make a superhero?” We had done this once before. City of Heroes has a zillion options to make a character. You can choose all these different capes and pants and everything, and can color them each individually. So Lily really enjoyed that. We spent maybe 15 minutes doing that. I took a screenshot of the result. That’s Violet Rose Petal and that swoosh you see next to her is the sneezing powder she throws.  That’s a nice costume, but, boy, those colors are a little…garish.

Note to self: Have Lily tested for color blindness next time we head to the pediatrician’s office.
She followed me out to the car as she often does and "surprised" me with a hug and a kiss. I realized that I forgot the cap that I use to keep the sun out of my eyes and she ran back in and got it, then signed "I love you" to me in sign language, twice.

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