There are two times during the day I can count on having the undivided attention of my children, and they can have mine, those would be at the dinner table and on the drive to school. Sure, there are other mealtimes and drive times but on average, these are the two occasions where the most chatter occurs.
Conversations run the gamut from current events to homework, chores and family matters. Nothing is off-limits, which my son reminds me is not always a good thing. Of course he’s referring to the day I broached the subject of artificial insemination over lunch. I don’t even remember the segue but it was knowledge I felt I needed to drop at that moment while he was simply trying to enjoy a mindless TV program, and eat his Chicken Jalapeno Lean Pocket.
Recently my preteen son has been regaling us with tales from his adventures in computer gaming. Last year I listened to countless stories about Minecraft. Although I didn’t understand all the building and searching for things to build and crafting table business, it was a harmless game he could play with his friends online and even though they battled each other, the gore was kept to a minimum.
Now, other games have entered our lives. Mature games. Games that I have to read the fine print on to determine whether I want my delicate child playing them. This would be the same delicate child that I have to chastise when I hear him yelling from the computer in the basement, “You suck! Don’t go in there. I can’t believe you killed me, dude. You’re a butt. Your Mom.” He’s still delicate to me, because I’m the Mama.
Sometimes his tales of game-play are positively perplexing.
The following conversation happened on the way to school last week:
Jacob: So, you know how I’m loving my new SkyRim game, right? Well, the other night I made the townspeople mad at me because I killed a chicken?
Me: Why did you kill a chicken? You mean to eat it? Like when you kill a cow in Minecraft and automatically get steak blocks?
Jacob: No. I didn’t get anything, I just killed it.
Me: But why?
Jacob:Because Wiki told me not to.
Me: Who’s Wiki? Is this one of your friends? Because I’d listen to him in the future. He seems to have a good head on his shoulders. Why don’t you invite him over sometime.”
Jacob: No. Wiki is not a dude. You don’t know Wiki?
Me: Clearly, I do not.
Jacob: Wiki – like Wikipedia. It tells you what to do and not to do in the game. So anyway, I killed this chicken and as soon as I did it, the townspeople came out of their houses and started chasing me.
Katie chiming in from the backseat: Ewwww, Bubby, that’s just gross.
Me: You had to kill it? You couldn’t just slap it? And why do they have chickens roaming around anyway? Why were you taking your aggressions out on poultry? Do I need to call the school counselor?
Katie again: If I ever saw a chicken in a video game I’d try to pet it
Jacob responding to his sister: No, you’d stalk it and then try to dress it up and put a crown on it or something.
Me (excitedly): Ohhhhh, Kitty (Katie’s nickname) how fun would that be? Put a little cardigan sweater on a chicken? Too cute.
Jacob: You guys, stop. Anyway, I killed the chicken and the townspeople chased me and it was weird.
Me: Imagine how that poor digital chicken felt.
I wonder if my parents were ever perplexed by my “gaming” conversations?
“I was almost to the top when Donkey Kong nailed me with a barrel on my last life.”
“The ghosts always trap my Pacman in a corner.”
“It takes me forever to get my frogs across the logs and turtles and over to the street. Then a truck hits me every time.”
“Whoever has the high score on Centipede must be good at dodging those bouncing spiders.”
Yep, probably. But at least I wasn’t killing chickens. Oy.
Parents – Talk to me. Tell me I’m not the only one who has to hear dinner time play-by-play accounts of gaming madness.