19 June 2009

Boys and their toys

No, I'm not talking about those toys, but I do believe there is a strong connection.

This week, Sacha found an old Leapster in the bottom of the toy chest in his room. He's not entirely new to this phenomenon, as he's been shadowing Gabriel as he plays Wii for some time now. Sacha holds a broken Wii remote and waves it around as Gabriel plays, and explains to anyone who will listen, “I PLAYING BIDEO GAMES!”

But nonetheless, when he discovered the Leapster, some previously dormant boy circuit was activated, and now he has most certainly discovered THE POWER OF GAMING. At this point I can't be certain if he's actually playing, because I can't be bothered to watch that closely. But he believes he is playing, which is all that really matters.

As far as electronics are concerned, I make no distinction between television, computer, and gaming. It's all the same, and don't try to tell me that it has educational value. It has vegetative value, which can be valuable in and of itself. It seems especially effective at putting boys in a state of flow, which is a beautiful thing, and something I sorely miss myself, having only rarely experienced it since becoming a mother.

But since in my experience, boys are so strongly attracted to electronics, to the point where they can lose touch with the world, I feel that part of my job is controlling the amount of time spent gaming. I love nerds (I married one), but am trying to raise well rounded, three-dimensional people, not misfits with no social skills who can only relate to other machines.

Sacha has been walking around the house all week carrying his gaming system like a security blanket. If he's been quiet and out of sight for a period of time, I can now be assured that he is communing with his game. That, and he's most likely pooped.

One day this week, after we got home from walking Sarah and Gabriel to school, Sacha asked, as is his usual habit upon stepping foot in the house (if not sooner) if he could watch TV. Except, he was holding the Leapster at the the time. (We'd already had a heated discussion prior to leaving for school because he wanted to take the Leapster with him in the stroller.)

Once we were home, I told him he would have to make a choice; he could play with the Leapster or watch TV, but not both. He chose television, although sure enough, not ten minutes later, I heard the distinctive beeping of the Leapster while he was watching TV. I went into the den to check on him, and was not surprised to find him sitting inches from the television, naked from the waist down, playing with his penis Leapster.

This seems like willful cultivation of an attention deficit disorder, and as such, feels too neglectful to me. So I know that soon I'm going to have to set some limits. But, because he is in the throes of a new crush, I've let it go for the time being.

Since he is a child who responds so beautifully abhorrently to discipline, this should be fun. So stay tuned; it should give me lots of good material!

1 comment:

  1. We spent a small fortune on a child psychologist back in Bklyn when King Kong was 3 & 4--an excellent one, I think we interviewed 4 or 5--& one of the top takeaways was, switching from permissive to limited was far worse (for provoking the hours-long meltdowns that ended with King asleep with exhaustion, which were the reason we were in play-slash-family therapy) than choosing one or the other. Just a warning from one who's been there...