We each got some kind of computer or handheld game for Christmas, and we like them. Consequently, we are not getting much done around the house right now, as we’re all trying to figure out our games and get better at them. It’s hard being a firm, decisive parent who tells their kids to quit playing games and do their chores, when I myself have just spent an hour and a half trying to get two of my Sim characters to fall in love, and failing miserably. Yes, thank you, I can say hypocrite, I just don’t want to.
All this game playing, with the differing situations and options and scoring, has also made dinner conversation peculiar, even for my family. Last night the conversation went something like this:
Hubs: Well, children, what did you do today? (I always hated this question as a kid myself because I instantaneously forgot everything positive I’d done, and sat there with my mouth hanging open, feeling like a moron. Usually my kids feel the same way.)
Doodle: I killed about a hundred allies.
Bunny: I grew three crops of rutabagas and married the mayor.
Hubs: (open mouthed) (silent and stunned)
Me: I think Dad meant what did you do in school.
Bunny: Oh. I found all my new classes and got handouts and books.
(Large chasm of silence)
Me: So, Doodle, why would you kill allies? I thought allies were your friends and helpers?
Doodle, enthusiastically: Well, I’m supposed to be really sneaky and like a double-agent, so if I kill my allies and then pretend I just barely survived an attack by the “enemy”, then I get extra points!
Me: Cool! Sounds fun!
Doodle: Yeah! I’ve got all these great weapons, like a megatronic phaser blaster and…
Bunny, interrupting: I got a thousand points for marrying the mayor!
Me: Oooh, why?
Bunny: He’s really hard to get to know, and he’s rich.
Me: (slapping head and thinking of what this is teaching my daughter in terms of relationships) AAARGH!
Hubs, finally getting it: I’m hoping to chuck my racecar driver through 6 flaming hoops tonight, after the news.
Doodle: What news?
Hubs: The real news – you know, stuff that happened today, out in the real world.
Doodle: When will it be over? Can I trying chucking a driver, too?
Hubs: 7. OK, that would be fun!
Me: Bonding, dear?
Hubs: (winks at me and says to Doodle) Maybe we could also try crashing into stuff with trucks.
Me: (slapping head again) AAARGH!
Bunny: Hey, Mom, do you get extra points for marrying someone difficult?
Me: No, you just get ulcers and headaches.
Bunny: In Sims?
Me: No, in real life.
Bunny: What about in Sims?
Me: I think it just takes longer and then they’re always a little cranky with each other. Better to marry someone with whom you share interests. And work hours.
Bunny: That sounds like it would work better in real life, too.
Me: Why rutabagas?
Bunny: Big cash crop. I’m stinking rich now.
Me: Handy. Got any kids?
Bunny: No, but I adopted a flock of chickens. That’s not working out so well, though, they keep wandering through the house and that ticks the Mayor off.
Me: I probably wouldn’t want chickens in my house either. Got any homework?
Bunny: Nope. Just reading the class rules and stuff like that.
Me: Homework, Doodle?
Spawn (wandering in from work): Hey, what’s up?
Doodle: Dad and I are going to chuck people through flaming hoops and crash trucks into stuff after the news!
Spawn: Coooool! Can I watch?
Me, exasperated: Don’t you have homework from college?
Spawn: Naw, we just got class rules and got lectured about not being slackers.
Me: AAAAAAAARGH! OK, that’s it. All of you kids do some chores, I don’t care what, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, picking nits out of each other’s hair, I don’t care, just do something productive!
Spawn: Mom! I just got home from work!
Me: Laundry. You get to do laundry. Go fold something.
Bunny: Geez, Mom, what am I supposed to do? I don’t have any homework and my room’s clean!
Me: Help your little brother do dishes. And don’t look at me like that!
Hubs: (snickers) So, what did you do today, dear?
Me: Seven thousand things that are all incredibly boring and don’t sound like much and which no one will ever notice because I do them so routinely and seamlessly. You?
Hubs: Pretty much the same.
Me: Thank you.
Hubs: You, too.