An investment in a new iPad (SO exciting!) and the world of Minecraft started the big slide. Because I could call our time on each "educational," I didn't really see just how much time, and then more time, they've been taking up. It's been hours.
So much of the time has been truly lovely: movies and Minecraft houses have been made, Youngzine and Science for Kids websites have been explored, and juggling videos found. We've played games together and I've learned about the properties of redstone (a Minecraft thing. Very ingenious!) and how to shave a Minecraft sheep.
But I've noticed how often the kids, my son especially, are asking to go on the machines. We come home from being out and it's only a minute or two before the question comes. "Just wondering if I could go on Minecraft / Dragonvale / Other?"
It's as much of an issue for me as the kids. Words with Friends is a drug, I tell you. I need to go to a group and say, "I'm Helena. I am addicted to internet scrabble." Add to that Draw Something, and the fact I have internet at my fingertips even in bed, and the whole thing's like a black hole. I've been sucked in so hard I'm all spaghetti arms and shrunken head.
So, I've started making suggestions, in the afternoon and evenings, when the day slows down and the screens start to call. Anyone for Uno? I say. Scrabble? Settlers of Cataan? Pictionary? Anyone?
Right now I am craving board games like someone coming off a month-long diet of sugar screaming for carrots.
(A totally realistic analogy! People scream for carrots all the time.)
I'm asking for more of "us" right now. More family time. Sitting together and not apart. I don't mind what it is, as long as we are walking away from those magic boxes with their seductive glowing lights and clever tricks.
We played Pictionary the other night. When I first suggested it, my boy thought I meant on the iPad and iPhone. No. NO. The real thing. With pens and pads and a board and looking at each other while we play. That game.
It was fun and wasn't, too, because the kids aren't used to competing and the whole winning losing thing left them just a bit cold. I forgot how stressful that timer was, and how easily you can leave a team behind as you race ahead on the board.
So tonight, when my boy asked to go on Minecraft…
and I suggested a game instead…
and my girl suggested Pictionary…
my boy in turn suggested we play it like Draw Something. "Let's each pick a Pictionary word, then just draw and have people guess what it is."
No winners or losers? Just happy drawing, all together? Imagine that.
Great idea! Thank you, dear iPad
drug app! (maybe I was too hard on you back there…)
Anyway, tonight we sat and drew, for ages.
It was so cosy.