Game changers

I have a confession. My kids have been playing Xbox for three hours today. Even though it is Xbox Kinect (so technically they are staying super active) but still…what kind of a parent allows such gobbledygook? Apparently, my husband and I.

Christmas time always makes me think of one particularly odd holiday experience I had as a youngster. My family had just moved a few counties north (not far enough to change climates, but far enough not to know anyone else or be familiar with the area) when we attended an event for our new school. My mom made small talk with one of the other moms there who happened to have a kindergartener and a toddler (I was in fourth grade). They got to talking and the mom asked my mom if I would be allowed to babysit for the family sometime.

I had a little sister so my mom knew I was capable and the family seemed nice enough and lived in our little community. (Scratch that – it was multi –acre lots in a large equestrian dirt road community). Anyway, I was picked up from school by the mom who looked like Christie Brinkley and whisked off to some sort of magically rustic yet brand new mini-mansion (before that was cool) that was decorated with fresh pine swag everywhere you looked. The mom handed the baby to me (again I was eleven) and said something along the lines of – if the house catches on fire – dial 9-1-1, before she and her husband jetted off for the night. Note: she didn’t advise me not to let the house catch fire, or to evacuate – just to call the proper authorities. I babysat that night until 10 pm which was waaaay after my bedtime but earned me twenty five dollars (yes, I guess underage help only warrants $5/hour). No one thought this was strange at the time.

I would never be okay with a babysitter I didn’t know and hadn’t vetted properly. I make my kids brush (wah)and floss (ugh) and write thank you’s and practice not being deplorable because I think those are critical values to possess. But there is something cringe worthy about the screen time component that comes along with being on break from school. I feel judged a little by the perfect mom I was before I had the audacity to have children…

However, as I watched their little bodies shimmy and shake and dodge logs from their virtual white water rafts, it all went out the window. Because as they were passing the time gaming they were also delighted and having fun and working together. And maybe I know that my eleven year old babysitting self would have permitted it too…


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