Dr. Nerd Mom Substitute Teaching

Nearly all my colleagues at Starfleet Academy  have developed some sort of Tarkalean flu which we’ve now shared between ourselves and our students. In the absence of 24th century medical advances, many of my colleagues including myself have needed to take a few days off to get well. I therefore had the opportunity to teach a group of students whom I would normally have had very limited interactions with as a substitute professor. And it was a wonderful experience!

Unlike teaching on the first day of the semester where I generally feel like this I felt more like this. Because I KNEW I wouldn’t be working with these students every day for the rest of the term, I decided that I’d cover the appropriate course material and be more “free spirited” with my teaching style and techniques. More energetic. More goofy-fun. More classroom conversations with students. More stories to illustrate a point.

After class I thought to myself, “Why don’t I teach like this everyday?” And the only answer I could think of was that I was worried MY students wouldn’t like this more “exuberant” teaching style!

But these new students DID like this teaching style. They told their usual teacher how much they enjoyed my class the following week. 

Clearly I’ve been holding back. The moral of the story (for myself that is) is one of self-reflection: Be Brave. Blaze that trail, explore the final frontier, and be the teacher you want to be!

Stay health full time and adjunct faculty,

Dr. Nerd Mom

Image result for elsa snowgies

“achoo”

Dr. Nerd Mom and the End of Semester Course Evaluations

The end of the semester rush approaches. Hurry up and grade those papers. Hurry up and get that final exam to the printer. Schedule students in office hours. Extra workshops. More times available in the labs. Forget about @SUAWT (Shut Up and Write Tuesday) I just need to Shut Up And Grade!

But snuck in the middle of all this “hurrying” is one more thing that needs our professorial attention.

End of semester student course evaluations.

Image result for stressed out

The thought of course evaluations used to make me shudder. My students whom I’ve loved and cared for this past 15 weeks are now going to pass judgement on me! We give them our hearts and souls, share our passions with them, and develop our relationships. Then they leave us, go on to other subjects, and pass judgment anonymously.

Now… I know this is an over-reaction. Constructive feedback is important. Hell, getting tenure is important. I am interested in how my course worked for students. But I do somewhat struggle with the course evaluations process. No where in my teaching plan for the semester is information about how to give PROFESSIONAL feedback. Where do we teach students to give feedback? Where do we teach students to provide peer-to-peer feedback? The majority of my evaluation comments read something like this: “Dr. Nerd Mom is so cool! Dr. Nerd Mom is super fun!” or more negatively “I am so glad I wont ever see Dr. Nerd Mom again. Dr. Nerd Mom is such a jerk!” etc. Although feedback is both positive and negative, its more of complaints session or a round of high-fives with no useful information.

If we do not teach students to give constructive feedback, how do we then expect them to be able to participate in evaluations process as professional in the workforce? How will they be able to give face-to-face feedback to their peers that is useful?

I have professional colleagues that struggle with this type of useful feedback process as well. Its easy to either provide NO useful feedback “Good job! Well done! Yay!” as well as use the evaluation system as an anonymous complainy-pants-fest. These are they same colleagues who speak up in meetings to simply say “Well I DON’T like that! We shouldn’t do it!” without providing any suggestions.

I decided this semester I’d make some changes and attempt to embrace the student course evaluations process. While there are many helpful ideas for teaching professional feedback techniques for students, I decided to use one simple in-class exercise: the “teacher sandwich” method. We took five minutes and practiced it in class. Here’s how ti works:

  1. Ask students to get a scrap piece of paper.
  2. Turn to their neighbor (or write about me) one thing they like about the course/professor.
  3. Next, write using the framework “One that about this course that I would change is…”.
  4. Then write a sentence or two describing how the change could occur.

Throughout the semester, I also try to take several opportunities to show students how previous “changes” have led to their current course. “When I last taught this course, students identified the need for X. Here is that resource.”

Happy Academic Grading Week

Dr. Nerd Mom

May the force be with you… always… even during final exams. 

