Belated Father’s Day: Nerd Style
by Kevin Rigdon (@pralix1138)
This past Sunday was Father’s Day, or so the greeting card companies tell me. We don’t really do the various “days” in our house. I like to think that every day is my day, and my every whim should be entertained. Of course that never happens, but I live with it. I cope. It helps that being a dad actually lends some sort of legitimacy to my various nerdy hobbies and interests.
It also gives you permission to tell the best stories, like the time, when my daughter was still in pull-ups and relatively well-behaved, and my wife and I thought it would be safe to venture out to a local eatery. Things were going great until about halfway through the meal when the wee one started projectile puking in every direction like a demon-possessed lawn sprinkler. I got it, my wife got hit, the food got hit, the people in the booth behind us got hit-she’s a very thorough demonic sprinkler. We tried to clean everything up. We changed her clothes and everything, then round two hit. I tell you, having a child will make you question the laws of physics (how much of this stuff can one, small body hold?)…or your spirituality (where’s the nearest exorcist?).
Ah, good times. She’s older now and less prone to spewing her vengeance upon all she surveys, but the fun hasn’t stopped. It’s actually gotten better, because throughout her years we’ve been able to participate in some nerdy pursuits together, and I’ve noticed my friends with kids are doing the same. So, I’d like to set out a few of the nerdy things that you can do with your kids.
Table Top Miniature War Games Sounds kind of ridiculous, I suppose, but it’s really not. My daughter loves art. Loves to paint, draw, color, and so on. For about five years of her life, every time I ordered new figs for my armies, I had to make sure to order her something so we could paint together. She never cared for building the armies, learning the rules, or actually playing the war games, but she’s always loved painting the minis with me.
Video Games I am a guy. I like blowing stuff up. I like slaying Dark Spawn, and Geth, and all manner of bad guys. But I also love “family” style games. My daughter has loved video games for a good long while now. At first, we played Club Penguin and Ratchet and Clank, Mario and stuff like that. Then we moved on to ToonTown Online her first MMORPG. It was wonderful-and frustrating-but mostly wonderful. It was a frustrating because when we played, she wanted to run around and explore, and do the mini games. I wanted combat, and I’ve always been a big fan of toon on toon violence. It’s a short jump from there to co-op games and the like.
Tabletop Roleplaying Games I have to admit I’ve had no experience with this, because my daughter isn’t really interested in them (yet), but some friends of mine play tabletop RPGs with their kids. As a matter of fact, they have a gaming group of parents and children, and it seems to be working well. And why wouldn’t it? In gaming sessions, people learn how to work together. They learn compromise, and putting the party first. They can even learn justice, mercy, and so on. It is a great teaching and socialization tool.
All Things Disney One doesn’t need children to be obsessed with Disney, but when you’re able to pass on that obsession to a new generation, it’s quite satisfying. Our family would live in Disney World if we could. Movies, TV shows, clothing, cups and glasses, clothes, smart phone covers, toys, you name it. We’ve shared our love of Disney so well with our daughter that her dream now is to be an animator for Disney. How cool would that be?
All in all, it’s pretty smeggin awesome being a nerdy dad, especially if you have a nerdy wife and nerdy kids. There is always support. There is always somebody there that will say, “Yes, I will do this with you,” or “Hey, let’s play Xbox,” or quote The Princess Bride, or Phineas and Ferb. Not only do you get to be nerdy, which is awesome in and of itself, but you get to pass on that wonder, that lively joy, to a younger soul. And so, for you new parents, old parents, soon-to-be parents, children will not keep you from living nerd life. They will make it infinitely better.