DS Ultimatums

I made a mistake.  I bought my 7 year old a Nintendo DS for Christmas. The child that already is having difficulty learning how to read, fights to the death to avoid practice and was already in a loving relationship with a Nintendo Gameboy Advanced.  He LIVES for that stupid game.  Every time that kid has a question about what we are about to do, I know he is really asking if he has time to play his game.  He is currently in love with his Star Wars Lego game and gives me updates daily on the characters he has “unlocked”? Darth Mal was the latest.
I made a sincere attempt to sound excited for him but it was tough.
I like most parents, wanted to knock his socks off on Christmas morning.  I accomplished that feat.  He has found me alone and quietly confided in me that he knows that I got the game for him, not Santa, and he is grateful.  He does this quietly so that he does not tip off my other pint sized pea squishers as to the true story of Santa Claus. *sigh* I love him for that.
The video game frenzy did not fly over my middle child’s head.  You can usually find him sidled up next to his big brother with his head attached to his shoulder watching him play.  You’ll hear him interject tips on a game he has never played, shout for joy when Isaiah accomplishes an amazing feat of hand-eye coordination or  whines that he can’t see when Isaiah’s shoulder gets tired and he shifts position.  It’s actually kind of adorable except I worry that this is not real conversation.   I am not typically one to look a gift horse in the mouth but their quiet means they are not interacting with each other. 
I can’t force them to be best friends in life if they can’t see each other over the video game!
So now I’m freaking out.  The DS is taking over our lives, our relationships, 
the free world!!! 
The sky is falling and every parenting magazine tip commandment that demanded fierce control over video game usage in the home is starting to play PSA’s in my head.  My children are going to become illiterate and anti-social people with great thumb dexterity.
<~~~~~~ Insert my flair for the dramatic here.
Ain’t parenting grand?
After a long evening (after a long day of work) of cleaning up the aftermath of their daily toy massacre I realized I was not using the DS to my complete advantage.  Afterall, the only real reason to give your children something wonderful is so you can eventually take it away when they’re naughty….
Not entirely true.  I give them things because I love them and if it serves disciplinary purposes later then that only makes the gift even better.
I created this –
If you cannot read my note to my husband and nanny – yes, we need memo’s in this family – it states, ” Things my children must do daily to lay one finger on a video game.”
It includes things we (me, my husband, our lovely nanny and darling children) should already know are more important than that blasted video game. Things like reading, creating, cleaning and personal care. I even included a five minute love fest for our Charlie (the dog). I’m afraid we were not all prepared for the video game era.  We headed into it with out a plan.  How unlike me. *smile*
It seems to be going well.  When my son woke up this morning he immediately asked for his crack-tendo (haha…you know, like crackberry).  I immediately directed him to his clip board.  By 8am he had read his two books, written correctly ten spelling words and created a robot costume from paper.  He has a hockey game at 11am and I am delighted to report that when I warned him during said costume creating that he may not be able to play his DS prior to his hockey game he said, and I quote,
“Whatever.”
He didn’t care!  He was way to wrapped up in the fun of creating and playing with his brother.  Day 2 of the Mom vs Video Game Smack Down has left me feeling brilliant and capable.  It has also made the questions of “when?” and “how long can I play?” much more clear cut for him and I.  Which makes for less angst in both of us.  Isaiah, my child who lives in the black and the white of the world always does better with clear expectations.  My main problem is he looks to his mother who lives in the gray of the world for those expectations.  
For example, as we were going through his check list this morning, I realized I needed one too.  For my iPhone, my Facebook and my Blog.  Yes, I too am susceptible to the worship of technology.  He must know it. Why?  Because I didn’t give birth to stupid children.  Unfortunately, they tend to notice everything.  
Well, except for the fact that I don’t have a penis.  My third son, like his older brothers before him, has just recently referred to me having one.  Do you see what happens when you are the only woman in the house?
I realized that I am not always the best example.  I’m considering letting them come up with a list for me.  I want to be the kind of parent that is brave enough to hear from my children where I am failing to meet their needs.  It may be a laying down of my pride but if they leave my home with a heart without empty spots left by me then pride be damned.  They deserve nothing less.

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