Dr. Nerd Mom and the Weekly Meetings

Its November and for teachers this means we’re only one month away from December and THEN its spring semester. New courses. New research. New projects. So I decided I would plan ahead to prevent becoming overwhelmed in December. I would begin my prep for spring in November.

Sounded amazing. In theory.

So I pulled up my November Outlook calendar and although this isn’t directly from Outlook, my week to week November looks something like this:

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 Prep for the week Off Campus… Office hours $Site Visits Take kids to school
9:00 Meetings …maybe meetings Office hours Meetings  Still driving
10:00 Meetings …site visits Office hours Meetings Office hours
11:00 Meetings …maybe writing… Office hours Meetings Office hours
12:00 Meetings …but usually not Class! Meetings Class!
1:00 Meetings  …rush back to campus dramatically Same Class! Meetings Same Class!
2:00 Class!  … About twenty minutes here to pee, maybe squeeze in a meeting Meetings Do all the things
3:00 Same Class!  … Then off to a different class! Meetings Do all the things
4:00 Class-After-Class  … Hooray for Class! Meetings Do all the things

 

*Lay head on desk.*

As I looked at my weekly schedule, I noticed two things: 1) Nowhere on here to did have dedicated time to write 2) I apparently get everything done on Friday afternoons and early Monday mornings. Clearly this is because no one wants to have meetings at these times. Otherwise, you know… I’d probably be in meetings.

I spend too much time every week in meetings. I have strong negative feelings about meetings.

Image result for wonder woman scowling

I’d rather be teaching. I know I need to be writing (I haven’t even written a blog post in a month!) And I’d rather spend my time helping students, creatively working on new teaching strategies, and most of all NOT BEING IN MEETINGS.

I have many problems with the concepts of a traditional academic meeting. Expectations for results seem rare. Lots of “discussion” occurs without set goals or ways to resolve. Meetings are regularly scheduled without agendas. And people attending meetings have varying levels of investment in the project. Last month I attended at least ONE meeting where no one knew who called the meeting, the purpose of the meeting, or what was on the meeting agenda.

Some of the problems which may occur in academic meetings are related to the people who attend them. Here are some of the types of personalities I see weekly in various meetings:

  1. The party animal. Some people are not as busy as you and I. They “like” meetings. Meetings allow them to feel involved, maybe important, and they enjoy spending time drinking coffee and/or eating lunch with their colleagues while calling it work. They are happy to kill time.
  2. The slacker. Some people come unprepared. Late. Without their work completed. If they grace you with their presence, they do not pay attention and poorly contribute. (Sounds like any college students you know?)
  3. The leader/slacker. The person running the meeting is unprepared. He or she has no plans, no agenda. This person want other people to magically get things done. NOPE. Come with specific goals in mind and problems to address please. Agenda!
  4. The absentee. No matter who assigns the meeting, this individual does not show up. They’re too busy or too important. So their work is never contributed to the project and the cycle of asking them to come to meetings continues. They are also like item number 2.

Its time to do something about it. Its time to break the cycle of meetings! Throughout the course of this fall semester, in order to prevent death by meetings from happening in the spring, I’ve attempted to implement some ideas some changes:

  1. Have fewer meetings. Email is key here people. We have online portals like Blackboard and Moodle. Lets make assignments, shared documents, even hard copies printed out in your mailbox! I am more productive as a team member if I am given a specific assignment.
  2. If you must meet, make it purposeful. Don’t meet for the sake of meeting. AGENDA’s are key.
  3. SMART goals: Amazingly nearly everyone I work with is familiar with the idea of SMART goals, however no one seemed to implement them in projects and meetings. We do however expect our students to write and implement SMART goals.
  4. 10x Brainstorm: A method to keep the creativity going, if indeed brainstorming is the agenda item for the meeting. The key is to not let the brainstorm float off somewhere- instead, the brainstorm ideas must be put into a purposeful format at the end of the discussion. The final step of this method is prototyping the brainstormed idea.
  5. Homework and shame: At the beginning of the meeting, everyone reports on their assigned work. Anyone then who did not accomplish their assigned work has to state their failure in front of the group. Bummer. This idea is however derailed if the academic leadership team does not enforce consequences for late work.

