I think I knew that my scientist husband's "geek gene" had passed to our daughter the day she asked me to explain how to add and subtract negative numbers.
She was four years old.
By the time she hit high school, she was a math/science whiz, so joining the robotics team was a natural. To simplify, each January, schools' robotics teams are given a particular challenge and issued parts and rules, with the idea that they create a robot for the regional competitions in March.
While she took to robotics like she was born for it, I stayed far away from the "dirty, greasy" robotics shop (formerly the school's auto shop), leaving that part of the parenting to her dad. Until senior year, when she was named Team Captain, and she asked if I'd be Team Mom and run the Friday Night Dinners. Mind you, I am the writer of girly books about prom dresses, hotties and kissing, so math, physics, tools, auto shop grease was a big eeewww to me...but how could I say no?
So off I went. And guess what? The robotics shop was every bit as dirty and greasy and eeewww as I had expected. Not to mention that the classroom where I served the team their meals was the biology lab, and often stunk of formaldehyde! (Excuse me!)
But quickly, those technicalities stopped mattering. The energy and excitement of the 50 or so team members, the teachers, mentors, and other parents in that shop was incredibly contagious. I soon started learning "geek" terms and laws of physics, actually cared about how the circuit boards were functioning, and if the robot's bumpers were on straight. And I took it upon myself to serve the best darn dinners they'd ever eaten!
When it came time for the regional competition, you couldn't keep me away. I put on my Geek Chic robotics t-shirt, and cleared my calendar to watch every scrimmage, to root on our team's successes and commiserate in its disappointments.
A few weeks later, when the team was lacking adult supervision to march in a Memorial Day Parade, I put up my hand. My husband and I lead a group of them in what ended up being a super-fun event. In fact, I've scrounged up a picture from that day: (that's me and the robot in the center).
My daughter's away at college now. And I'm home, working on my spring 2010 book for Delacorte Press. The premise? Would you believe it's about a girl who is named Team Captain of her robotics team? Okay, the similarities to my daughter ends there, but she has read every word and helped give the main character "geek cred." And thanks to her and robotics, I am proud to be a robotics geek, too!
Curiosity question: who else here has been involved in robotics or knows someone who has been involved in robotics?