I guess we take the Kid to some nerdy places. I don’t just mean museums and science-y places, although we go to plenty of those. I mean nerd spaces.
It’s not really on purpose, though. Neither of us grew up in a nerd family. Sure, my dad collected baseball cards and took me to a show once. But neither of us was raised by Trekkies, or comic book nerds, or going to Pennsic. I’d say the most-visited places of my childhood were the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo. Nerdy, sure. But when you consider that my dad took my brother to an Islanders game every year and we also went to Yankee games and the ballet and the water park, it’s hard to come up with a good insult about it. My husband spent much of his childhood at the Met.
But when the Kid was little, a former student of mine got a job at the NY Renaissance Faire, so we went. Now THAT is a nerd space. In fact, the first time we took the Kid (I think she was 5) she was so scared when we walked in that I had to carry her for the first half-hour or so. Once she warmed up, though, she loved it. She loved following Robin Hood’s band, she loved getting autographs. She loved the dumb jokes and the jousting and having tea with the Queen. So now, she wants to go every year. Sometimes we go twice.
This Christmas, we went to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios. I’ll take the blame for that one–it was my 40th Birthday, and while I really wanted to go to Parc Asterix, Harry Potter World was a close second and much more reasonable given our time constraints. We had a blast, not least because Kid is a world class Harry Potter fan. I thoroughly recommend that place to anyone who loves Hogwarts.
But our nerdiest trip yet has been to a Star Trek Con. The Kid got into Star Trek about a year ago (more on that in the TV post.) When she started drawing her own fan comic, I realized that she had to know about other people who love Trek the way she does. We took her to the local comic book shop, but she loved the idea of joining up with others who love Trek. I was concerned that a con would be overwhelming for the Kid, so I asked Wil Wheaton for advice. He generously posted my question on his blog, and I got tons of responses. We settled on a small con about two hours from our house.
Kid loved it. She loved watching the panels. She really loved digging through the sale bins at the various vendors. She loved having her picture taken with Captain Janeway. She came home with about a dozen action figures, all bought with her own money that she had saved up for the con. And she fully expects to go back again next year.
I’m not sure what all this means in terms of her development, as a nerd or as a person. We’re just following her lead and seeing where it goes. And each place we go, we point out the people who are celebrating what they love. Whenever Kid asks us why someone is dressed like a Klingon, or why people make Star Trek earrings, we tell her they’re having fun. That’s what a con is for: to revel in a thing that everyone there loves. And it’s cool that everyone can revel in her own way.
Hopefully, the Kid learns that Wil Wheaton is right. “It’s not about what you love, it’s about how you love it.” And whether or not she loves any of these things when she grows up, at least she’ll know how to find her people.