Friday, October 2, 2009

Temporary Parenting

Welp, it’s Friday, which means I finally have a break from the daily tasks and craziness in order to do a little writing, my teenage nephews have been staying with the wife and I since last Thursday, and that means my writing time has been shortened with the day-to-day tasks that come with being a temporary parent. Hey, this has been a crash course in teen warfare…you “old hands” at the kid-raising have had years of practice.

Fortunately, M and I are pretty smart and sturdy enough that we can force a little self-discipline on ourselves for the time being (skipping our adult TV shows, getting to bed early, getting up early to make breakfasts and drive the kids to school (actually, this only force M to get up early…I’m up at 5:50 anyway) and making healthy, wholesome dinners).

Not that it hasn’t been a blast entertaining the little nerdlings…I’ve played a lot of Magic cards the last few days, and I forgot how entertaining that could be. You know…kicking someone’s ass over and over again (and yet, they keep coming back for more…go figure).
: )

One thing the kids have been clamoring for all week is to play “D&D.” And I mean, every day since they got here. Now unfortunately we’ve played precious little which I know may seem like madness to regular readers of this blog. After all, I love B/X play (or so I’ve written) and it’s been hard the last few years to find folks who are as into these games as me (people with Old School game fetishes can surely relate).

But it IS tough when there’s so much else going on in life. As a kid, I had lots of free time and was a “self-starter” when it came to gaming…I’d get home, crack the game books, and set up the game. Now, I don’t get home from work till after 6, usually have to run errands, help with homework, drive/pickup kids from football/drivers ed, eat dinner, and then maybe an hour or two of entertainment (often continuing to watch a show or movie that got started during the dinner hour) before packing the kids off to bed by 10pm (the older one has a later bedtime, but he usually has some extra homework and/or “texting” to get to). If I was home by 3pm, I’d certainly be putting the extra hours to good use, but I’m not.

Is this why so many kids feel like they don’t get enough attention/entertainment from parents? Because after 10-15 years, parents are burned out of spending all their free time “playing” and so tell the kids to go read a book or whatever?

When I was a young kid, my parents played games with me (though perhaps not as much as I would have liked), but as I got older this trailed off…through mutual consensus as much as anything. I remember coming home with Dungeon! (the board game) and playing it with my brother and my mom…that was the closest thing to D&D I ever played with EITHER parent, and one of the last board games I remember playing with my Mom until adulthood. She liked Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble and knew how to play cards (being from Montana), but she just wasn’t much of a game player. I don’t remember my father playing games with us at all as a child (though I know he played cards and parlor games with other adults at social events). At least, indoor games…he was often up to doing things with a bat and softball or other outdoorsy activities. But I was always more of an indoor person.

[No, I am probably NOT going to be very well prepared for the 2012 Earth changes]

Huh, now that I’m thinking about it, I realize I have no idea where my inclination for game playing comes. Certainly I have an Mars in Aries in the 5th House which can make a guy highly competitive, and the 5th House traditionally rules “games of chance.” But as far as upbringing goes…I don’t know. Maybe I never got ENOUGH gaming as a kid…certainly we were never allowed to play much in the way of video games (the Atari 2600 spent most of its life locked in a closet and only brought out on the occasional rainy Saturday).

Anyway, back to the present…the kids have been clamoring to play D&D since Day 1, and M has been encouraging the clamoring though not so much that she wants to play (to be fair, she’s more than a little fatigued this week as she’s been getting up earlier than normal, working full days, and making dinner, all without the benefit of my usual foot massages in the evening. Hey, I offered to do “burrito night” last night and she turned me down!). I told S that we would play Saturday if he won his football game, which he did…but then we never did, getting distracted by Dark Tower and Magic Cards. And Sunday we had the Seahawks game to go to which is kind of an all day event with the Seattle traffic.

So it wasn’t until Wednesday night that we actually got around to making characters. Last night (Thursday) we had the opening encounters in the classic solo B/X module M1: Blizzard Pass. The players took a pounding but survived, and after many high fives between the players, we found a good stopping point and everyone got packed off to bed. However, having “whet our whistles,” I have a feeling that tonight is going to be a long and epic session to confront The Master of Blizzard Pass. Stay tuned!
: )

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