Monday, January 17, 2011

AwesomeCloud the congoing kid

This weekend, we had a dealer table at Arisia. It was in Boston, an hour and a half from where we live, so we commuted all four days. That's a lot of driving time for a toddler. Fortunately, AwesomeCloud does very well in the car.

Friday we got our dealer badges and set the table up. We said hello to our friend Everett who was sitting at the dealer table next to us. Everett and sells a comic book series called "Sky Pirates" with his wife Sue. If you like indie comics, I recommend checking it out. We all left at around 10:00 PM and got home after 11. Kiddo went to bed, and so did I. For some reason, his Kid Music CD was in the CD player instead of our usual Loreena McKennitt, so Cloud played "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" and other jump around and gesture games in his crib until midnight, when the CD skipped and i used that as an excuse to shut it off before the end.

On Saturday we all trekked back to Boston for a looooong day of dealing. Cloud discovered the joy of escalators. There were two of them just outside the dealers' room, and two more above those. He and i spent at least an hour that morning going up, up, down, down, up, up, down, up, down, down, up, up, down, up, down, up, and down the escalators.

Other than that, he was too antsy and restless to stay behind the table for long, and I was really wishing I'd brought some toys. I always forget to bring toys. Other people fill their minivans with toys. I'm lucky if I find a stray Thomas the Train in my coat pocket so I can offer it to Cloud to play with.

Also, he got it into his head that he was ravenous for nothing but Nutrigrain bars. It became kind of a problem. I'd only brought five.

We got to meet lots of weird people, too. people in fabulous costumes, and people engaging in bizarre conversation. Like the woman who stood directly in front of my sale sign and told me all about her love for cats, spiders, and owls. (Everybody wants to talk about cats and spiders, because our logo is a cat and a spider and those animals feature prominently in our comic books. Owls, however, was a new one.) Then she described in excruciating detail how she got to have a phobia of tea, how she overcame it, and the intricate and elaborate tea-drinking habits practiced today by her husband and her.

People who don't go to geeky cons probably wouldn't appreciate that description, or they might think I'm exaggerating. The whole exchange took about 15 minutes. It felt like an hour. Each passerby who glanced over her shoulder at our books could have been a potential paying customer. Hey, I love wacky conversation as much as anyone, but I gotta make back the table fee, at the very least.

Then there was the woman accompanied by a little girl with long, scruffy hair and a slightly younger boy with long, scruffy hair. The woman was a talker, too. The girl interrupted her a few times to say she was interested in "Minions For Hire" #3. The woman herself showed interest in 'Perils of Picorna." The boy mostly just stood there and shuffled his feet. So here I am, thinking I could coax a sale out of her, and I said, "Perils of Picorna is a great comic book for women and girls who like female characters who don't fit the usual narrow female stereotypes."

The woman replied, "My son is a boy."

At that point i figured I had two choices: either i could point out that her daughter was a girl and she was a woman, or I could say that boys might enjoy it too. I went with the latter. The formers seemed too obnoxious.

So then she countered with numerous reasons why a boy wouldn't dare be caught with a comic book about a girl. Apparently the kid couldn't bear to be different.

"I'm raising my son in the industry," I said, "So I hope he doesn't ever feel like that. It really is an enjoyable book."

"That's probably different," the woman said. "I tried to teach him to be open-minded, but public school washed all of that away. Now he does everything he can not to stand out."

"Oh," I said, pretending to be sympathetic. "My son's Chinese, so he already stands out. Maybe he'll feel like he has nothing to lose."

"My son's mixed-race," the woman replied.


Then I found out that the girl wasn't her daughter. My theory is that the mom is so used to having to explain to people that her long-haired little boy is not a girl that she jumped right into that role again without thinking that maybe I assumed that both kids were hers. I knew the boy was a boy. It took me a minute, but I'm astute like that. Zing.

On Sunday I woke up with a stress headache of doom, so I drove my husband to Arisia and then Cloud and I spent a quiet day at home until it was time to pick him back up again. On a whim, we decided to drive all the way in, park the car on the street outside, and take the Silver line into Chinatown for a social dinner at a nice restaurant. We had a lot of fun. Cloud recognized our friend Judy, which pleased her immensely, and he even said her name several times. He ate like a champ and charmed the waitstaff. I think it was good for him to be in a place where pretty much everyone there was Chinese except his parents. He is in the majority, if you count the entire world population, and I want him to get to experience being in the majority sometimes. Most days go by without him laying eyes on a single Asian face except his own.

On Monday, the con shut down at 2:00 PM, so we braved it again with all three of us at the dealer table. There was a last minute rush of sales, which was nice. And there was a photo shoot with a Stormtrooper. I'll insert that picture as soon as I find it. The guy in the Stormtrooper outfit was getting ready to apply for membership to the 501st Legion. I encouraged him, and promised to send a copy of the photo so he could use it in his application portfolio.

I'm always glad to help out a person striving for a good cause. :)

The whole Arisia experience has resulted in another language improvement for AwesomeCloud. He seems to experience a language surge after every big social event, I think. Now he's uttering two-word phrases more often, and some of his previously well-known words have gotten clearer. Today he said 'pillow' with near crystal clarity.

Also endlessly amusing: his attempts to whistle. I can whistle, just barely, but I can't do it at all when I'm laughing. So my attempts to teach him to do it right fell totally flat.

Oh yes: aaaand... I got him to say, "Buy my book!" (Sadly, he didn't win us any sales this way. What, isn't he $4.00 worth of cute? Just buy a book when the adorable but barely verbal two-year-old tells you to and everyone will be happy.)


  1. I definitely would have bought the book!

    As for the woman in your tale, if her son hates standing out and being different, why does she have him wearing long hair? Seems a little incongruous to me.

    Takes all kinds...

  2. I dunno... maybe he lives in a pocket of the population where all the boys have long hair?

    The mother had very short hair.

    I dunno.