I may or may not be successful in having fewer meetings in the spring. I know that not everyone I work with embraces the idea of efficient meetings, or even better, FEWER meetings. I am however dedicated to having efficient meetings and fewer meetings where my projects are concerned. And I am personally looking forward to someday having a week which looks like this:

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
8:00 Prep for the week Research and writing off campus Office hours Early writing Take kids to school
9:00 Prep for the week in my own lovely office Office hours Research  …
10:00 Prep for the week with the door shut Office hours Inspirational creativity for teaching Office hours
11:00 Prep for the week and no one interrupting me Office hours Working with struggling students Office hours
12:00 Prep for the week Class! Writing Class!
1:00 Team meetings for the week Same Class! Writing Same Class!
2:00 Class! Break Writing Class-After-Class
3:00 Same Class! Then off to a different class! Writing Happy Hour
4:00 Class-After-Class Hooray for Class! Writing Go home and enjoy the weekend.

A wonderful week. A week with few meetings. An academic can dream…

Dr. Nerd Mom

Image result for dilbert and committees

Dr. Nerd Mom Reviews Video Games

As Nerd Mom, a professor, and a parent, I often hear other parents and colleagues discussing the evils of video games, “screen time”, and this “difficult” millennial generation. Occasionally I let it slip to someone new that I actually PLAY VIDEO GAMES with my kids. Sometimes, everyone in our family play video games together.

Sometimes, the kids even play games by themselves.

Or (brace yourself) the six-year-old and the three-year-old play a video game together.

Image result for princess peach is shocked

The Horror! The Scandal! Its Outrageous I tell you!

 

 

Except maybe not.

Facing facts- our kids are growing up in a world with digital technology and virtual reality (or even AR you Pokémon Go fans) is part of life. Kids are using iPads in Kindergarten for reading, math, music, and standardized testing. Teachers are now inviting students to bring their electronic devices to class to create collaborative learning environments. And finally students are learning how to navigate the digital environment with or without the support of parents and teachers.

So yeah, I like BPA-free-all-wood-organic-handmade-toys too (OK taking it a little too far I know geez) but I also encourage my kids to play video games.

This post isn’t dedicated to why video games are good for your kids (here’s somebody who has something to say about that) but instead about what games you and your kids might light to play. Games you might like to share with your kids, and games you might feel comfortable letting them play on their own. So here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Educational” video games systems, while they may seem appealing, usually don’t have a lot of play hours- i.e. not a lot of bang for your buck. I think kids can learn awesome skills from playing some Mario and Zelda.
  2. Ratings. You might assume that games that are rated E for everyone would be the ONLY games you should get for your kids. Well… ratings for video games have been more fluid over the years than ratings for TV and movies. So instead, if a game looks interesting to you and you think your kids might like it, watch some YouTube, stream it, rent it from a Redbox-ian type service and check it out. We love to rent games from our local library (no joke this is a great service).
  3. Consider complexity- does this game require many hours of dedication by a parent to assist kids? The more recent (and complex with greater play hours) Zelda games are in this category in my house- so if we set down to play some Twilight Princess we’d better make sure we cut out some quality time first or everybody will be frustrated.
  4. Consider simplicity- some of those “retro” games from my childhood which while challenging had simple goals and objectives are popular favorites with my kids.
  5. Share your favorites with your kids. My favorite series hands-down is Zelda, but I also REALLY enjoy a lot of other series too. Anything Mario (except the party games), Megaman, Sonic (classic ones ONLY), Star Fox, and some of the Star Wars based games are now popular with my kids since myself and Mr. Nerd Mom actively encouraged our kids to play them with us.
  6. Be open to what your kids want to play- I never thought I’d love a LEGO game but in truth, they are awesome. Mr. Nerd Mom is a big fan of a Wii U game called “Tank Tank Tank“. Its exactly what it sounds like.

