Many of you who read this blog and follow me on various social media outlets know that I have a 9 year old daughter named Chloe. Technically, she is my stepdaughter, but in my heart I consider her as if she were my biological daughter. Over the last 4 years, I've had to learn what it means to be a father (most of the time by what not to do) and find ways to connect with this precious child. One of the big ways that I have done this is by introducing her to some of my geeky habits. Over a few posts to be sprinkled throughout the next month or so, I am going to share with you how I've managed to do so. Most of these were mentioned in my "9 geekiest moments with the Cloverfield" post a few months back, but I want to expand and talk about many of those topics with a bit more depth. This week, I want to start with something that's become almost a holiday with us: Action Figure Fridays.
One of the many perks of my day job is that I have every other Friday off. On one of these Fridays a couple of years ago, I decided to surprise Chloe and pick her up from school. My plan was simply to take her to get milkshakes and spend some quality time together. On the way there, I was listening to a podcast talking about the most recent toy fair, including the action figures that were presented. This stuck in my brain as I picked up Chloe and took her to Chick-Fil-A; where we sat down and enjoyed our milkshakes.
Looking over and seeing the Target in the same shopping center, I asked Chloe if she wanted to go take a look at some of the toys at Target. I told her that I would buy her a doll of her choosing and that I would pick out an action figure for myself. Not surprisingly, she was all for this plan. We went to Target and she quickly found a Barbie doll that she wanted. So we walked over to the action figures and I looked through the Marvel figures that were available. After awhile, I picked one for myself and we started to walk away. Suddenly, Chloe stopped me and led me back to the Barbie aisle and set her doll back.
"I have a lot of Barbies," she said, "I want to get an action figure!"
I was touched. So, we went back and she picked out an action figure for herself. Then, we went home and opened them together. We had so much fun that we decided that we wanted to make it a regular occurrence. So we began calling my Fridays off "Action Figure Fridays". I would pick her up from school, and then we would head to a store for some action figures. Eventually, we switched from going to shops like Walmart and Target to going to the comic book store to get some of the nicer DC Direct figures. This worked to my advantage, as I could also pick up my comic books at the same time. Many of the figures that we picked up during this time we would unbox in front of my webcams and talk about them. You can still watch all of them over at my YouTube channel.
The regular trips to the comic book shop held for a good long while, but as it got closer to my wedding, money started becoming an issue. I stopped reading comics regularly and we cut back from buying the expensive action figures. Nowadays, I still pick her up every other Friday, but what we end up shopping for isn't limited to just action figures. Some days we will buy some LEGO sets, a couple of times we've gotten Skylanders figures, and on one of the more recent Fridays we bought Magic the Gathering booster packs. To Chloe, it doesn't really matter what we go get, I think she just enjoys the time we spend together, which works for me too.
So for any other dads or future dads that happen to be geeks: if you want a way to share some of those interests with your kids, find a way to incorporate it into stuff they already like. Chloe loves going shopping (when it's for her), so by getting her various superhero toys/video games/etc, its has had the side effect of getting her more interested in those things.
Do you have any cool suggestions for things to do with little geeks in training? Leave them in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.