Sunday, October 30, 2011

Can you tell me how to get?

I need to lighten up.  I've been in a pretty serious mood lately.  For instance, the other day I discovered my seven month old mesmerized by a television screen lit up with loud, ammunition filled gaming.  I became internally furious immediately.

However, how is this any different than me sitting the same seven month old down in front of some beeping, flashing, spasm inducing baby piano while I read a magazine on the couch?

Well, ok, maybe the guns and the blood...

But to her its all movement and light and sound and baby groovy.  She was being entertained.  She was sitting there for five minutes.  We parents were taking a wee break.  I won't bother to defend our parenting here because if you know us, and most of you do, you know us.  And, if you don't know us, your loss.

Which somehow brings me to Elmo.  My toddler is going to be Elmo for Halloween.  When she asked for this privilege, there was no hesitation.   I actually like Elmo.  So, I was happy to buy my little one the costume from Target and encourage her to pretend to be Elmo while riding her tricycle.

Here is where I hesitate: do I encourage her to "become" Elmo in Once Upon a Monster?

My husband and I don't even own Kinect for the 360 (though I feel its purchase may be imminent).  It's just something I have been thinking about:  Kids (little ones like ours) and gaming. 

While, yes, we should limit the amount of violent gaming our tiny girls witness to virtually none, what about other games, especially those designed for them?  What about Once Upon a Monster?  On one hand, I am excited for my husband to introduce gaming to our eldest.  It would be something for them to share.  It would be a new way to pass a rainy day.  She might even advance her coordination and stimulate her brain.    

On the other hand, I worry it might be too soon.  When she started watching Sesame Street on TV,  I knew there would be no going back, but she was two years old and I knew it was time.  With video games I am not so sure.  Will "playing" Sesame Street be her gateway game?  Will she want to do nothing else?  Are first person shooters next?  Will she become obese?  Depressed?  Sit in dark rooms and fester, full of angst?

As I said, I need to lighten up. 

Kevin Clash, the genius puppeteer behind Elmo, describes the red furry monster as being all about love.  As a parent, I think you can positively share most anything with your children as long as it is done in love.  This includes video games.  And so, I foresee a neon green case (and a Kinect) hung by the chimney with care.  But, for now, Happy Halloween everyone.  Play safe.  Play in love.  Like Elmo.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...

Marriage changes everything, well, except for one thing.  Marriage does not change who you were before you got married.  This may sound promising to all you negative nuptial nancies out there.  However, all this means is that you were one person before you got married and now you are someone else.

Even if you agree on the correct way to fold socks you now fold your socks in the company of another.  Instead of lounging on your bean bag chair, drooling cup o' noodles on your boxers while rolling socks in front of Family Guy, you will now be relaxing on your duvet, sipping herbal tea in your slippers while rolling socks in front of reality TV.  Life will never be the same.

It will be better.

My husband and I have a dear friend, the best man at our wedding, who, for the sake of this blog I will refer to as "The Raptor".  The Raptor is getting married himself in a few short days.  We are both very excited and, no, not just because those will be our first nights away since baby #2.

Even though he has been accused of being "too cheap to buy, so he only rents and then beats it all weekend" and plays games "shrieking like a schoolgirl", The Raptor is a gamer all the same.  Sadly, there is a double standard when it comes to past times and romantic relationships.  Women can hot glue who knows what to who knows what else until the cows come home, but if a guy wants to play a few video games now and again he is an immature home wrecker.

My husband remains somewhat positive, "The Raptor is getting married.  Hopefully this will translate into more gaming.  Once he started dating his fiance, all his Xbox time went from gaming to 'watching Netflix'.  As I know, 'watching Netflix' tapers off significantly after a few months of marriage."

Another married in his gaming circle feels differently, "The Raptor has moved into the next phase of gaming, which is NOT gaming.  Virtual friendships wither and die, hand-eye coordination takes a turn for the worst, and sniping skills aren't what they used to be.  Bridge club is next."

A third hitched buddy upholds The Raptor's gaming reputation, "He's meticulous, methodical, sneaky, and a little bit blood-thirsty.  He enjoys taking his time and paying attention to detail as long as there is a tempestuous climax.  My advice to him?  Take it to the bedroom."

Sorry Rap, there is a "but."  And here it is... 

"When the honeymoon is over and the dew is off the pumpkin (or something like that), 'gaming' may not be as frequent as you had once thought to be reasonable.  Just remember you can always play with your Game Boy.  Classic fun."

My professional thoughts on the issue?  All married couples have at least one thing to which all their arguments boil down.  Do not make that issue gaming or hot glue.  Yes, two do become one, but the original "ones" do not become none.  Respect eachother's interests and sometimes play together.  Maybe there is money, or enjoyment, or at least a laugh in video game themed crafts, for example.  X and Y button cufflinks anyone?

All this to say,  I am very happy for The Raptor.  He more than deserves all the love and excitement his marriage will undoubtedly bring.  I wish him and his soon to be wife a heap of happiness.  In fact, now that I think about it, I wish them "50 grand peas" worth.