When our garage door rumbles open, my kids and I race down the stairs and try to greet Thomas before he has even climbed out of his truck. Kyra runs circles around my husband and sings, “Daddee is home. Daddee is home.”
I can barely hold onto squirmy Ethan as he leaps into my husband’s arms. By the time he steps through the door, the kids have plastered him with kisses and his tummy is teased by something yummy wafting from the kitchen. Then, we all sit down together for a meal (no toys or technology allowed at the table, no T.V. on as background noise) and start our family time by asking each other how our day was.
This routine has become a family tradition until Thomas bought me a Wii for my birthday.
I imagine there are days when Thomas pulls his truck into the garage and hears a thunderstorm of feet from above. He makes his way into the basement and nearly trips over Ethan frantically trying to put on his shoes.
“Daddee is home!” Ethan might say in relief as he clings to Thomas’ legs. He babbles in baby talk about how he tried to stop the madness by grabbing hold of our ankles and got shoved rudely aside. Thomas comforts his son while faintly he can hear his girls laughing hysterically and screaming, “I’m gonna beat you!”
The boys climb the stairs warily and peek into the living room, where the girls have taken over. Long hair damp with sweat tossed in all directions. WII nunchuk in one hand, controller in the other, flickering like butterfly knives in our hands. “Hi Daddee!” we say without taking our eyes off the T.V. screen, where our avatars are paddle surfing or kickboxing or running an obstacle course.
Ethan points his little index finger at us and Thomas laughs. “Who’s winning?” he asks.
“Kyra, of course!” I say through gritted teeth.
My five-year-old daughter loves to challenge me in on Wii Active Sports. A strange game, I would think for a toddler to enjoy. But lately, after we get home from school, she insists, “Mommy, let’s exercise.”
I don’t think I taught her that word. But I do know that she has seen me squeeze in a workout during Ethan’s naps and somehow convinced me to allow her to operate the controls in between each exercise, which evolved into Kyra becoming my workout partner and coach.
“Go Mommy Go!” Kyra says as her little feet easily carry her across the finish line. Then she collapses on the floor in laughter. “I win. I win. I win.”
When she’s done with that and I’m still huffing and puffing, she says, “You can do it.”
Thomas and Ethan settle down on the couch with a snack and add their cheers. I can feel my face heat up. My thighs are burning and my heart pounds so loud I wonder if everyone can hear.
I turn to Thomas and plead, “Can you finish this for me? I gotta start dinner.”
He smiles and says, “Nope. I’m good right here.”
My husband doesn’t seem to mind that dinner is served late. We still have our intimate family dinner and Kyra and I got our Mommy and Me time. However, I hope I’m not sacrificing any child development with my desire to shed some pounds.
The idea that my daughter and I can raft or water surf in our own living room is pretty cool. I do have to be careful about answering the phone during a game. One time, Kyra erased my avatar and all my profile settings!
I am a closet gaming geek, so perhaps I’m a bit more flexible with my kids and video games. But I do feel a bit better that experts have recommended WII games like Baby and Me as one of the top 10 cool tech toys for kids.
As the WII is predicted to become the bestselling console in the holiday season, I would love to know whether other parents play video games with their kids. How do you turn it into an educational or social development experience?
This is the first post for “Love and eMotion.” Many thanks to my friend Laurie Register for coming up with this snappy title. It’s important to me that this blog serves the community and makes a difference in your lives, so let me know whether you have any questions or topics you’d like me to address.