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It started with an email on our local parent listserv. A mom was vexed because a boy at preschool told her daughter she couldn’t be Spider-Man. Other parents quickly chimed in that their girls were experiencing similar problems with their love of Batman and other superheroes, who, let’s face it, are mostly dudes.

The conversation grew to ideas about playdates, getting these like-minded kids together. Then so many people chimed it that it turned into an idea for the Uptown Superheroes March, a cute little 4-block parade. Boys could come, too, in solidarity of the super girls.

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Interestingly, when the story hit our local news, the comments were mostly negative, basically equating this parade to participation trophies. People seemed outraged, distilling the idea down to a parade thrown by affluent helicopter parents to make one little girl feel better when she should really just suck it up. Because life is pain, I guess?

The reality was phenomenal. In preparation for the parade, I had some great conversations with Ozzie about boys and girls and the things that they like. When I said some kids thought girls couldn’t be Spider-Man, we both agreed that was silly. He told me that the day before a girl at preschool told him that boys couldn’t like sparkles. Also silly, we agreed. What’s not to like about sparkles? They’re sparkly!

We talked about what costume he wanted to have for the parade, and he decided that he wanted to be Toadette from Mario Kart. Now, a word about Mario Kart, which has been our household obsession lately. When Ozzie first started playing, he was reluctant to play as Peach or Rosalina because they’re girls. When he said that, I asked him if he thought it was weird that I play as Waluigi and Bowser. He slowly came around to the idea that he could play as the girl characters. Then he started getting really good at the game. We were down to one character left to unlock, and Ozzie was the one to unlock her: Toadette. Now, he’s pretty much the only one who can play as Toadette (especially now that he also unlocked her monster truck). In my personal moment of parenting triumph, he likes to do races where he’s Toadette and I’m Baby Peach. When we come in 1st and 2nd place in a race, we high-five and shout “Girl Power!” I refuse to raise a future Internet troll.

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When we got to the parade (sadly, I couldn’t pull together a Toadette costume in time), I learned that other parents had been having similar conversations with their kids leading up to the main event. So, while people may try to rain on our parade, our neighborhood started something great.

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The Mary Sue has great video coverage of the parade, and their post has my favorite comment so far from reader Simon Chui: “I think a lot of people underestimate how often a parade is the correct solution to a problem.”

Yes.

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Interview with a 10-year-old

by Amy Kraft on June 7, 2015

Look at this sweet little baby girl.

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That girl hit double-digits this week. 10! I can’t believe it. Here are Olive’s favorites from the past year.

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Favorite Video Game

Mario Kart Wii because Ozzie makes me play it but it’s fun.

[I just love how Mario Kart has been popping in and out of our lives for the past 8 years.]

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Favorite Book

Wonder. It was interesting to see the different people telling it.

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Favorite TV Show

American Ninja Warrior because it’s cool to see how far people make it on the obstacle course.

[We never quite make it through a full long episode of this, but Katy Catanzaro really capture her imagination.]

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Favorite Movie

Big Hero 6 because it’s funny.

[Yes, it has some funny moments, but Olive also thinks it’s hilarious when I cry at movies, making Big Hero 6 funnier for her.]

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Favorite App

Crossy Road. It’s just fun.

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Favorite Museum

The Tenement Museum because it’s interesting to see how people lived in the bad conditions.

[Her 4th grade class has gone on a zillion amazing NYC field trips this year. I love how this has expanded her worldview.]

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Favorite Computer Game

Scratch because it’s cool to make your own games and look at other people’s game. It has a good way to make art on it.

[I am so floored by the work that she’s doing in Scratch, basically teaching herself vector illustration. She’s basically set up an illustration business doing art trades with other kids. This picture is one of her creations. Not to worry, though, Stampy and Minecraft are still favorites, too.]

Happy Birthday, sweet baby girl.

 

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Tween Books Reviewed by a Tween

June 2, 2015

I never seem to have time to catch up on the massive pile of review books on my shelf. Fortunately, there’s a 9-year-old (almost 10-year-old) voracious reader in the house. I’ve asked her to tell me about her favorites from the stack. The Book That Proves Time Travel Happens by Henry Clark It’s about these […]

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Changed By Games: Highlights from G4C

May 30, 2015

Where does the time go? It’s been a month since I went to the 12th Annual Games for Change Festival, and I have much to tell you about. It’s an incredibly diverse showcase of games, all designed to get you thinking differently about the world. One theme that came up again and again was the […]

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Interview with a 5-year-old

May 5, 2015

My Oz man is turns 5 today, so it’s once again time for reflection on his favorite things. This year he was able to reflect on why he likes the things he does. So grown up! Favorite Book: The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak “Because it’s so funny.” Favorite TV Show: Transformers: Rescue Bots […]

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Celebrate Arbor Day with Trees

April 24, 2015

If you download but one album this Arbor Day, let it be Trees, the new collaboration from Molly Ledford and Billy Kelly. I adore Molly Ledford’s work in her band, Lunch Money, so I’m not surprised that I like this album. Her work with Billy Kelly is lovely and playful and vintage in a way […]

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Wild and Wonderful Life at the Limits

April 3, 2015
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One of my favorite projects I’ve ever worked on is Animal Genius, where I got to spend my days researching and designing games around animals. I developed a deep, deep love for weird animals. Axolotls, narwhals, Tasmanian devils … the weirder the better. It follows, then, that the American Museum of Natural History’s latest show, Life at […]

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NYICFF and the Secret of the Universe

April 2, 2015

I recently rounded up the short films we loved at the New York International Children’s Film Festival, and Olive and I caught one more show before the festival ended, the Girls POV shorts. There were beautiful, thought provoking shorts that Olive and I talked about well after the show ended. Layla’s Melody provided a heartbreaking picture into […]

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With Piper, Kids Make Minecraft Their Own

March 29, 2015

Last week I went to Sandbox Summit, an inspiring conference at MIT that was focused on play. There I met Shree Bose, winner of the 2011 Google Science Fair. She showed what she’s been working on with her co-founder, Mark Pavlyukovskyy. Minecraft fans, get ready to head over to Kickstarter. There are lots of different […]

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Bringing the NYICFF to You

March 20, 2015

The New York International Children’s Film Festival wraps up this Sunday. (HURRY! There a a couple tickets left!) Every year we try to make it to at least one of the shows. We adore the various shorts program. Last weekend, we went to Short Films One, the best short films around the world for ages […]

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