Born in the wrong decade

Catie has a lot of nerdy “gamer girl” tendencies. And honestly, I’m ok with that. For a while, I was concerned because it seemed like she didn’t have any other little girl friends at school. She says that the other girls “only want to play dumb princesses.” And while Catie will watch a Disney princess movie if it happens to be on TV, she has no other interest in princesses or fairies or Barbie dolls or anything like that.

Case in point: in the movie about Rapunzel, “Tangled”? Her favorite character is Maximus the horse. (I’m personally partial to Pascal the chameleon, but that’s just me.)

More for her Geek Street Cred: the past year, she’s seen all six Star Wars movies. It started off with the original trilogy, which I owned on DVD, because hi, I’m a nerd and that’s my childhood right there. Then she wanted to see the other three movies, and I kind of hemmed and hawed, because, frankly, those movies just aren’t very good. And Episode III (when Anakin becomes Darth Vader) is pretty violent and dark. But she begged and pleaded, and I found out you can buy episodes 1-3 on DVD for less than $30 on Amazon (which should be a good indicator of just how beloved those movies are by the general public, which is to say NOT AT ALL), and I caved. She loved all of them.

    [Allow me to insert an aside here on how rage-filled the ending of Episode III makes me. Padme is in labor with the twins, Luke and Leia, and she’s dying of “a broken heart”?? Seriously? The robot-doctor says she’s just lost the will to live. And oh well, that’s that, nothing they can do. OH REALLY, PADME?! So the guy you married turned out to be nothing like who you thought he was? Yeah, you’re the first person that’s ever happened to, in the history of forever. How tragic for you. Now suck it up, get your sad mopey ass off that sterile delivery table, and go get a damn job because you have two kids to raise. For the love of the Force, George Lucas, HIRE BETTER WRITERS.]

    *ahem* Sorry. Needed to get that off my chest.

Anyway, Catie now draws the characters whenever they have “free art” time at school. It’s pretty amazing.

Catie drew Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. And I'm pretty sure she's a better artist at 6 than I am at 37.

But to continue on that whole “not wanting to play dumb princesses” thing – Catie doesn’t even want to pretend to be Princess Leia, who is actually kind of a bad-ass. (She shoots stormtroopers! She strangled Jabba the Hutt with a chain!) If she’s playing Star Wars, she wants to be… Chewbacca. Yeah, I don’t know.

And hey, I consider myself a nerdy type, and I think it’s awesome that she does her own thing. But I really did wring my hands and fret that she was going to be lonely and friend-less through school. Then, one of the other moms pointed out, “she’s going to grow up with a hundred big brothers, she’s going to be fine.” And it’s true, she plays really well with the other little boys. As long as they’re kind of nerdy little boys who don’t expect her to play sports.

(Chris’s take on this: “She is going to grow up to break a lot of geeks’ hearts.” Which is sweet, and he might just be right on that one, who knows.)

Anyway, for the past year or so, Catie’s other major passion has been the Skylanders video game. She got it last Christmas and she’s been in love with it ever since then. She has a ton of the action figures, she has dog tag necklaces with the different characters printed on them, she takes her Skylanders backpack to school every day, and she also sketches pictures of them (which are comparable to the Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader picture above – she really makes them detailed and it’s pretty amazing work for a 6 year-old).

And really… it’s fine. At first I was a little concerned that maybe the game was too violent for her, but it’s really not, and there’s a decent amount of strategy that has to be applied in order to play the game successfully. I wouldn’t necessarily call it educational, but it’s not damaging either. I mean, it’s not like she’s playing Mortal Kombat or Grand Theft Auto, you know?

Lately she’s been watching movies about the various Skylanders characters on YouTube, and sometimes she comes across mash-up videos like this:

So she’s now asking me to put some of these songs — like “Numb” by Linkin Park and “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence — on her iPad. And… I mean. I guess it’s fine? There’s nothing obscene about the songs, certainly. But DANG they’re a little dark for a 6 year-old, no?

I kind of can’t decide if it’s cute or disturbing when I hear my first grader singing lines like, “wake me up inside, call my name, and save me from the dark.” It’s just… odd.

(Also, too bad Catie wasn’t around in the 90s, since she’s apparently a big fan of that music era.)

I hope this doesn’t come off like me worrying (or worse, complaining) about her. I celebrate all of her little quirks and odd passions, because they are what makes her my Catie. Sort of like the fact that since she was three years old, she’s been saying she wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up. It’s weird (why dinosaurs? Where did she even pick up on that?), but it’s also fantastic.

And I do fully realize that this is a fluke. Lucy, at two, is already gravitating toward pink EVERYTHING and talks about princesses already. I predict she’s going to be my girly-girl. Which is also totally fine! It’s just funny to me how each kid develops their own “thing” over time, and we really have no major influence on how they turn out. Just luck of the draw. But either way — tomboy-ish sci-fi loving video gamer chick or puffy pink tutu-wearing frilly girl — they’re still the most amazing little people I’ve ever met in my life.

3 thoughts on “Born in the wrong decade

  1. I have a nerdy little 6 year old boy. I think he and Catie would get along REALLY well. Too bad we don’t liver anywhere near you. I think it’s great that she isn’t a cookie cutter of all the little princess loving girls.

  2. Seriously I think it’s great because it shows she doesn’t bend to peer pressure and she knows what she likes. I grew up as the only girl in the math competitions, the only girl in junior engineering, etc and I never found it to be a bad thing. I always thought the opposite – boys liked me for who I was, and my girlfriends never tried to get me to do what they did because they knew I wouldn’t do it.
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  3. Funny you mentionedMortal Kombat. It got banned at my house for awhile because my brother and I would play on the Super Nintendo and the. Would beat each other up in real life. Oops.

    I was a tomboy too. Played X-Men with the boys. Read comics. Didn’t like pink or to wear dresses. Still like to watch Sci-Fi and all that. I have a boyfriend (who plays Magic that card game for shame, but still love him). But hey Catie dear is going to be the coolest kid around. She can beat anyone as a gamer (that’s a professional job you know) and may end up well known on the comic con circuit for her drawings one day. Or as the coolest geek paleontologist ever.

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