Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Divine Puberty - Video Game Edition

Divine is in the early stages of puberty. Now everything is my fault, or puberty. But mostly, it's her sister's fault. Just ask her.

Divine: Did you know that estrogen is the happy gland? And do you know why I haven't been happy since I was 7 years old? It's because you breastfed me.

Ah yes, hormones. It's like experiencing an altered state of reality.

I've come to accept that everything will be my fault for the next few years. Or probably the next decade. So I'm thinking there should be a video game about this. The pre-teen is the protagonist, with a vast variety of stages and enemies to defeat.

The first stage is in the home:

"Clean Your Room!" Attack - player is inserted into their 'room', but the walls become like a jail. In order to break free, they must blast away the mess on their floor. It's timed, and all the mess must be gone before the timer runs out. Or they have to start again.

"Naggy Younger Sibling" - Follows player around saying things like "Whatcha doin?" "Can we play?" The player is especially prone to this attack while school friends are over. In order to defeat this enemy, the player must address the sibling. A popup menu will offer a variety of phrases, like "GO AWAY!" or "I'm sorry sweetie, but I can't play right now. Can we play later?" The nice answer lowers the hit points of the sibling, nasty answers hurt the player. It takes several 'hits' to destroy this enemy.

"The Chore" - intermittently the player will be asked by 'mom' to complete a chore, such as doing dishes, mowing the grass or taking out the garbage. The faster the player addresses it, the less there will be. The dishes or garbage bags multiply the longer they fail to do it. "Reminders" pop up until it's done, and the player can't leave the premises until 'the chore' is completed. The longer they wait, the more constant the reminders. This could earn them an allowance to spend in another part of the game. The faster they do it, the more money they can make.

"Homework" - occasionally the player will have to do 'homework' (in game it will be little and goofy). Failure to do so will result in being sent to a tutor, who will give the player game tips.

Because this is a video game, there has to be fun elements to it. One is through mini games on the video game console in the living room. The player can choose between many 'titles'. Intermittently, various things can happen, like "do your homework", (player has to stop to do something like scribble on a paper), or the naggy younger sibling takes over the TV by changing the station to a little kid show. Then the player has to resort to the pop-up response screen for naggy younger sibling. Or the doorbell can ring and friends will come over and play sports or something.

I'm thinking about adding a 'School' level. What would you add to your pre-teen's game?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Don't even THINK about looking at this without your Kleenex.

Welcomehomeblog is a site with a daily video of soldiers returning home to their loved ones.  Many are surprises, some are just plain cute, and some are a wee bit goofy.  ALL of them require a box of tissues.  This one is my favorite, as a Navy Commander is welcomed home by his family in Hartford, CT.  Everyone in the vicinity broke out in spontaneous applause at the beautiful moment unfolding in front of them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's all her fault, she made me do it.

In January I made all this New Year's resolution about paying more attention to my blog.  Looking back, it was probably the kiss of death to my efforts.  Because you know as soon as you say something like that, its like a guarantee that it won't happen.  The cosmos will align themselves just to make an ass out of you.

Divine has been on my case about not blogging in awhile.  I think it's because she likes to read about herself, and somehow it's like peering into mommy's diary.  Except it's not hidden in a nondescript drawer somewhere, but blatantly on the internet.  Which, you would think, would take that whole 'peering' part out of it.  As I type, she sits at the screen staring repeating every word I write.  I wish she paid that much attention when I was actually speaking to her, like when I'm giving directions.

*Lightbulb pops*

Divine, go clean your room!

(Laughter, followed by crickets.)

Divine will probably be a future blogger.  She's the one who waits until everyone is in bed, turns on her light, then writes all night.  She has reams of stories and diary entries she keeps in her little Password Journal she begged me for a few years ago.  See, she *thinks* I don't know.  But staying in bed until 10 the next morning kinda gives her away.  What I see though, is a budding writer.  All the pencils down to the nubs hidden under her mattress testify to her need for expression.  THAT is awesome.

What Divine doesn't realize is that as much as I love writing, time is a finite thing.  When I enrolled my children in cyber school, I also became their teacher.  Their education means more to me than anything in the world.  My house may suffer, but it'll be a cold day in hell before I stand in the way of any doors of opportunity for their future.  But Divine has taught me something precious...that I needed her to give me a swift kick in the ass to realize that blogging also sets an example, that life isn't just about them.  There's a world outside of these walls they need to function in, that won't cater to their every need.  There is also a need for some self-expression and fulfillment.  So today I promised Divine I'd write a post. She smiled so wide I saw her molars.

Divine was recently diagnosed as ADHD.  We started therapy last month, and it has really helped her with a lot of issues.  One of them is valuing herself as an individual.  Perhaps one of the best ways to do that is exemplify it.