Thursday, December 4, 2008

Comic Life Blog - Becoming A Parent

I was going to post my revised Rogerian paper until Paul mentioned in class that we can do this blog on Comic Life during class, so I decided to go that route instead. The reason, frankly, is that I feel that the Comic Life assignment needs more thought put into it than I have thus far, and I can get the paper revised at any time between now and the day we turn in the portfolio.

The point behind Comic Life is to have fun while demonstrating the learning of a literacy, and I can't think of any literacy I've had to learn that is more demanding and with less room for error than parenthood. So I believe that this needs to be five comic book pages long, and I'll be using South Park characters due to the fact that there's a nice, easy to use generator. So here's what I have in mind for my Comic Life:

Page 1: Becoming a parent.
Parenthood became real to me in the operating room where my wife was having her first C-section. She was on the table while I had a hospital gown, mask, and cap on. I was fine as the surgery started, but I knew when they started cutting. I was doing fine until they suctioned out a bunch of amniotic fluid mixed with a healthy amount of blood, and of course I looked over at the container as it collected the fluids. I rapidly turned green, felt the need to vomit, and had to be led out of the room. Had I not, my wife would have either ended up wearing the contents of my stomach on her face, or I would have fainted. I'm not sure which.

Page 2: Sleep Deprivation and Poop
I took the night shift manning phones while my wife worked retail during the day. This means that for the first six months of my child's life, I was literally existing on three hours of sleep per day. I'd get off work at 5:00 AM, arrive home around 6:00 AM, and then watch my little girl until about 7:00 PM when my wife arrived home. During that time I was responsible for feeding the child, keeping her occupied, and changing diapers. Oh yeah, all the while I was also writing gaming material for a variety of publishers. When I look back on it now, I often wonder how I managed to survive the sleep deprivation. Then there was the never ending chore of changing foul smelling diapers. Now that I've had a few kids, I swear I've had to personally deal with a medium sized mountain worth of poop. Sadly, I'm still not done with it, as my youngest is two and a half years old.

Page 3: Eating Out
My wife and I used to have more money than we do today. In fact, eating at the Outback Steakhouse was a weekly ritual for us. So was eating at Red Robin, and then we'd usually eat at Denny's. the Olive Garden, or one of the other mid-tier fast food joints on the west side.... At least until the first child came along. As a baby, every time we tried to go somewhere to eat, she would start crying and would become inconsolable. Even when we came prepared with a bottle, a change of diapers, and used a rocking car seat, she simply refused to allow us to eat in peace. Eventually we were forced to give up eating because we were afraid that the other patrons would murder us.

Page 4: Children's Programming
One of the things nobody bothered to explain to me before I became a parent was that once you have a kid, your TV is no longer your own. Prior to parenthood, my TV spent a lot of time being tuned to some ctuff I really enjoyed, like Babylon 5, the X-Files, Star Trek, Penn and Teller, etc. After parenthood, my TV was absolutely dominated by The Wiggles, Dora the Explorer, and other shows that I'm currently doing my best to force out of my head. To this day, I really have no tolerance for those shows even though its all my kids want to watch. And of course on those occasions when I simply overrule them and watch something I want to watch, they're loud and obnoxious, refusing to allow me to concentrate.

Page 5: Being a Parent is Being a Teacher
Before my oldest went into kindergarden, I wanted to make sure that she would be one of the smart ones. With that in mind, when she was about four and a half years old, I grabbed a bunch of coins and sat her down to learn basic math. Sure, it was really basic math, but I showed her that if you count one group of coins and added them to another group of counted coins, you would end up with a larger group of coins. I think it took about a week of trying to get her to understand, but before too long I could ask her simple questions, like "What is four plus three" and I would get the ever accurate answer of seven. I also taught her how to subtract while I was at it, and as a result, she has always been way ahead of her class in math. She won't be starting multiplication in school until next year, but she already understands how and why it works, and she's working on memorizing her multiplication tables. Not only is she well ahead in that area, but she's also above average in reading and all other areas. Being a boog teacher at home means that she is a good student at school, which ultimately leads to a happier more socially adjusted child, and seeing that makes pages one through four worthwhile.

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