Despite my attempts to warn the parents of today about the dangers of girls doing science, it seems the people at TVO and Toronto's Sinking Ship Entertainment are hell-bent on encouraging this risky behaviour.
How else can you explain the new show Annedroids? In it, an 11-year-old girl named Anne builds robots and androids to help her perform experiments as though women and girls are supposed to suddenly start taking an interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
Take this line from the show's promotional materials: "There's nothing Anne likes more than getting her hands dirty to make things, breaking things apart to see how they work, and mixing things together to see that happens. Anne takes the stereotype of a typical tween girl and busts it right open."
Shocking AND offensive, if you ask me.
Alright, that's probably enough sarcasm. Honestly, I'm so glad that TVO is making an investment in a show like this. As the father of a four-year-old girl who loves, in her words, "doing science" (her most popular experiment is tying various toys to her helium balloons to see which will float in the air), shows like Annedroids can only help to normalize and encourage such passions.
From what I've seen, my daughter is probably a year or two from really being able to get into the show (it's targeted at kids age 6-9), but if you've got kids in the early years of elementary school, I strongly urge you to check this show out. The three main characters—Anne, Nick, and Shania—do a great job of introducing scientific principles and educational content in a way that doesn't feel forced—something that's key to making content like this stick (something poor Astar never figured out. Oh Astar, you may've been a one-trick pony, but it was a good trick).
And when your kids start bringing home report cards with high marks in science and math, you'll have robots to thank.
A quick note of disclosure: When TVO contacted me about this show, I got really excited and decided I'd write about it. It was only after that that I discovered Sinking Ship was involved. And, as I learned a couple of years ago, one of the founders of Sinking Ship is an old friend of mine from my three-year stint in New Brunswick as a kid. I can assure you that the fact that Matt came to my 11th birthday party had no impact on my decision to write about this show or my enthusiasm for it, but I figured I should lay my cards on the table, just in case.
If you liked this, check out: "5 Important Things I've Learned While Raising A Girl" and "Children's Television: A Field Guide."
My wife left me this week. She took the kid, packed up the car, and left me here with the dog and a whole lot of free time.
In what's becoming an annual tradition, my wife and kid—along with my wife's mother—set off for a week's vacation on the east coast. I'm staying home to work, and upon hearing about this situation, many of my friends assume I must be living it up. A week of quiet evenings at home? A weekend of sleeping in? Isn't this what every parent dreams of?
I guess, maybe.
And hey, I'll admit, there's a certain niceness to not having a four-year-old being all four-year-oldy all over the house. No toys scattered about. No incessant demands for attention mixed with intermittent meltdowns. It's a freedom I haven't felt in years.
But mostly it sucks.
I'm bored. I miss my wife. I miss my kid. One of the reasons I grew to hate work travel was that I felt like I was abdicating my responsibilities every time I left home. Turns out parenting via webcam sucks just as much when you're alone at home as it does when you're on the road.
So, anyone wanna get a beer or something?
If you liked this, check out: "I'm A 34-Year-Old Married Dad Sleeping With A Student" and "When You Least Expect It ... Awesome Happens."
The kid and I have hit our stride in a lot of ways lately. Earlier in her life she was very, very much Mommy's girl. The sight of Daddy actually caused panic simply because I wasn't mommy. Even when we managed to have tender moments, the sight of mommy was enough to shift her attention away.
But the changes I made in my career a few months ago are paying dividends at home. I do find myself with more mental energy around the house. I'm generally happier at home and the kid and I have been allies a lot more than enemies (I should note, we've always had our special things together. We didn't have a bad relationship before but we did have a lot of trouble communicating which caused problems).
The thing is: it's still a work in progress. And man does complacency come back to bite me in the ass sometimes.
It's amazing the extremes the kid and I can reach on any given day. Take last weekend — the long weekend here in Ontario. We'd planned a Daddy-Daughter overnight camping trip for the Sunday night but after three complete and total meltdowns before noon I couldn't imagine even having another friendly conversation with her, let alone spend a night in a tent. But we went. And, low and behold, we had an amazing time.
Then this weekend we spent the day together, just me and her, at a puppet festival. It was great. Then we got home and had two shouting matches before dinner.
The kid and I are hitting our stride, big time. In large part because we're a lot alike. But that also makes us a giant pain in each other's asses.
Why can't she just inherit my good traits, not my bad ones?