Round One — Kyra patiently circles Mommee. “Can I play computer?” she asks. “Can I watch TV? Can I play Wii? Can I play with Mommee phone?” Freezing rain pounds on the windows reminding the fighters that there will be no respite from school, errands, or outdoor play. Mommee and Kyra collide with combos. Finally, Mommee tries, “How about we practice piano instead?” Kyra resets and says, “Okay.”
Pings and pangs echo through the house. Referee Ethan leaps in and hits a note here and there. Mommee works for the takedown. Just as Mommee has Kyra in a seated position, Kyra points to her piano book and says, “But Mommee, it says ‘Listen to the CD and point to each clef as it is named.’” The last time we played a CD was maybe ten years ago? Mommee ponders her next move. “There is no CD player in the house,” Mommee tells Kyra.
“But Mommee, can’t we play it on the computer?” Kyra scoops up and dumps Mommee, who’s quickly back up.
Mommee runs her fingers up and down the front of the desktop, “Oh no, I don’t think this computer comes with a player?” Ethan is becoming restless. He wants action. Mommee pushes on the front panel and nothing opens. (Note: This is a new computer as seen in Raising Techno Addicts and Mommee has never operated it before.)
“There’s no way we can play this CD,” Mommee says. The ref is about to award it to Mommee, when Kyra knocks Mommee off balance. Her little finger stretches in for the kill and she presses on a precise point on the panel where the DVD Drive tray pops out. “Yes, there is,” she says triumphantly.
We are one hour in. Kyra has several songs from the CD memorized and she asks Mommee to play some of the songs on the piano with her. Ethan quits. Mommee defeats Kyra or maybe, it’s a draw?
Round Two —While cutting celery for a stew, Mommee hears giggling wafting out of the playroom. The kids were supposed to be upstairs playing trains. Mommee is stunned with a quick right hook. How did they crack the password Thomas had set on their computer?
Kyra and Ethan do not hear Mommee closing the distance. Kyra asks Ethan, “Okay, which fish is blue? This one?” Ethan points at the computer screen and says, “Yes.” Kyra says, “Good boy.” The seal on the computer rubs his tummy and says, “Delicious!” Ethan repeats, “Dee Li Cious!”
Mommee looks for an opening to drag Kyra to the mat, but gets distracted. The computer announces that the kids successfully completed a game with the learning goal of “Geometry: Level One.” Before Mommee can react, Curious George appears in a park beside a lake. The kids drop in rocks or pine cones or twigs and learn how weight and size changes the amount of water in the lake.
Mommee paws a few punches and circles. “Did you ask Mommee if you can play the computer?”
The kids giggle. “But Mommee, its PBS!” Kyra jabs back. It was one of the sites we bookmarked for her.
She clicks on the “Info” link which displays: PBS KIDS PLAY!, an educational subscription service that provides kids with skill-building games.
Mommee surfs around the site until she finds a Progress Chart displaying six different skill sets: Creativity, Healthy Development, Language, Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Under Social Studies, Mommee clicks on “Rules and Fairness” and the Berenstain Brother and Sister Bear smile on either side of a “Chore List.” Each bear has a bucket attached to a scale and Kyra has to figure out how many hard and easy chores to place in each fairly. “Hanging up clothes. Ethan can do that,” Kyra says. “Take out trash. Wash the car. Those are mine. Wash dishes…uh, where’s MaMa Bear? I want to give you a chore.”
Thomas pokes his head into the playroom, while Mommee shucks off a takedown and turns it into one of her own. “Oh, honey. We didn’t hear you come home?”
“See, Daddee? It’s good for kids. It’s edumacational.” Kyra lands a massive left upper cut.
“I don’t know how Kyra found a free trial of these learning games, but you gotta check this out. It’s so cool!”
Thomas shakes his head and announces Kyra defeats Mommee via TKO.
Tell me some clever things your kids have done to win screen time?