Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Return of Nasty Mean Mummy.

I need your opinion.

Last week was Little Guy's birthday. Thanks to the generosity of family and frineds, he's managed to save the princely sum of £120.

'I want to buy a Ninetendo.'
'Why not?'
'Because they're an outrageous amount of money for something that's not even the teensiest bit creative or constructive.'
'But all my friends have got them ...'
'Aha! So that's it ... You only want one cos everyone else has got them.'
'No - I really do want one.'
'Look. You know how it goes. You'll play with it non-stop for a couple of days, then it'll gather dust in a box and probably get broken. You can do the same with something costing a fraction of that money.'
'OK. I promise I'll play with it all the time and not put it away.'
'Eeek! That's worse ...'
'I won't play with it all the time then ...'
'Exactly! So why pay all that money for a passing fad? That's more than the rent. It's more than the weekly shopping budget. It's more than I've spent on clothes for the last 10 years, for chrissakes!'
'But it's my money ...'
'And I don't want it going to support a pernicious form of capitalism that preys on children and turns them into zombies. I wouldn't mind if you bought a bike or something that you'd get loads of use out of, would get you out in the open air and would be good exercise ...'
'But I've already got a bike ...'
'The answer's still no.'

3 pairs of accusing eyes drill into Nasty Mean Mummy, who pretends not to notice.

So tell me the truth, am I wrong? Am I mean? Do I have a problem with the 21st century? With boys? Is it boring to prefer books or old-fashioned toys and games to chunks of techno crap?

There's a postscript. I'm talking to my brother on the phone later, convinced he'll understand.

'Your kids didn't have Nintendo or Playstation or any of that crap, did they?'
'Oh yeah. L's still got his Playstation1 with loads of games. Racing and stuff - nothing violent. He hasn't played with it for years. I'll bring it next week.'

So there you have it. Looks like LG has discovered the magic of wish fulfillment.

Everyone's a winner, babe.
LG gets his Playstation and gets to keep his money.
And I don't have to feel guilty - either for supporting the manufacture of this junk by buying it, or for being mean to LG.

Now don't anyone dare to tell me Playstation 1 is out-of-date and what he really needs is ...


Meloney Lemon said...

There's your answer. "he hasn't played with it for years". I bet he'd still like hunting for fossils or riding a book or reading a bike or another wholesome activity though. We know these toys do little for brain or soul but they are fun (for a limited period). Andy says "They are the work of the devil". I say "why have we got one then". He says "it seemed cruel not to".

P.S playstation probably uses a similar amount of calories to blogging!

Debi said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one to agonise over it ...

Unknown said...

Err, yes. Same dilemma but had to give in ages ago.
It is okay Debi, they turn into aliens for a while but then 'girls' take over, bringing you a whole load of new shit to deal with.

Anonymous said...

You've got it resolved. Just to underline what you've emphasied to your family, last year I was in the same position with my youngest and he went out and bought a Nintendo, anyway is now packed away in a box in the wardrobe and the old blood boils a bit when I think about it. Plus to emphasise the point he had some books bought for him for Christmas and his nose hasn't been out of them since.

I think that the 21st century has a bit of a problem with me as I am the only person I know without a full driving licence or a passport. When I mention this to people it's akin to admitting I'm an axe murderer. However on reflection neither does the Queen, so perhaps I'm a Queen of a bygone age! Like to think so.

Confucious Trevaskis said...

Speaking as someone whose mum made wear shorts and T - bar sandals, long after all my mates were in tonics and brogues (you have to be of a certain age to know what they are)- I do sympathise with the little you do play extensively with your own computer I believe.......a little imput over content and timing will keep things under control and ensure that you are still able to carry the mantle of "mean parent" admirably.........sorted!

Caroline said...

I gave in! I'm a bad mother. I gave in, but it's restricted use and it hasn't stopped him being creative ... yet.

Steerforth said...

I gave in and bought a GameBoy as a 7th birthday present. I bought it because I'd been given the impression - by my son - that just about every child in his class had one. As he'd had an awful year at school (disgnosed with dyslexia and also had to start wearing glasses) I was desperate for him to be part of the mainstream.

I have since discovered that only ONE other boy in his class has a GameBoy and instead of putting it back in the box after three days, both boys are obsessed with the wonderful world of Pokemon.

In many ways I wish I hadn't bought it, although it's a godsend on car journeys (although a portable DVD player would be just as good).

There's no easy answer. Remember the kid at school whose parents wouldn't have a telly? Remember how isolated they were (or was it the result of being the child of the sort of people who wouldn't have a television in their house?)?

In short, I don't know. As a parent, all I can say is that whatever decision you make, it'll be the wrong one!

The Moon Topples said...

As a former boy myself, I did have access to an Atari 2600 when I was Very Small, and a Colecovision later on. This did not diminish the amount of time I spent reading very much, and I read quite a bit.

Minx is right. By the time the newer systems had come along, I was immersed in other things. I still like to play these types of games occasionally, though, even today. This is because I am a nerd.

Steerforth is also right: whatever decision you make will be incorrect.

Hope this helps.

Debi said...

Plenty here to mull over ...

...all appreciated but my personal favourites are the images of Kath as an axe-murdering queen (the 2 not being mutually exclusive) and Confy in shorts and t-bar sandals. Got a photo of that?

BTW - it's true I play on my computer (no, no - that's not playing it's ... er ... work ...)but also true that I only get on here when I can prise the kids off.

Unknown said...

Clearly I'm a bad chicken - I bought one... for myself...
And oh yeah - I dare :-)

Debi said...

Buying one for yourself is totally acceptable, Aty.

If you lived closer I'd be popping round when the kids weren't looking and challenging you!

Hypocrite? Moi?

Anonymous said...

Thankfully my kids have never been interested in TV games. Or maybe they have, but didn't dare ask? Nah... they have computers but don't really use them much for games either. I couldn't tell you how I did it though. Luck is my guess.

Do you ever wonder where people get all the money from? I mean, the games alone cost about £30 a shot! Well, not Playstation 1 (which Paul has because somebody gave it to him but he doesn't really know how to play it so sometimes I use it instead) but the latest ones. Up to £60 a game I've heard. Daylight bloody robbery!

I'm sure your boys will emerge as well adjusted adolescents. How could they do anything else with a mum like you?

Debi said...

Hey look, everyone! Shazza's back!