I love reading. I love reading to myself and I love reading to my kids. Because of this I am always on the lookout for a good new book. A friend of ours who blogs over at The Doctor`s Wife has introduced me to every one of my new favorite children’s books. One such set that is Little Pea, Little Oink, and Little Hoot.
Each of these books are about children not wanting to do something their parents want them to do. For example Little Hoot`s Mama and Papa want him to stay up late like a good respectable owl. Little Hoot on the other hand wants to go to bed early. On one page Little Hoot makes a promise to himself, when he grows up he will let his children go to bed as early as they want.
The books are very cute and they remind me of all the child rearing promises I muttered to myself before I became a parent.
Truth be told a lot of them had to do with video games. Growing up I loved playing games. A habit I have not gotten out of, nor plan too.
Looking back I still remember feeling very annoyed when I was told that it was time to stop playing immediately because either a) the amount of unspecified time I was allotted to playing games had run out or b) some other event required my attention had started, like supper being ready.
To be clear the problem wasn’t t the stopping. The problem was the immediately. I hated shutting my game off in the middle of the level, or in between save points. Turing the game off immediately meant I lost whatever progress I had made since I earned my last passcode, or since the last time I was able to save. To my folks this seemed silly. it was just a game. To me it mattered a lot. It was time I spent and achievements I had earned.
I muttered to myself, ‘When I grow up I will let my kids finish the level before making them turn off their game’
Fast forward to today and my four year old son loves playing ‘spinny hat Mario’ (New Super Mario Brothers Wii) and ‘Conner the one who runs really fast’ (Sonic Classic Collection for the DS). On more than one occasion I have been in the position where I have to tell my son that it is time to turn off the game. Sometimes it is so we can go outside and play, other times that it is because something like supper is about to begin. And every time I tell him it is time to be done with his game out of his mouth comes the same protests that I remember making myself. Not the least of which is ‘just let me finish the level.’
Now when I am on the ball I try to let Simeon know that the his video game time is coming to an end with a 15 minute warning. But there are other times when such a count down is either forgotten or otherwise not possible.
Suddenly there I am telling my son that game time is over and he has to do something else immediately There I am telling him that he can’t finish the castle in Mario even though I know if I give him 10-20 more minutes he can save his game. There I am, the very same person who in his early 20’s got home from church, fired up his Playstation and gamed until bed.There I am, the parent who is longing for his children to go to bed with the hope that his wife has a new book to read so he can log a few hours with his Xbox 360. There I am telling my mini-gamer of a son that he has to be all done NOW or I will take his Wii/DS away for a few days.
Life is funny like that I guess. I could not avoid becoming the person that I muttered against. I am sorry little Christopher when you grew up you you were not always able to let your children finish the level.