Monday, December 22, 2008

A Sci-fi Geek's Guide to Raising Children, Part 2

Sci-fi Geek's Guide to Raising Children

I'm a proud father of two: a girl and boy. I'm also a science fiction fan. One thing I've noticed is that there isn't a ton of entertaining and relatable information on raising children for us sci-fi geek dads and dads-to-be. What's a guy to do?

A Sci-fi Geek's Guide to Raising Children is my attempt at addressing that (black) hole. It's a series with personal advice on being a father but in science fiction terms. So, here's Part Two (you can read Part One, too).

Parents Really Do Have Super Powers. explained via comic superheroes of the past
You may not believe this, but parents have real-life super powers. These are actual and working super powers that all parents have at different levels.

The Healing Factor
When your child gets a minor bump or scratch and they have tears streaming down their cheeks, it's amazing what a few kind words and a kiss on the boo boo can do. Usually the super power is executed in the following way...

1 - Ask where it hurts. Once you get a clear definition of the location, determine whether the wound is beyond your powers (i.e. figure out quickly if the kid needs to go to the ER.)
2 - Ask for permission to kiss the wound. Once you receive permission, go ahead and kiss the wound.
3 - Ask if the boo boo feels better. If the child says yes, your super powers have taken immediate effect. If the child says no, return to step 1.

It's amazing how powerful this super power really is.

The Calming Effect
Is a friend of family member having trouble soothing a crying infant? Take the child in your own arms and sooth him with what you feel the child needs (i.e. a different position, a pacifier, a few soothing words.) Voila! You have a formerly inconsolable child now calm and relaxed. Call it instinct or call it a super power. It works.

Mom Hands
C'mon. Tell me this isn't real. I haven't the faintest idea how neither my mom nor my wife feel the searing heat when they pull that hot plate out of the oven. Or maybe they do, but their super power is really to withstand pain.

The Stranger Shield
Your child knows you have this power before you do: hiding behind mom or dad effectively makes the child invisible to strangers and unwanted family members. Sometimes the stranger will say, "I can see you!", but no, to the child the stranger really can't. (This is a derivative of the short-lasting Peek-a-boo super power where an infant is amazed at how you can magically teleport from in front of their face to behind your hands and back again.)

Okay, I'm cheating on this one. But really, as a parent you find yourself able to read your child's mind rather painlessly. (Although I've heard this power fades quickly as the child enters their teen-age years.)

A Child's Personality Will Morph Like Multiple Dr. Who's explained via (Who else?) Dr. Who
A wonderful aspect of raising children is watching them form their own personalities. You see the result of your influence, your family's influence and the environment's influence (Please, no nature v. nurture emails). But as they grow, so does their sphere of influence: they begin to go to school, they make new friends, there are new people teaching them. Most importantly, their communication skills augment by leaps and bounds. All of a sudden they become a completely self-reliant organism. You realize you've only gotten the ball rolling. This kid's got a personality engine of her own. Just like Dr. Who, there seems to be a new person who has the same memories, feelings and core personality -- but they're obviously different. You compare one personality/Dr. Who to the next.
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