Monday, December 31, 2007

I'm Raising a Gamer

Well, it's official… Miss M is a future gamer or at a minimum, a future geek. I'm using the word "future" very loosely, mind you. Not that there's anything wrong with being a gamer, DH and I both have the bug and we're pretty normal.

Maybe if we hop in the wayback machine, we can put it all into perspective.

When Miss M was only two, we found my old laptop. For any normal computer user, it was completely useless and beyond upgradable. So DH loaded Reader Rabbit on it, hooked up a trackball and sat down with her to play. She loved it and couldn't get enough of it so we added a few more educational games to the mix. It didn't take any time at all and she was able to turn it on herself, load her game of choice and even shut it down properly. Yes, she used the mouse to do the whole windows/shutdown process all by herself and not just push the power button. I never kept it plugged in, so she was at our mercy whenever she wanted to play it. Oh, how I long for those days of being in control.

Then we moved back to Iowa where all traveling is done via minivan. With two long trips last year, one to Alabama and one to Detroit, we decided to invest in a few of those hand-held joystick games to help pass the drive time. I'm not sure what compelled me to hook them up to the kids' TV, but I did. She would gladly sit in front of it playing those games all day long if we let her. At least I'm able to take it away and it makes an awesome toy time-out when she's not being good.

She always enjoyed cheering Daddy (or yours truly) on when he (we) used to play World of Warcraft. On the few occasions when he is playing a game on the Xbox, she's right there too. Oh, and she never passes up a chance to help me with my online puzzle du jour. She gets the concept of different games and is always happy to give them a shot. While she may not win, she's happy that she gets to try. A few weeks ago, DH was playing Fusion Frenzy with Miss M and Miss K and they all had a ball. So one day when DH knew he would be gone for the day, he promised the girls I would play Fusion Frenzy with them. You have no idea how stupid I felt being told by a 4 year old and a 3 year old which button made you jump or go faster. You know how moms somehow manage to not win all the time when they're playing games with the kids? That wasn't a problem here. I'm embarrassed to say that I sucked at the game and well, they didn't.

At Christmas, they received a Littlest Pet Shop game for their TV and Miss M does great at it once she's shown how to do a particular puzzle. The cousins have a Wii so she's been able to play bowling and boxing with them and it's really adorable.

Last night, Daddy helped the girls start their Viva Piñata garden. This morning, Miss M proclaimed "I want to work on my garden again." (Too bad all the games are on time out.)

I'm happy to see that she's learning something, but we're going to have to start putting a timer on her gaming play. Thank goodness for the mini kitchenette and the littlest pet shop army – at least she's getting some normal playtime. We also play card and board games together. They're involved in dance, swimming and soccer, in addition to preschool, so it isn't like this is all they do.

But if I hear her yell "Leroy Jenkins!" when she's working on her Viva Piñata garden, I'm going to cry.