Thursday, December 29, 2005

Point-Counterpoint

As you can tell from the previous post, this Christmas I finally caved. I wasn't planning on admitting this to the Internets at large, because I had made such a big hairy deal for so many years: No Gameboys.

Despite my foot putting downing, TinyTuna hung on, as only a pre-teen can. She asked. She begged. She pleaded. She complained. She whined. Yet, in spite of her non-stop hammering, I held strong: No Gameboys.

This Christmas I finally decided, OK. A big reason was that I finally found some games that weren't all shoot 'em ups or steal and crash cars games. I found strategy games like Checkers and Chess, Scrabble and Sorry. I found word puzzle games like crosswords and word-searches. And, of course, I found the action-adventure games that everybody wants. So overall, I felt there were enough choices to appease my parental skin-crawling aversion to electronic mind-numbing.

The gift of the previously decreed No Gameboy was huge, because her slightly younger cousin got one just like it (and her even younger cousin had gotten one in July), so on Christmas day they spent much time clicking and clacking while the 30-second music track looped on and on and on and on.

I bought the previously decreed No Gameboy with the thought that this would be used under strict supervision and according to several household rules. Generally it was to be used for long car trips, which we take at least twice a year, or when her touring choir takes a long bus trip. These would be times when I felt it was appropriate to plug in a tune out, for a little while.

But the present is new, and I knew that she would want to overdose on the previously decreed No Gameboy for awhile, and I was prepared for that. Or so I thought.

It doesn't help when you give an obsessive compulsive kid an obsessive compulsive toy. It doesn't help when you give a perfectionist a new game that she doesn't know how to instantly master and beat AND WHY CAN'T I GET FROZONE TO MAKE ICE STEPS? AND OH MAN! THEY MELTED!! AND I'LL NEVER EVER KILL THE WHITE WITCH OF NARNIA EVER BECAUSE I JUST DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!!! AND THIS GAME IS TOO HARD.

This, of course, drives me through the roof.

Listen. I don't know how Frozone makes ice steps. I don't know how to kill the White Witch of Narnia, and there was no reason to get THAT bent out of shape when I suggested she throw a sandwich at her (MOM! That's NOT WHAT YOU DO). She asks for my help but won't hand me the game, which causes a great deal of difficulty, because I'm a hands-on Tuna when it comes to learning.

So, I'm listening to all the whining, the griping, and the complaining, and I'm thinking to myself, "Self, I was getting this crap BEFORE I bought the previously decreed No Gameboy. Where is my win in this situation?" Of course, all the aforementioned behavior only happens when she deigns to speak at all, which has now slowed to a "Mom will you get me......." trickle.

Needless to say, TinyTuna and I have had ISSUES.
Needless to say, I've already taken it away -- twice.
Needless to say, there have been tears.

But, needless to say, it has provided an opportunity to talk about self-control, and appropriate manners, and when to play it and when to put it away, and how, in the long run, we really prefer talking to her and listening to all her wonderful ideas and stories, because those are so much better than any previously decreed No Gameboy could ever be.

She's only 11, but she's starting to figure it out. So maybe the previously decreed No Gameboy was an educational toy after all.

I'll take it.

And yeah, I love her.

3 comments:

Sarah said...

It's good to hear she's learning about addiction so early and how to recognize it and how to pull back when it's necessary.

I was in my 30's when I discovered I was addicted to online chat--hours and hours and hours, well into the night and the wee hours as well. I had to start setting alarm clocks and -- walk away -- just walk away from the keyboard -- put the mouse down and just walk away.

She's luckier than she knows to have you as her mother.

Mrs. Wonderful said...

thanks for pioneering this one for me... I could have changed the pronoun and age to tell about my conversation with Wonder Boy last night and a WEBSITE. I made him walk away... "but MO-OMMMMMMM (that thirteen syllable word), I can't figure out how to get the wrench!!!"

There's one in the garage.

TV Junkie said...

Since I have no business speaking on the subject of computer game addictions I will only add this... if TT ever gets really really stuck in a game, google is her friend. I'm not encouraging cheating - but there are tons of tips, hints and tricks to be found on the 'net. Sometimes you get stuck in a particular spot, and when you get a nudge in the right direction.. VOILA! :)