Now for some consoles and titles

  1. Retro Nintendo. The predominant fan favorite from my childhood is also a favorite with my kids. The Young Jedi enjoys playing on our N64, our SNES, and our NES with equal delight. I think hes actually better at Star Fox 64 than I am! He is currently trying to teach his sister how to play Super Smash Bros 64. She loves to be Jigglypuff.
  2. Wii U. We are huge fans of this under appreciate platform. My family is the target audience: a mom with a couple kids who like to play games together. There are many great titles. One that stands out for my kids is Super Mario Maker. Kids take turns playing, its fun for mom and dad, and both kids (even the three year old) can show off their creativity in creation of new Mario levels.

Retro game favorites

  1. Star Fox 64 and the original SNES Star Fox. Encourages repetition, and its just fun blowing stuff up. Younger Jedi likes to pretend they’re Falco and helping out Team Star Fox.
  2. Street Fighter. Young Jedi is probably better than me. Its fun to take on Mr. Nerd Mom, and simple enough for Younger Jedi to play with her older Jedi sibling (which encourages the older one to be patient and supportive, which makes the younger one more inclined to play… its all good here).
  3. Super Smash Bros 64. See above. Classic for a reason. And if you didn’t like the simulated violence of Street Fighter, here’s an nice friendly version with Mario.
  4. Anything classic Mario. Kart, original, any platform, its all fun for us together. Skills: trial and error, overcoming obstacles, taking turns, need I say more? Plus, its Mario people. All good.
  5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Not only my favorite game, but a great game to teach Young Jedi about navigation, maps, directions, and to help with reading skills. Can’t play Zelda until you can read what those towns people are trying to tell you to do! It also encourages problem solving skills, trial and error, and is a great game to “coach” kids through. “You’re doing great! What should we do next?”

New game favorites: (Wii, Wii U, PlayStation, Handhelds like a DS or a 3DS)

  1. Super Mario Maker. See above
  2. Anything else Mario- especially the Super Mario World and 3D world– encouraging four players chaotically playing at the same time? Why not. Even Younger Jedi has fun. Plus they have Cat suits.
  3. Kirby. Especially on the DS, but also for the Wii and Wii U. He’s cute, he’s funny, he eats things. Same skills as Mario, and with the Nintendo control schema for the Wii and Wii u, the control setup for these games is simple enough for young kids.
  4. Lego:  My only caution- stay clear of the spin-offs or quickly tossed together ones in this series. The best two hands-down are Lego Marvel Superheroes (for all current gen consoles) and Lego Batman 3. Many variations on these Lego games are glitchy and frustrating for committed players. Great games for young players to play with a parent and then graduate to playing by themselves. Another caution: the handheld versions are not as enjoyable per Young Jedi.
  5. Zelda. Amazing beautifully rendered games for the Wii and Wii U. But be ready to cut out some serious time and “share” the playing with your kid. Among the newer games, Young Jedi prefers Skyward Sword while my favorite is Twilight Princess.
  6. Star Wars Battlefront for PS2. Young Jedi loves playing this with Mr. Nerd Mom. Its their special time. and if you are worried about kids in the online environment, this Battlefront is played offline. We love it, but its more complicated to control and may be frustrating for young kids who are not as advanced with games.

Start them out with the retro ones first, and encourage them to play some mini-game based titles like Nintendoland to learn how to navigate controls and gain confidence. Nintendoland is my preferred starter game from the newer generation simply because parents can play co-op, games are short, and its easy to take turns.

And finally- non-console games:

  1. PBS Kids. Its free, it has Curious George and Daniel Tiger. What else do you need? I think its even recommended in some grade schools for math and alphabet learning. Younger Jedi loves it.
  2. Pokemon Go. I know. Its all the rage right now. But its super fun with your kids- go on great walking adventures, take your bikes, and practice your compass and reading skills. We practiced some safety skills first- like how to NOT WALK OUT INTO TRAFFIC and to “pay attention to your surroundings at all times”. Good skills for all six-year-old’s. Young Jedi practices his reading skills using one of the Pokemon companies many books- the Pokedex, early readers, etc. We recently found a good series of Pokemon books to read at bedtime (where Dr. Nerd Mom gets to learn all about Charizard and how hes a little punk… at least at first).

