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.

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