Retort

20 11 2007

“I cannot feel anything but sorry for that kid. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy games a lot. But “forcing” a kid into liking them? No thank you…”

*****

I wanted to clear something up about a post I wrote last week, Evolution. It didn’t occur to me to mention this before, since the number of people that read my blog is very close to the same number of years Ethan’s been alive (okay, it’s not that low; but it’s low enough that the majority of people who read it I either know in real life or “know” in this fake, internetty life (where “know” means they leave comments and I read their blogs and leave them comments), and thus it would have been clear to them without my spelling it out). (Although, based on the stats, there’s also a pretty good number of readers unaccounted for, lurking and reading my blog in secret; to them I say, Don’t be shy! I love comments, and it’s nice to know that someone else is enjoying what I’ve written. And while it isn’t exactly nice to know someone’s not enjoying what I’ve written, I’d still welcome comments of that variety, too.) (Ahem. That was a lot parentheses, wasn’t it? Now I’ve forgotten what I was saying, as you have too, no doubt. Let’s go back to that first parenthesis where it all went awry and refresh our memories together, shall we?)

(Oh. That was as far as I’d gotten? Man, I am so easily sidetracked.)

So that post, Evolution. After Jeff read it, he sent the link to Hawty McBloggy, who liked it so much that she in turn posted about it on her own blog (which is cool, I appreciate the compliment!). Which is how a lot of people who don’t normally read my blog ended up seeing it. Hence this feeling I have to clear something up.

Someone left a comment on Hawty McBloggy’s post that, when I read it, immediately fired up my defensive, motherly, protective… juices. I read it and was like, ok, NO, I need to comment back. And I started to do so. But the more I said, the more I found I wanted to say and it was, number one, getting too lengthy to be a mere comment, and two, totally not worth it, since that was just one person’s (incorrect) judgment out of hundreds. I mean, why do I care so much what one person thinks? I don’t. And so I decided not to comment back.

But I just couldn’t shake that defensive feeling. It’s partially my own fault, since nowhere in the Evolution post do I come out and say “This is fiction. These captions? Not fact. The pretend scientific talk? NOT REAL.” Apparently, I came off sounding like I’d had a child with the intention of experimenting on him. Um, yeah, didn’t think I’d needed to point out that that was not the case. It was a joke. I was trying to be funny. I took some pictures we had where Ethan happened to be on the couch, most times playing with a game controller, and acted like he was participating in a scientific study. I guess I did such a good job pretending that someone thought it was real?

Humor me and let me describe what was actually going on in all those photos…

Obviously, in the first photo, he’s not playing video games. He isn’t even facing the television. I love that picture, because it totally captured what Jeff did in those early days of Ethan’s life, those times where he’d come home from work and, being the thoughtful man he is, take newborn Ethan so that I could sneak away and nap for a while. And he didn’t just leave Ethan alone in the papasan or bassinet while he played video games; he held him, and played with him when he was awake (as much as you can interact with an 11-day-old), and continued to hold him after he’d gone to sleep. There were many times that I’d come downstairs, temporarily lucid again after my hour of sleep, to find them like this. I just thought it was cute.

The second picture is a total set up. I believe it went something like this: “Hey, the controller’s right next to him, put it on his lap and take a picture. That’ll be funny. We are so witty; no one’s ever done this before!” No video games were being played or watched.

Third one- that’s Jon Jon the Babysitting Man holding Ethan. Jon is playing video games. Not the baby. The baby is fixated on getting the controller out of Jon’s hands so that he can put it in his mouth. He is not aware that there are video games being played.

Fourth- Same as the last. Only on the lap of a different person (his future father-in-law, perhaps? wink wink).

Fifth- Ethan is sitting on someone’s lap, yes, watching the game being played. I don’t remember what game it was, but I know that by this age, I started not allowing anyone to play violent games while Ethan was in the room, since he was more aware of them. And again, I will reiterate: Ethan is not playing here. Merely holding the controller. He likes them, thinks they’re cool. Probably only because he’s not allowed to play with them (kids are tricky like that).

Sixth: This was taken at a work function last year. I’d been watching Ethan while Jeff and some other guys played… I don’t remember what game. Ethan was running around (translation: running AWAY from me), saw Daddy, and climbed up into his lap. And sat there. He knew if he went with me, I’d make him do something awful, like get a diaper change or eat some vegetables. So there he sat… say it with me, now… Not Playing Video Games. Because that is where he wanted to sit.

Seventh: The caption I put for this one most closely matches the actual circumstances taking place. As you see, both Dave and Jeff are wearing their pajama pants. This indicates that it is evening time (they tend to prefer the couch potato look as early as they think they can get away with it (“6pm, already? Better change into something a little more comfortable…”)). Being the thoughtful wife that I am, rather than take Jeff away from his guest and their activity, I was trying to get Ethan ready for bed, when all he wanted to do was stay up and do whatever Daddy and Uncle Dave were doing. He climbed up on the couch with them and pushed the buttons on a controller (that is not even turned on) for a few minutes. He’s… what, now? Not Playing, that’s right. I took the picture before forcing him back to his room to get ready for bed because I thought they all looked so cute on the couch together. He sat there for 2 minutes, tops. Two year olds are not known for their awesome attention spans.

And the eighth: The first and only picture in which you could actually say that he is playing video games. And the only reason for this is because Jeff was playing while Ethan had been napping, Ethan woke up, I brought him out to the living room, Jeff got up to answer his phone, but not before saving his game, so he just paused it and left the controller there. One of Ethan’s favorite things to do is steal your seat when you get up. He did so. Picked up the controller, and for the first time, pushed buttons and made things happen on the screen. He was MESMERIZED. I snapped the picture as fast as I could (remember that thing about toddlers and attention spans?), and then it was over (between me ripping the controller out of his hands– “Ethan, DON’T touch.”– and Jeff’s fearful screams– “Noooo, I didn’t save it yet!”– he didn’t stand a chance).

