The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 2 be restricted from television viewing. My wife and I decided to heed that advice when our baby Zoe arrived 13 months ago. I expected such a restriction would feel like a big sacrifice, but it really hasn't. We don't watch much TV anyway, and the small handful of shows we enjoy don't come on until after she's gone to bed. Sports can be a problem, especially during baseball season, but we have an old TV upstairs I can always retreat to.
But video games...well, that's another story. I do my best to abide by our parental agreement. I play late at night or very early in the morning; I play in my office sometimes; and I play on my laptop computer. Basically, I get my gaming in however I can, but it's not as easy as it was in the old days. And the older I get, the less I can manage those late-night gaming benders without zombie-like consequences.
So I guess you could say I'm a Responsible Gamer Dad now. Hard to believe those three words belong in the same sentence, isn't it?
But the old rebel-gamer hasn't disappeared completely. Zoe and I have a secret. We play Animal Crossing together. That's right. Come and get us, Academy of Pediatrics. If you can catch us, that is.
We play for 10-15 minutes a day. She operates the nunchuck, and I handle the Wiimote. We fish, plant flowers, dig holes, chop down trees (her favorite), and generally mix and mingle with the denizens of our little town. Zoe's still working on motor skills, so she can't do many things by herself, but the game works remarkably well as a co-op experience, at least for now. I can tell by the way she keeps jerking the Wiimote out of my hand that co-op mode may not last for much longer.
I've written here before about how much I love the Animal Crossing games, so I won't go on about them again. The Wii version, City Folk, doesn't add a lot of new content, but I don't mind much. These games have never been about feature-lists and content upgrades. Crazy as it may sound, I still find it novel and thoroughly charming that every day in Animal Crossing is different from the next.
The trees got decorated for Christmas, and Zoe noticed. An anteater named Cyrano moved in the other day. Zoe liked him because he was new; I liked him because he's an anteater named Cyrano.
Tomorrow I think we'll drop by Shampoodle. We'll see how Zoe feels about a new hair color.