So, this month, this happened.
Coen had his first experience playing video games at home.
It was regrettable at the start and regrettable at the finish. Well, I'm being quite dramatic. It wasn't SO bad.
Tad still has his original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) and traditionally, he and I take it out and play at our leisure from Thanksgiving to New Years. It's like our winter holiday mindless fun. But this year we took it out to play in February. And I thought it would be fun to let Coen try.
Well. He. Became. Obsessed.
We talked about Mario morning, noon, and night. We only allowed him to play on weekends in February and the first couple times, after turning the cursed machine off, he fell to pieces. "I'm BORED now!" He'd wail. What? Bored? I don't know, aside from lazy summer days of endless playing, that he ever says that. And now he's bored? Oh my gosh, I thought, the video games have seeped into his brain and now he doesn't know what to do with himself without them. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!
Now, after some good conversations, he did manage to handle the unplugging of the game much better. But still.
After the game was over, I was always on edge--video games do that to me. And so was Coen. And he would want me to play with him immediately after the game at which point I would just want to take some deep breaths to decompress. Coen would say, "Please PLAY with me, Mommy!" while I turned to Tad saying, "I don't WANT to play!" Tad was always bemused as I brought the whole thing on myself.
Yesterday, when he was playing and I was giving him extra time, Tad started mentioning how it might have been going on too long.
"Hey Daddy." Coen said. "Get off of my cloud!"
That worked both for the figurative cloud (9) to which he was referring and the cloud upon which his little Mario character stood.
So today was his last day. And during his last game, two of his friends came to call. I let them in to watch him finish it off and, being more novice players, were full of advice for him. I started getting stressed out that he would get upset that they knew more than he did. And at one point, he let both of them take a turn. "Coen!" I said nervously, "We don't have time for you to get a hundred extra lives!"
I was on the edge of panic. "Mom." he said calmly. "I'm not getting a hundred extra lives. He's just finishing the level for me."
But you know, he did fine. Even while I accidentally set fire to the inside of our oven and threw a bucket of water in it whilst opening all the windows and remarking about how it was getting late and the time for the game was almost up. And even when it was over and I sent him outside to play with his friends and I scraped the black off the bottom of our oven while Lucy danced around the living room yelling "Fire! Fire!" He did fine.
At that moment, Tad arrived home and to my surprise, he was not annoyed with me for having extra children in the house, playing video games way past the agreed-upon dinner time. He was not annoyed with me for having a fire in the kitchen and not two but four wild-children running around. And of course he wasn't. He's married to ME after all and these things are sometimes to be expected.
Coen is now getting ready to take a bath. I just heard him say, "I'm a little sad, Daddy."
Until next year, Mario.