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Great Leap Forward

Before I had kids, I vowed I’d never let them watch tv. Until they were old enough to appreciate it, that is.

TV=bad. TV=fat. TV=ADD.

Until I had a baby. And then another one. Suddenly, there was a new god in town, a new kind of salvation. We called it the television. No, not just because I was home with my pvr every night. No, the tube was a godsend. A babysitter. A drug.

Need a break? TV. A rest? TV. A potential punishment? No TV.

And just when we’d finally got a handle on the TV situation, my older son asked me for a Game Cube.

A game cube? Huh? He’s 4. he barely knows his own address. What does he know from Game Cubes?

No, no, no.

Video games=bad. Video games=fat. Video games=ADD.

Until my boys were old enough, there was no way I was going to succumb.

Erm, until I did.

No, we don’t have a Game Cube. Yet.

We got a Leappad. It was a gift, and I was able to justify it. My neices loved their Leappads when they were little and look how clever and well-behaved they are. Besides, it’s basically reading. But with a stylus. And sounds. So my son was hooked. It’s essentially an interactive book, not a dreaded video game. No harm done.

And then we got a LeapFrog Word Launch. I stared at my husband in terror: A VIDEO GAME. He rubbed his hands with glee. He is, after all, a computer geek and all-round tech-whore.

He ripped open the package and the world as I knew ended. the Word Launch launched us into the video age. Imagine the sheer joy of a kid as he learns this wasn’t just TV, wasn’t just a toy – this was a toy you played on the TV. A real, live video game.

The first day we plugged it in, I fumed. I stamped my feet. I was disgusted – with myself, my husband and of course my kids. It was the end of the innocence. So long 4-year old, hello rated-T-for-teen. It was probably a matter of months before he slunk off to the mall, pants below his crack. God help us all.

But then a funny thing happened – and by funny, I mean funny for us: we plugged the thing in and it asked us….I mean, my son…to spell a word. And the word was “hump”. For those who know my boy, they know he’ll stop, drop and roll on dime. Humping is his thang. Always has been. (Apparently normal…) So to learn to spell it was a highlight for him. And the fact that the first word was, ahem, hump, was a highlight for me.

And then, get this – the next word was “dump”. I SWEAR! Who needs primetime when we’ve got this? Fun for the whole family! Granted, the words that followed were less thrilling – for us – but I noticed a little something. My son wanted to spell. Not that he knew it. Poor soul thought he was rebelling with his video game. Sure we had some fun spelling out dirty words – look, if given the choice, it’s hard to resist. But for the most part, it was good, clean fun. And now the guy was coming home from school wanting to word launch! Who could argue with that? No annoying characters or songs (Diego tunes aside, o’course), no muss, no fuss, no guns. This game rocked.

And despite all media evidence to the contrary, he’s learning a lot. And listening. And being, well, a good boy. Especially now that I have another “privilege” to dangle over his head.

Thank you, Leap Frog…

Imagine the harmonious house I’ll have when he asks for a Wii!

3 comments:

Anonymous said…

good one – you are funny. I howled outloud. You don’thave to publsih this – just a comment.

2:50 PM

Anonymous said…

guess who programmed those words in… your “all around tech whore”.. next words are “snot” and “poo”

10:44 AM

Anonymous said…

LOVE your blog, and will be back time and time again.

www.milkandmanolos.co.uk

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