Thursday, November 13, 2014

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Stuff my kids love and I hate


Photo by Cynthia Closkey (This image was adapted)

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I spent my teen years being raised by my grandmother. When I was 16, I let her listen to a song by the punk band Black Flag, assuming that she would really get it. The song was only about two minutes long, and I think she made it through half. She looked up at me, her eyes wide, and said, “That sounds like noise. Really scary noise.” At the time, I just thought she was being old fashioned. Now that I have three kids, Tristan (7), Norah (4), and Aspen (6 months), I totally understand. I just don’t get what my kids are into. Some of it I find scary, but most of it I just find irritating. Here are a few examples.

Pokémon: I worry that Pokémon is teaching my son to illegally train animals to fight for sport. Pokémon revolves around a group of kids wandering from town to town with animals they’ve trained to fight. They set up battles with other “trainers” and their animals. In the real world these people are not called trainers, they are cock-fighting managers.

Fancy Nancy: Fancy Nancy is a spoiled little shit. I hate her books. She wants, and she takes, and she is never satisfied. Rarely does anything meet her standards. Honestly, I want to raise a humble kid. Someone who is content, willing to work hard, and doesn’t think less of others because of the way they look or dress. Not someone who shits herself over silk pajamas.

Pinkalicious: I actually liked the first Pinkalicious book. However, as the series has continued, Pinkalicious has started to resemble a drug addict. She is addicted to pink, which is harmless. Unless you eat too many pink cupcakes and turn pink (plot line of the first book). But let’s say that pink is a metaphor for something else? Or perhaps pink is a gateway drug. Pinkalicious will do anything for a little pink, and in some books, I think she gets the shakes. And don’t even get me started on Emeraldalicious (a spin off of Pinkalicious). That thing reads like a trip to the desert with Jim Morison.

Skylanders: Skylanders is the greatest marketing ploy in the history of ever. More or less, it’s a game that brings toy action figures to life by placing the toys on a “portal of power,” an eerie glowing thing. There are hundreds of these damn figures, and each or them has a different element, and without all the elements, you can’t pass parts of the game.  As of right now, there are 292 Skylanders. This is not to mention all the action cards and shit ton of stuffed animals, games, posters, coloring books, and numerous other pointless products for the kid to buy. I have to assume these damn things are breeding, or they are discovering more of them, so this number will go up. We mostly ask that Tristan uses his own money to buy Skylanders (he gets money from a point system we set up), and he spends the majority of it on Skylanders-related things. It’s a never-ending money hole.

Minecraft: Here is what I know about Minecraft. My seven-year-old has been playing it for about a month and has become completely addicted to it. And when I look over his shoulder as he plays, it looks like a pixilated blocky thing right out of 1992.

Disney Princesses: Sometimes I wonder if Disney is teaching Norah to long for a shady character from the streets who impersonates a sultan to win her love (Aladdin). Or perhaps an eccentric man who traps her in his castle until she learns to love him (Beauty and the Beast). Or maybe the caliber of man that wanders around the forest kissing dead women, hoping to bring them back to life (Snow White). All of these characters have labels in the real world: player, stalker and creeper.

What drives you nuts?

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His work has been featured in Good Morning America, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, The Good Men Project, Fast Company, and elsewhere. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter
Photo by Lucinda Higley