Sometimes I worry that my children are going to be too much like me. I mean, of course they are going to be somewhat like me, but really what I hope is that they can take all the best parts of me, plus the best parts of everyone else on the planet, and become some sort of new breed of super people that are completely awesome at everything with no flaws. As far as I can tell so far, this has not happened.
One of my biggest fears was that my daughter would not be girly enough (second only to my fear that she would be too girly), because she spends her days at home with a man (me) and does manly things like, well, actually I don’t do a lot of manly things, but you get my point. I have no idea why this is a concern for me, since many women throughout history have raised perfectly normal young men, but for some reason I feel that me being home with my daughter might deprive her of some womanly knowledge that she might need later in life.
I suppose what it mainly comes down to is her recent interest in superheroes. As a personal superhero geek with a comic book collection of over 10,000 individual issues, I suppose I should not be surprised when my children show some interest as well. After all, most of the things in life that I love were loved first by my own parents. And lately, Ruby has been all about the superheroes.
My comic book collection is currently in my sister’s basement, but even with that out of the picture Ruby has watched every episode of the Superhero Squad Show on Netflix. She plays the Superhero Squad Online game on the computer with me. She has the customizable Super Hero Squad collectible card game that she beat me at yesterday. She asks me to read old collections of Avengers and Fantastic Four comics to her that I have on the bookshelf in trade paperback form. We are all required to dress as superheroes for Halloween this year, and her birthday party (7 1/2 months from now) will be superhero themed, she recently informed me. And this weekend she broke open her piggy bank because what she wanted more than anything in the world was some superhero toys that she saw at K-Mart.
So she took her $7.50 down to K-Mart and bought a two-pack of superhero toys. Iron Man and the Silver Surfer. Her mother expressed a preference for the Hulk and Thor two-pack, but it was Ruby’s allowance money, so she got to pick. And the whole time I am thinking to myself, “What have I done!? She is going to be a weird tomboy nerd-girl outcast and it’s all my fault!”
But then my wife pointed out something funny to me. As she watched Ruby and I sitting on the floor playing the superhero card game, she observed that Ruby was sitting there playing a nerdy card game with me, in her pretty dress with the flowers on it, with Super Mario socks on her feet, and wearing the necklace of beads that she had just made herself. What a merging of stereotypes.
Why I worry about Ruby is beyond me. I suppose it is just in my parenty nature. But she is definitely influenced by things from both ends of the gender spectrum. No matter how many superhero shows she watched with me, or games of Super Mario that we play together on the Wii, some of her favorite things to do still remain making jewelry and getting her toenails painted. I think she just loves everything about life, whether it is aimed at boys, girls, or whoever. So I can take comfort in that fact that when she does grow up, she will not be a weird tomboy nerd-girl outcast, but rather a weird, well-rounded person that everyone loves. At least that’s how it seems to be going so far.