There are so many great games to play with your kids for all reasons, but hopefully, its because its fun to play together! Young Jedi has often said when I’ve offered to put on some TV for him, “But Muh-OOOM! I would rather be ‘doing’ than just sitting here watching! Its way more fun!”.

True story kid,

Dr. Nerd Mom,

I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was

Beautiful <3 Ash and Pikachu ^.^ <3:

Dr. Nerd Mom and the Struggling Student

I’ve become increasingly aware of an phenomena facing adolescents, teens, and young adults: mental illnesses among students. These problems, include anxiety and depression, can (and have) led to student isolation, loneliness, and even suicide.

There are a multitude of reasons why we as a community may be seeing these increasing numbers. Some presentations I’ve attended indicate that these mental health concerns are being better diagnosed among students, or that perhaps we are “coding” these issues differently than we used to- i.e. categorizing the difference between “feeling bummed out today” and “depression“, with the idea that many individuals have bad (bummin’) days but some folks struggle with feelings of depression that are endless and crushing.

Some evidence suggests the challenges high school college (even elementary and junior high) students face are greater than in the past (or maybe not?). As both a professor and parent, these RED FLAGS that we’re screwing up our kids and making them into screwed up adults was somewhat terrifying!

Therefore seeking help, I went to the internet. Here are some key phrases I found:

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter Teaching

Student Resilience

College Mental Health Crisis

Wow. Tons and tons of information. Each one greater than 500,000 results. Many articles linking parenting behaviors with college student behaviors.

I’m no expert but as an educator this is what I’ve seen:

  1. Fear- professors/teacher etc scared to fail a student. Students terrified of failure- “my life is over if I don’t pass this class” behaviors.
  2. Students who are bored- they are tired of PowerPoint and would like something interactive where they can problem solve and learn in a variety of ways.
  3. Students are terrified of things OTHER than PowerPoint- they want, or even NEED, all the info required to memorize and regurgitate to be put on the slides.
  4. Students who do not know how to use resources
  5. Students who correct me when I miss direct someone to a resource.
  6. Students who provide their own resources and like to share them with their classmates.
  7. Students who feel isolated, unfriendly competition between students, comparing themselves and their grades to others.
  8. Students who help each other.
  9. Blame- its the professors fault, its the universities faulty, its my classmates fault.

 

So basically some good things and some difficult things. I am no expert, but I do have an avid interest in what it all means for my students and as a parent to my kids. So I will keep reading articles like this, and this, and this. I will try to teach my children how to be compassionate, confident, brave, and resilient.

I will work with my colleagues to help students who struggle with mental health concerns to get help.

I will strive to create a classroom environment for students to learn and practice their resiliency skills. (Even if it hurts my course evals? I need tenure someday!)

 

I will end tonight’s #shutupandwriteTuesday with this brief story from Young Jedi’s first day at school this fall:

All the kids and parents walked into the classroom. Kids carrying school supplies, parents carrying school supplies, kids wearing their backpacks. Teachers greated the kids with smiles, and gently told them to please find their desks and complete the assignment on the whiteboard:

  1. Put your backpacks and coats away in your “cubbies”
  2. Place one box of crayons in the pencil case
  3. Place one box of markers in the pencil case
  4. Place one eraser in the pencil case
  5. Place two pencils in the pencil case.
  6. Put the rest of your school supplies up here (arrow showing bins which were also labeled).

The scene unfolding was intense. Although the directions were CLEARLY written for the students, nearly all the parents were unpacking the school supplies for their kids. A Dad standing next to me simply turned to his six year old daughter and said “Wow! Its your first school assignment! Like a scavenger hunt! Lets read it out loud together and figure out what to do”. This Dad let his daughter read the sentences herself, unpack her supplies and put the away herself, and then kissed her goodbye saying “You’re going to do great today! Love you sweetie!”

Love you too Dad.

