Quick Thoughts on Daddyhood and Wotahood

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Tomorrow marks Haruna’s second birthday! Here’s the post from the day she was born. We’ve got a small party planned for her on Saturday but for now I just want to dwell briefly on how having a lenient geek father – mostly wota, but also a fanboy and still a bit otaku – may have already shaped who she is and how she will develop.

In practical terms, she’s been exposed to things that many others her age probably had not. She attended the first American screening of Sukeban Deka at the age of one month. She’s already attended two anime conventions, though she’s never cosplayed. She’s familiar with comic books, having shredded them gleefully in her younger days. (I’d always passed along crappy issues to her to do with as she pleased.) She’s familiar with songs from Morning Musume, Minimoni, Amuro Namie, DJ Ozma, and others – among her favorite PVs are “Dance Suru No Da” and “Hide & Seek” and anything from the original Minimoni line-up. She thinks Family Guy is funny, though perhaps for different reasons than me. We’ve watched Shihono Ryo videos together, though not Yamanaka Mayumi. (I draw my limits, after all.) And as I’ve pointed out time and again, even her name is a clear homage to my interests in the idol world.

Is she going to grow up a geek in her own right? Maybe. Maybe not. She’s got interests of her own, after all. She already enjoys wearing make-up (thanks to her grandmother) and swimming and tumbling. She loves her Barney and Elmo. She insists I read stories to her every night, which I gladly do until she gets bored and moves on to something else. And really, who’s to say that my interests won’t seem old-fashioned to her as she grows older and more discerning? “Oh Dad, I don’t wanna look at those nude Yamada Ryosuke centerfolds! [This is after he becomes twenty and decides to show it all off.] Why can’t you find something interesting to talk about, for a change?”

And as much as I’ve tried to mold her, she in turn has succeeded in molding me. I’ve learned to appreciate Barney, who I always considered a bit stupid, as well as Little Einsteins, which I considered a bit too high-minded. (I’ve always liked Elmo, so there’s no change there.) When we’re in the car together, she’s made me shameless about dancing and gesturing along to whatever song she wants to hear, such as “If You’re Happy And You Know It” or “The Wheels On The Bus”.

Perhaps most importantly, she’s changed my perspective of what’s truly important in life. Seeing to her needs will often override my own geek indulgences, rightfully so. And while writing remains an integral part of my identity, so is fatherhood now. I have to confess, in the past I used to rail against and deeply resent anything which I thought “stood in the way” of my writing. Now… well, if Haruna wants me to stop what I’m doing and follow her so she can get some apple juice, I’m pretty mellow if it means a blog post waits, or I need to stay up later for a deadline. (Okay, I still blow off deadlines, but now I’m no longer angsty about it.)

I’d like to think that Haruna is growing up a happy, healthy child. Her parents aren’t perfect by any means, but they’re not apologetic about it either. I hope sincerely that she’ll be well-adjusted, but not because she had a “normal” or “traditional” upbringing, whatever the fuck that may be. Rather, I hope that the confidence and peace from being a well-adjusted child comes from seeing her parents simply being themselves and being happy about it – and that she in turn follows that example. I don’t hide the kind of person that I am, I don’t make excuses for it, and I make an effort to be good to the family and friends most dear to me. Being a parent does indeed mean being a role model, and I hope that role is part of what she takes away.

All that said, I dread the day she goes up to one of her classmates and says, “My dad thinks you’re hawt.” Because, you know, second grade shouldn’t be too complicated with that kind of stuff.

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I’ll be deleting this last part after the weekend, but if you’re not yet aware of the Plus area, here’s a peek at it. You may wanna join, you may not.

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5 Responses to “Quick Thoughts on Daddyhood and Wotahood”
  1. Rocky says:

    Man Ray, your daughter is going to grow up awesome! Just like you. =D

  2. pengie says:

    Tell Haruna “happy birthday” for me! 🙂

    It’s hard to believe sometimes that two years have passed… wow.

  3. happy birthday haruna!

  4. L.Alger says:

    as if the ties of YODC and AmericanWota weren’t strong enough, Haruna shares the same birthday as our own Freefall Jones!
    weird

  5. EmEl says:

    My half-sister was born 2 days before your daughter. I find it interesting to compare. Her parents have striven to develop her in a similar manner as you, but with different players. Her tastes involve knowing the difference among Mozart, Bach, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky rather than idols of the present.

    Children are awesome, good to see you enjoying yours.