And that, if I had been reporting facts instead of making up funny captions, is what you would have read underneath all those photos. Not quite as amusing written out this way, is it?

In case anyone is interested, here are my real, actual feelings on video games, and my son’s experience with them:

Playing video games is Jeff’s hobby. He will, one day, share this interest with his sons. For some dads, it’s cars, others fishing, whatever. But that day will be as far into the future as I can stave it off.

Also, as I briefly mentioned, I don’t allow people in my house to play violent video games if my son is present, let alone allow my son to play them. He’s two! Even if I did let him watch, he’d get scared. He’s scared of the movie “Oliver & Co.” for goodness’ sakes. And it’s about A KITTEN. He fears pieces of lint/thread that, however remotely, resemble spiders or ‘nakes, as he calls snakes. This was one of those things I didn’t preface the post with, because anyone who knows me (or “knows” me, as the case may be), knows this. I have a hard enough time dealing with the guilt I feel for letting him watch two hours of PBS in the morning because my back hurts too much to take him out to play. So, let him shoot people Call of Duty style? Um, no.

…And now do you see why I decided against leaving that response to the mistaken/assumptive commenter? I start out okay, and then I ultimately get all protective, and feel this overwhelming urge to convince someone, some complete stranger, that what they think to be the awful truth is in fact not true at all. And I just spent, what, an hour? With all the explanations and the nuh uh, it actually happened this way’s, and for what? So that I could say that I’m not a mother who forces her kid to play video games? To some random person who won’t even read this?  WHY? I’m overly sensitive, that’s why. And pregnant. Gonna play the pregnant card while I still can. Someone questions my parenting, I react; I don’t think I’m the only one to ever have been guilty of this.

And now I’ve gone and exhausted myself. All that typing. Or maybe it was all the housework I did today- laundry, de-clogging the bathroom sink (YUCK), baking Jeff’s birthday cake, cooking a dish for him to bring to his work potluck tomorrow, internally growing a human being, running errands with a CRANKY and PISSED OFF two and a half year old (he stood in the parking lot and screamed that he was NOT a big boy, he was a BABY, and I was all, Okay, you’re a baby, but let’s get in the car, it’s chilly out here… and he was all “NOOO! Will not get in car, I a baby!” Are you confused? That’s because it MAKES NO SENSE. His tantrums sometimes (most of the time) are not for real reasons. It is Tiring.). Yeah, probably a combination of all those things.

And I’ve gotta get up early, Forceful Video Gaming for Today’s Two-Year-Old starts at 5am, sharp.


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10 responses

21 11 2007
ethans oma

You need a day or fifteen off !! I will be there soon and I will FORCE you to let me have that darling not-a-big-boy all to myself. And that’s final !

21 11 2007
AndreAnna

Holy smokes, woman! Take a deep breath and line up the vodka shots for when you’re done cooking that kid!

There is no need to defend yourself or your parenting. Or Jeff’s. Like you said, people that know you or “know” you knew that it was a joking post and took it for what it was, funny as hell.

My husband is a huge gamer; we literally have every game system and he has three computers in his “command central” that he sometimes plays two games at once. But he never plays with them and ignores her. Ever. His goal is to get Charlotte to beat Halo by the time she’s 8. So, I’m with ya. And Mike and I both agree no violent video games ANYWHERE near the kids. Mostly we play Wii now (which Ethan might be able to enjoy soon) and she loves watching the sports or the games.

So, yeah, long comment short, I’m right there with ya.

You’re a good mom. Jeff’s a good dad. Tell me who was rude, I’ll kick her in the shins. I’m from Joisey. I’m tough like that.

21 11 2007
renee

Well, I don’t know you and only recently found your blog (which I love) and I realized it was a joke. I think that other person is missing a humor gene or something.

21 11 2007
Ian

Could you submit your “Forceful Video Gaming” plan to me ASAP? We would like to implement it upon the arrival of our baby and it seems to have been effective for you!

😀

21 11 2007
Video Games Console Nintendo Wii PS3 PS2 PSP Xbox 360 GameBoy PlayStation

[…] News – Video Game Reviews – Nintendo Wii .. KPBS Movie Reviews » Blog Archive » Hitman Retort « Sublime Bedlam Kung Fu Rodeo » Blog Archive » Dreary Outlook For Video Game.. Video Games, this is […]

21 11 2007
ironanno

hehe, funny that someone actually took that seriously, really funny post.

(hello, stumbled on your site by mistake, after googling for info for a debate subject, which I should be doing instead of commenting:))

21 11 2007
Swistle

Ha ha, I can’t believe that comment! Some people’s brain cables have become disconnected without them noticing.

23 11 2007
AllColdInside

As a father of three (13 yo boy, 9 yo girl, and 4 yo ‘superboy’), I can say without reservation that whatever you do to raise your children right is YOUR BUSINESS, NOT THEIRS. If some moron cannot see the humor of a creative parent (and the original post is PRICELESS!), as you have pointed out, do not give them a second thought. Every one of my kids plays games. My wife hates all game consoles, but all four of us have out ‘modern tv time’ interacting together. Not the usual idiot box for us.
As for the bone-heads who offend way too easily over your hilarious post, take this into consideration: You can’t please all people sometimes, but you sure CANNOT please them all the time.

Keep up the posts!

23 11 2007
AllColdInside

Oh, on a side note, my 9 year old daughter destroys my 13 year old son and his friend in both Halo 2 and 3. Go figure! (daddy’s little girl!)

15 12 2007
Idetrorce

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
Idetrorce

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