Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's 1:27am! I should be asleep! But no. I have decided to resurrect the Geek Mama Blog and once again start writing about being, well, a geek mama. I live in Orange County with my DH and our 25 month old (25 months today!) son Takeo. I laughed reading my last post and thought about all the "What kind of mama will I be regarding insert-random-topic-here?" questions I thought about during my pregnancy with Takeo. 

Here are the 11 major things I wondered how I would handle and what I ended up doing after all:

0. Breast or bottle? Both. Takeo never learned how to breastfeed, so I pumped milk and fed it to him in a bottle for 10 months. I totally bought in to the whole "breast-is-best" thing. Really what did it for me was the "you-can-prevent-food-allergies-if-you-breastfeed" argument.  In retrospect, that was INsanity and I can't believe I did that for as long as I did. If the next kid doesn't figure out how to latch on, we are moving straight to formula with some pumped breastmilk as it's available and calling it a day.

1. Omnivore. We are not raising Takeo vegetarian. As it turns out, he hates pretty much all meat and is raising himself vegetarian. He loves asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and peas. I have no idea how this happened.

2. Sortaganic. We don't buy Takeo all organic food. We do try to buy certain organic items for him, though: organic milk, organic applesauce and apples, and organic oatmeal. Those things constitute the bulk of his diet, so that's good enough for me. 

3. No TV. We are not preventing Takeo from watching TV. Surprise! He's not even interested! He doesn't watch TV. Huh. That was too easy. Guess the whole video game thing is moot right now.

4.  Rosy cheeks bad. I am a fanatic about sunburns, so... Takeo has a very cute whale sunhat and a lifetime supply of 70+ SPF baby sunblock to prevent his blonde haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned self (yup - all recessive genes here. The next kid will be the Asian one.) from burning.

5. Private, then Public. Takeo attends a great (private) pre-school in a distant town nowhere near where we live. To demonstrate how awesome I think this school is for Takeo, I happily drive about 44 miles out of my way each day to get him there and pick him up.  However, when Kindergarten starts, we are planning to start him in the public school that is just around the corner from our house. This was the only tricky decision of the bunch here. 

6.  Suri who? We don't spend a ton of loot on Takeo's wardrobe. I love it when Takeo receives a cute outfit as a gift, but otherwise Ross and Old Navy Outlet are the order of the day. Instead, the money goes to his pre-school, board books, toys, and afterschool activities like carousel rides, red mango yogurt, and train tickets.

7.  Books and more books. We read to Takeo every day. Probably 10 books a day? Definitely saw that one coming. 

8. Bathtime = sometimes. We do not give Takeo a bath every day. He has eczema, and it goes berzerker when his skin gets dried out from frequent washings.  So, my baby is dirtier than your baby.

9.  Time out. If Takeo does something forbidden (e.g. plays in the toilet, throws food, etc), he gets a time out. We sit him in a chair facing a blank wall in his room for 1 minute. Then, he cries and cries while sitting there. We then take him back to the crime scene and explain what is not allowed/what to do. He says "I'm sorry" and we hug. So far, it seems to be working out pretty well! I should probably savor this one and only moment of parental success. It may not happen again.

10.  No candy, cake, or sweets. From Mommy, that is. Daddy and our other family members give him treats, though, and because it only happens now and then, it falls into the "moderation" category. My mother-in-law owns a bakery and my sister-in-law is a prolific baker, so it would be unthinkable for Takeo not to enjoy our family's culinary heritage. :)


Saturday, November 25, 2006

"I don't think our kid should play video games."

My husband turned to me the other day and said those exact words. While this may not be on the same level as "Let's replace breast milk and formula with Red Bull and see what happens," the probability of these two things actually happening are, in my mind, approximately equal. Where should I even begin with this one?

Well, it's Thanksgiving weekend. Let's kick it off with...

1. Family Tradition. That's right. Video games are a tradition. When I was in elementary school, I had Pong, a Commodore 64 and an Atari 800. By age 6, I knew all the patterns for every Pac-Man level, Space Invaders didn't scare me, and my Frogger frog *always* picked up the pink froggy girlfriend off the log. I could beat both of my parents at any game, something that at age 6 felt pretty darn significant.

Some of my best memories are of going to Radio Shack with my dad and buying new joysticks to improve my game performance. I had the short, black stock ones that came with my game system (total junk - they gave me blisters). I then got a red joystick that had a really fast button on top and was a wee bit stiff (perfect for Pole Position and River Raid). I also had a secret weapon - my black and gray one that felt nearly frictionless and didn't tire out my muscles (perfect for long sessions of Moon Patrol, Donkey Kong, and Jungle Hunt).

Later, I got a Nintendo. My 7th grade girlfriends, Jennifer and Rachel, were easily as hardcore as I was. I will never forget the time that we beat Metroid and found out that the man in the helmet that we'd come to know and love was actually... a *woman*! I could save the princess in one man, revel in my Tetrismaster status, and yes - I even finished Gyromite with that stupid robot only to find out that the stupid game just restarts at the end - no grand finale.

I could go on and on reminiscing about the different game systems of my life, but the point is really this: not only are these some of my best memories, but these games helped me develop skills. Which brings us to #2...

2. Skills. Yep, believe it or not, gamers develop many unique skills. Here are the one's that come to mind:

  • Hand-eye coordination. Try getting through the extra points round in Galaga without it.
  • Spatial perception. If you are a Tetrismaster who can rotate objects both clockwise and counterclockwise, then you are probably in the upper percentiles when it comes to spatial perception. What does this mean? It means I can read maps, avoid getting lost when traveling, and almost never buy a couch that is too big or too small for the living room. How's that for real world application?
  • Attention span, Problem Solving Skills, Determination, Goal Orientation, Strategy Development... Ok. This bullet's getting heavy. But, we all know that lots of kids can't sit still and focus these days. However, as any kid who has ever saved the Princess can tell you, you must learn to focus, or you'll never remember where to find the extra life mushroom or learn how to find the secret rooms and shortcuts to maximize your points and lead you towards your goal. When something doesn't work out and you die, you just keep trying until you find the right combination of moves to get you through it. Life's not that different from Super Mario Bros., is it? Which brings me to my last point...

3. An interest in technology. Ahh. There it is. Based on my unofficial survey of, oh, every computer geek I ever went to school or worked with in my entire life, most everyone seems to have quite a few early positive experiences with computers and technology. My mom was an engineer, so there was probably some "nature" component in addition to the "nurture" component. There's no question that my parents have always supported my interest in computers and computer games. These things aren't exactly cheap, so I've got to say thanks to them for investing in my dorky hobbies. First it was Atari money. Then, 12 years later, it was Caltech tuition money. Then, 12 years after that, they got me a Roomba for my birthday. Sniff. And to think it all started with Pong.

Ok. So, yeah. I love my dear husband, but there is just no way that I'm going to personally give up Galaga, my DDR mats and my NES1 (yes, I still play it). I mean, how lame would it be to say "No, honey. That's Mama's Playstation. Go to your room and read a book." Maybe I'll limit him to 8-bit games only until he's old enough to play Halo with the big boys? Hmm. But that might put a damper on #3 above...

Well, I've got a few more years to work it out. By then, Xbox 1080 should be launching, and you know I'll have to have it. ;)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Yep. As the URL indicates, I am a geek, and pretty soon I will be a mama. In T-minus 17 weeks, I'm having a baby boy. For the past 5 months or so, I've been in full research mode. Everything from parenting style to baby gear to interior design choices for the nursery... if there is a magazine, book or web site for it, I've bought it, bookmarked it or added its RSS feed. Geek-mamas love homework.