Dork Like Me

I only started reading about Nature v. Nurture after I’d placed Cricket for adoption, and occasionally it leaves me distressed. I will burst into whatever room Mr. Book is reading in, or reading the news in, or trying to take a nap in, and worry aloud that Cricket will be a tiny Book in the Victrola house, and that he won’t have things that we love. These aren’t big things: “If you say ‘unstable molecules,’ his parents won’t know what you’re talking about!” I say to Mr. Book.  “They don’t know who J’onn J’onzz is!” My husband rightly points out that (a) these things aren’t individually that important, and (b) maybe he won’t grow up to be a geek.

Myself, I’m a huge geek; it doesn’t come across on the blog that often, I think, but I have racks of videogames and stacks of graphic novels and I’m hoping to go to PAX this year. I think Red vs. Blue is funny. I have Star Wars novels (just four!). When I was pregnant with Cricket, I bought a fantastic Spider-Man onesie, and thought about giving it to him—but then Ruth told me that there’s a ban on trademarked characters. Several months later, they sent us a picture of him sleeping in a Superman onesie, and I was actually angry; I wanted to give a bit of my geek to him, but they banned it, so I gave a tasteful onesie with a lamb on it (which they apparently hated)—and then it turns out that it was only off-limits to me. I know that wasn’t a rational anger—who knows what they would have said if I’d asked specifically about Peter Parker—but even writing about it now, I feel mad all over again. This is a place where I feel the loss very tangibly.

When I was pregnant and separated from the Mister, we talked on the phone every day. Some nights, he would read aloud to me from a set of choose-your-own-adventure-type books that we both love; books in which you are a vampire hunter or trapped in a haunted house or trying to save a forest full of elves from a necromancer. They’re a combination of pulp fantasy and surprisingly difficult puzzles, they’re out of print, and no one has ever heard of them (Fighting Fantasy, if anyone out there in blogland wants to prove me wrong). My husband loved them as a boy, and they’re one of his earliest dorky experiences (he’s not nearly as geeky as I am, although I keep working on him ;))—and they’re one of gazillions of nerd things that I want to share with our kids. And Cricket isn’t our kid, and isn’t going to be bathed in the kind of geek atmosphere that we live in, and I know it’s dumb to be sad about that in particular, but.


12 thoughts on “Dork Like Me

  1. I don’t think it’s dumb to feel sad about that. It would bother me a lot to think of my child being raised without the stuff we like, too. It’s easier for me to imagine accepting big differences like the adoptive family having a different religion or not being vegetarian, than to accept all the small ones–not having our favorite books, movies, meals, etc.

  2. As an adoptive mom I love the idea of you as his bmom passing along things that you love to Cricket. Its who you are and it might be something that brings you closer together as he gets older. Besides who’s to say he wouldn’t like superheros/sci-fi/star wars when he grows up. Our son is a lot like us because he is around us but he still has many traits, likes and mannerisms that are like his bmom and it be honest I think its awesome!

  3. Maybe Ruth and Nora were serious about the ban across the board but received the Superman onesie as a gift from someone who didn’t know about it…

    Also, I’m sure he’s got the geek to some extent, and you can gift him things like those books you love when he’s older.

  4. The Geek Gene usually comes through in the end.

    And do not even get me started about Pre-Baby bans. We had a whole list of them and a bunch of “I would never” statements. Then the baby arrives, reality sets in and all kinds of things fly out the window. For instance, I decided we would have no toys/games with batteries and all toys would be all natural and educational. I also decided I would make all baby food from organic produce. As if!

    • And here I felt ambitious for deciding to make baby food out of normal produce! Still, I share some of these goals you list–I’m attached to them! Oh well, we’ll see how it plays out.

      • I never bought baby food, but I folded pretty quick on the “natural fibers only” as we received more than one baby blanket lovingly hand-knit or crocheted… in acrylic. If my mom had tried to give me something acrylic, I’d have told her no way, but from grannies who worked with my husband…we accepted them*. So maybe Ruth’s telling you about the ban just meant she figured you are someone who would “get” it.

        *And actually found them very useful as outer layers in the stroller as they seem impervious to water, wind, and soil. We still have one of them–it’s been almost 17 years and it looks brand new.

  5. Mia is onto it, the small losses are so tangible. And thus bigger than the big givens.

    My biggest failing (in terms of being an adoptive mom–well, the kids I’ve given birth to might eventually see it this way, too) is that I am NOT a pet person & Caroline is a huge animal person. There’s some major horse gene going. And me.

    Oddly, though my dear hubby grew up in horse country (in England) & so there’s some horse going & we’re near loads of horses. I’ll support it. I don’t think dog/cat/rabbit though in my children’s futures (until they are in their own houses).

    Saskia went to visit her grandmother’s barn over the weekend with her papa & Caroline & a horse snorted LOUDLY on her & she was spooked. She brought it up again today. I think I remain along with all else curious.

    And really thinking your feeling upset by the onesie makes perfect sense.

  6. I’ve read some of the Fighting Fantasy game books. 🙂 I like that type of book though I have to admit that I prefer actual roleplaying (mostly White Wolf games). I guess my geek is showing…

    Anyway…I think that adoption-wise, sometimes the little things can take on more importance than the bigger ones. Sometimes the bigger ones are just too much to think about and so the little things become important because yu can cope with being worried/upset about them.

      • My favorite is “Sword of the Samurai”. His favorite is “Seas of Blood”. He’s read them all but I’ve only read the ones that we have on the shelves. Though I’ve just ordered a few more because I’m thinking about them.

      • Have you read the Way of the Tiger books? Same dudes as SotS, and it’s this really excellent six-part CYOA series about a young ninja–they’ve been out of print forever, and my husband grew up with and is mad about them.

  7. Pingback: Little Things… « Shattered Glass

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