Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Geek in Training

The Whomptons adults are fantasy and sci-fi loving, videogame and board game playing geeks.  And we aspire to raise geek daughters. 

I’ve been dropping fantasy books in Raina’s lap since the beginning – children’s books with interesting creation stories, fairy stories, etc., and then small chapter books about magic, and then fully solid fantasy books.  The Wizard of OzThe Dark is Rising series.  His Dark Materials trilogy.  The HobbitHarry Potter.  She didn’t enjoy my Tamora Pierce books but who cares?  My nine year old loved His Dark Materials!  She’s hooked. 

Eric is doing his part too by playing adult level tabletop games with her: Forbidden Island, Carcassone, Pandemic, Fluxx, Magic the Gathering.  Then he decided she was ready for the big, intensive games that last over an hour and require substantial strategy.  Raina and Eric play The Lord of the Rings The Card Game – a highly complex deck building game – and she’s getting really good.  Even better, since she’s read The Hobbit, she’s very interested in the cards and characters; in some cases, she knows more than Eric because Raina has actually read the book!  Her first preference of spending free time is playing games with Daddy.  It’s incredibly sweet.

To move wholesale into geek-world requires some media knowledge of movies, television, and games.  The girls watched Star Wars (4 – 6, then 1 – 3) for the first time this summer and The Fellowship of the Ring and Two Towers (extended edition) this month.  We’ve debated about TV shows – Star Trek Next Generation?  Deep Space Nine?  Babylon 5?  Buffy?  Firefly?  Battlestar?  – and then realized that we don’t have the time in our lives to re-watch all these shows with her.  We’ll spend part of winter break watching Firefly because my daughters must adore Joss Whedon.  We should make it a Whompton requirement! 

What we’re really missing from this list is engineering.  She has really enjoyed programming in her computer class at school this year, and I’ve occasionally plunked Raina down with my computer and she’s spent 4 hours straight programming with Scratch.  She’ll have her own laptop next year, and I hope that she chooses to tinker around with coding and creative problem solving in her free time (rather than watch continuous youtube videos).  I look forward to seeing what she creates. 

In the end, Raina is an amazing person and we are amazed by her.  I love that we can share these parts of ourselves with her and have her appreciate and love them as much as we do.  That makes me incredibly happy.  I look forward to the day where she returns the favor and shares her awesome geeky loves back with us!  J