Learner Dad: We have this irrational fear of games consoles, as if buying one automatically makes you a bad parent

This week, my wife and I need to get a room, writes Pat Fitzpatrick
Learner Dad: We have this irrational fear of games consoles, as if buying one automatically makes you a bad parent

Picture: Stock image
Picture: Stock image

This week, my wife and I need to get a room.

Buzz wreckers:

When we got the Nintendo Switch a few weeks back, we got Minecraft with it, because that’s supposed to be good for problem-solving and development, and we weren’t ready to give the kids a ‘race around a track’ experience.

I’m still not sure why we decided to be such buzz wreckers, I think it might be Catholic guilt.

We have this irrational fear of games consoles, as if buying one automatically makes you a bad parent because your kids should be playing out the back with a stick.

Anyway, Minecraft (which is about making things) is a great choice down the road, when someone is used to the controls and the way video games tend to operate – four weeks later, our kids are finally getting the hang of it. But our six-year-old bought Mario Kart with birthday vouchers yesterday and four minutes later, the kids had the hang of the game.

That’s good when you need an hour’s downtime to yourself. Or four hours because you couldn’t be bothered having the ‘that’s enough now turn it off’ fight. (They’re epic.)

Get a room:

My wife and I need to get a room in a hurry. So we can play Mario Kart by ourselves. I’ve never been a great fan of video games, because I don’t have the patience to get good at them - as Homer Simpson says, if you don’t succeed at something at first, then give up. But my wife and kids were playing it last night and you don’t want to get left out of these things.

I played against my wife, where we both pretended we weren’t trying, because we’re the type of people who like to think we’re not competitive, even though we’d probably trade one of the kids if we thought it would help us win. (Connect 4 is almost a contact sport in our place.)

Anyway, the wife beat me out the gate in our first game of Mario Kart. I’d like to think I’m the kind of person who could be happy for her. But I’m not. This is game on And we need a room where the kids don’t see us getting savage with each other.

Daddy’s girl:

I’ve just realised that I’m foolish for my daughter. (It was at breakfast this morning – she was in a mood, but I couldn’t manage to get cross with her.)

It’s not hard to like my daughter, she’s an incredibly nice person, funny and thoughtful and full of surprises.

But the odd time when she’s in a mood, I’m foolish for her then too. I’m foolish for my son too, but I’m still more inclined to see her side of things than his. It’s the opposite for my wife, who leans very slightly towards her boy. We’re sad old cliches really, just like our parents, and their parents and on it goes.

I blame Google:

I cancelled our holiday in France this morning, for the second time. I’ve been banging on about our summer holidays here for the past three months.

I know it was selfish to obsess about a week in a mobile home when the world was in lockdown, but that’s human beings for you.

Anyway, I had originally cancelled our June holiday back in May. Then the government started making noises about letting us travel in Europe in early July, so I rebooked.

Then the new government started making new noises against foreign travel, so I cancelled again this morning, muttering unrepeatable things about democracy. In truth, I blame Google, the way they regularly pop up my photos from last year, and there we are on a sultry evening in a small village by the Med.

That’s powerful stuff, nearly strong enough to convince me to ignore the advice and go anyway.

It’s not over yet though. As I write, there are signs the government is going to flip again.

So by the time you read this, I might be hugging a bottle of rosé. For now, I just have to live with the hope.

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