Dr. Nerd Momscreen-shot-2013-03-06-at-10-20-22-pm

 

Sharing the Love for things Nerd: Preschool Example

I’ve loved science fiction, fantasy, and games all my life. Even for those few short years when I was trying to pretend I wasn’t a nerd I still:

1. Watched Star Trek with my Dad

Image result for bored kid gif

“aw Dad this is so lame (but I love it)”

2. Played Zelda. All the Zelda. And that game with the plumber brothers…

Image result for nintendo mashup

this is the best thing I’ve seen all day

 

3. Dressed up as characters from science fiction for Halloween.

crusher.jpg

Dr. Crusher I presume…

Looking back on this period of self-denial got me thinking… who would have cared if I watched Star Trek? Who would have cared if I liked sports or didn’t (I love basketball!) Would my friends have ditched me? And if so, would they have been good friends to have?

These are some of the types of questions I’m expecting my nerd kids to face with over the next few years. When the the young Jedi was four (now age six in first grade), he began to notice a drastic lack of knowledge about The Legend of Zelda along his preschool classmates. He found this rather disturbing. (Right there with you little dude). He also was puzzled about what to do about it.

He wanted to share his love of things that are awesome to him with his friends! Sure he liked Star Wars, and Legos were cool and all, but what he really Geeked OUT on was LOZ.

So, he brought this: zeldaoot

…with him to school and showed his friends (and teachers). He shared his love of games with them and how much fun the adventure could be.

That wasn’t the end of the story. Some kids thought his book was cool, and sat on the floor with him to look at it. He brought in a Link action figure (the only frieking one I could find man… that wasn’t a bazillion bucks and totally breakable geez). And he wore his favorite LOZ shirt. And we had kids over for a LOZ birthday party.

So far this example was all about my young Jedi sharing his fandom. But he also had to learn about what the other kids liked too. Turns out one of his best pals not only liked Disney Princesses but was a HUGE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan. So she shared her love of Disney and Turtles with the young Jedi, while learning a little about Princess Zelda and Link.

Now I know what you are thinking: “But Dr. Nerd Mom, I was teased for being a nerd! I don’t want my kids to be teased too.” Truly some of us nerds had better experiences with our nerdy-ness than others. And it totally sucks for those of us who had those negative experiences. I hope my kids, if and when they suffer through those types of negative experiences will have the resilience to say “hey dude, I gotta just be me”. (Resilience among college students will have to be another post).

The young Jedi showed us all it could be done. And maybe even (dare we think it?) should be done! Share your Nerdy-ness with your kids. Share and love in their fandoms folks. Don’t be ashamed, let it out. I would be willing to bet there are other kids out there who will be cool about it too.

Image result for kids cosplay

I mean, these guys look super unhappy to be nerds…

Final tangential thoughts: just because you’re a nerd doesn’t mean your social interactions are somehow dysfunctional or somehow “less fulfilling” than folks who don’t identify as nerds. Plus, everyone is a nerd now. Doesn’t matter if you like the Kardashians or the Cardassians. If were decent, we can probably learn from each other. Self identity man, it’s a thing. PS: in academic speak “self-identity” is good while “self-labeling” or “labeling of others” is bad.

Re: identify, don’t label.

Whatever dude, just don’t be an asshole. 

Image result for don't be an asshole

-Dr. Nerd Mom

Transporter room, four to beam up

 

 

 

 

 

Nerd Mom gets ready for Comic Con

Next Tuesday, many families will pack up the backpacks, lunch boxes, teacher gifts, and all the paperwork that has to be turned in on day one of the Fall semester of grade school. The Internet will be exploding with pictures of kids holding chalk boards  depicting “First day of Kindergarten” etc. Everyone will say “awwww” and then move on with their lives. (Seriously people, do we have to torture our kids with these pictures with the signs? Can’t you just snap a quick pict and get the hell in the car?!?! Who’s got time for this shit!)

In my house this weekend, we have other stuff to do. Dr. and Mr. Nerd Mom are getting the family ready for Comic Con.

“Comic Con?!?!” Says the PTA chair, “Clearly you are not adept at this parenting thing. Obviously your kids should be playing with hand-crafted organic wood BPA free toys and never Ever EVER with electronics!” (Thanks Unikitty)

Dude. Everybody calm the hell down. Nerds and nerd kids are awesome. Kids learn fantastic things from video games: motor skills, reading, maps, problem solving, resilience, how to work in groups, even how to read a map. Science fiction is able to discuss contemporary issues in a more approachable way: ethical questions, raceism and prejudice, equality, and immigration were all explored in the classic Star Trek franchise. Pokemon taught millenilas determination and that sometimes you lose, and dare I even say it, the Legend of Zelda has helped my young Jedi with his reading skills.

Premise: nerd things can be good for families and kids to share together.

Hypothesis: You can be a fan of your kids interests too. I didn’t know crap about Pokemon but since my young Jedi’s discovered their true passion was to catch em all, pretty sure I can sing the theme song by heart AND name all 150 (151 ?) original pocket monsters. And that’s awesome.

Comic con is in about two week. The Jedi are ages six and three. They determined a family theme costume together.

Wait for it.

Power Rangers

I did know anything about power rangers. As a kid, I was “too old” for them, trying to pretend I’m 13 and too cool for science fiction and super hero cartoons (didn’t last long fortunately). So I learned about the Original Power Rangers, Power Rangers Samurai, and the Dino Chargers. Then I helped the kids plan the costumes.

Things to keep in mind when cosplaying with LITTLE kids:

1. Cost- this cosplaying shit can get really expensive. I YouTubed all the ways to sew, make, and create a set of four family costumes and it was most definitely cheaper to buy them! (Not always the case, but price it out folks.)

2. Time- How long is it going to take to make that captain America shield from scratch? Or can you roll down to Party McFrieking Crap-Zone and get a decent looking one that you won’t mind getting destroyed by a three year old who hast learned to control her powers?

3. Comfort- that one piece kiddie Pikachu costume is cute and warm for Trick or Treat, but the little Pika is going to sweat his butt off. Think light weight TWO PIECE costume for kids under five. Be prepared to carry all props, helmets, hats, and bags that are part of the costume. Kids under age five, consider bringing the all-terrain stroller that holds piles of crap. Even if you don’t put the kid in it, you can pile all the swag and kid floatsom in it.

4. Your comfort- learned this one the hard way. Parents- you’re going to need your hands free. Messenger bag, backpack, fanny pack, nobody is going to judge. And those weapons and props better be able to be put in your bag. And skip the sweater!

5. Food- first thing, scope out the snack situation. How many miles is it in between “I’m starving” and the food. Better yet, water and food in your bag so you don’t have to wait in lines.

6. Bathroom breaks- Manditory “Everybody has to try!” Breaks every so often. Nothing like trying to dissemble Young Skywalker when she’s really gotta go RIGHT NOW!

7. Posed Picts BEFORE you head in. If you want that all Justice League family magic moment, pose and set it up before you hit the show floor. The little Jedi don’t really want to stop and have you take the shot over and over again in those crowds. Better yet, pose at home on your “practice cosplay” day and take as many damn picts as you want.

Lastly have fun! Share your love for fandom with your kids! Happily chill for like ever with the table of plush kitties if that’s what your little Jedi wants to do. If you’re stressing and irritated the kids don’t want to see what you want to see, nobody will be happy and worst of all… they might not want to go back again! (The horror!)

So let the kids pick the cosplay and pick their fandoms to celebrate. Have fun with your family, and Nerd Parent it all the way.

Dr. Nerd Mom

Blasting off Again!

 

 

 

Nerd Mom-ing it

There are many ways to be great parents. The Internet would have you believe there is a “right” way and a “wrong way” to go about. I have no clue, I’m just doing the best I can and sharing my story of being a Nerd Mom to my fabulous Nerd Kids (the young Jedi- I just don’t like that whole Padiwan term… always ends in tragedy). Maybe this can be a place to help you explore and embrace your own Nerd Parenting ideas.