Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Cutest Thing Happened Last Night

Jose Francisco is a very Latin baby boy. You cannot convince him of anything he doesn't already agree with, or decides on his own terms that he agrees with. This includes:

  • Having fun in a bouncy air-filled gym with 40 balloons and his two little sisters already inside playing. He took 20 minutes to consider this before deciding it was good and had fun.

  • Kissing anyone. My mom has gotten frustrated with him many times because he won't kiss her, which would be flat rude if it was me. I kiss anyone who asks for one (cheeks mostly, exception daughters, wife and mom).

  • The last time I was smacking Dulce on the arm three times for shoving her little sister, he came running up to me and hit me on the leg with a fist.

    I decided the two smacks I already gave Dulce was good and made him feel that his bravery and confronting the most terrifying thing for a baby boy - an angry father - got him what he wanted: I stopped.

    I didn't leave him unscathed and I went "ARRGH" at him, to demonstrate I was mad and if he was going to fight, he had to be prepared for the target's reaction. His response was to go "UHN, UH!" at me and wave a hand, and I relented, and told Dulce to hug him.

  • Absolutely everything else.
His oldest sister, my 10 year-old daughter, Maria de Guadalupe, is his little momma. He called her "Marr" until recently, now he also calls her "Lupe" (loo-pay).

Well he likes to go to sleep with his mother and he likes to sleep with Maria. Switching this rarely works - sometimes he likes to sleep with his mother, but he usually won't go to sleep with his sister. He will, however, wake up if she or her mother is not there.

Last night Maria was sleeping and he woke her up kicking her for space. He'd gotten himself splayed out on the bed such that he was taking up the whole thing. She gently picked him up to move him and he mumbed, in Spanish, "I love Maria" or "La quiera Maria..." or in Jose Francisco speak, "ra quira marr."

She didn't know what he was dreaming, but as, during the day, you're lucky if you can get a hug from him, she was touched, kissed him on the hair and went back to sleep but remembered the story to tell us in the morning.

He is a good baby boy. He loves his family, his sisters, his mother, his father, his grandmothers... but he doesn't show it like I do. You have to watch what he does.

Running up to a father who is holding and hitting his sister and attacking him? That's love, I think, and while the description isn't reality, from a baby boy's eyes it might have been closer to what he saw.

I feel sorry for my mom, of course. She's a sweetheart and loves demonstrative love, and Jose Francisco just doesn't have any of that to give. She said it right, once: "I love Jose Francisco, and always will, but I'm glad I had you (me) and not him for a son."

Maybe she should think what he'd do if I yelled at her.

How to Cure your Children of Wanting to Play MMO's

Answer? Let them play them. But make sure to

  1. Be there with them.
  2. Have them follow you and your guild members.
  3. Give them enough rope to hang themselves.
  4. Do everything you can to make their stay better, literally, that way they won't think you conspired against them, and on the surface, you didn't. You let the stress of the MMO and the Guild do it for you.
I got back on City of Heroes / City of Villians, though the latter wasn't part of the picture when I left, joining my friend Kevin in Virginia. After a few nights playing, my 10 year old daughter, Maria de Guadalupe, asked me if she could play with us. I realized the game came with a 14 day free trial so I said "Sure."

Now you might ask "Why is a father introducing his TEN YEAR OLD GIRL to the world of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games?!"

Here's why, and the result of the evening, in an e-mail I sent to my friend Kevin and my lovely Latin wife...

Last night was too much fun. And most of that was either
  • Watching Maria become frustrated with MMO's or
  • Watching my minions slay the enemy.
I genuinely wanted to give Maria de Guadalupe the chance - it was just like D&D, I just laid all that rope out there (the old adage of giving the D&D players enough rope to hang themselves and sitting back as the DM) and did nothing on my own part to make her time miserable, other than demonstrate how a team can be frustrated with another team member's ineptitude. After that, she, once again, got stuck on some stairs with enemies hitting her, and we risked ourselves to save her, and I'm sure she understood that. Nobody likes to watch their friends go through hardship because they did something wrong.

And, as I told you, when she wanted to watch her Spanish soap opera I reminded her that you and I had gone through a lot of trouble so she could play, and what were we going to do now that she's leaving? (Soap Opera: Not like the States, they last only 6 months a piece and this one is about an ugly girl who has the most beautiful personality and intellect, literally titled "The Ugly More Beautiful," or translated I would say "The most beautiful ugly girl." Sweet show, actually. Imagine an American Soap Opera that stars an ugly lead girl. The actress is kinda like Carrie-Ann Moss/Princess Leia: pretty only if you really truss her up, and they dressed her way down for this show - Like Carrie, she's the unbeautiful progeny of two other famous actors. Unlike Carrie, she can act very well, and has, up until winning the lead on this show, made a living in comedy shows.)

Anyway, so she got to feel
  • "MMO's dictate when you can play them because of who you have to play them with."
  • She got to feel "Pulls are bad."
  • She got to feel "Not being able to navigate the world is bad."
  • She got to feel "There are some real creeps out there." (Start area creeps trying to flirt with her father playing a girl character - she's 10, and she's a girl, she's not stupid, and she can read, and all she told me afterwards were there were some really bad people online.)
She also got plenty of good. She seemed to like seeing you, but she told me afterwards you didn't talk much. I told her "You weren't in the room with me, but you're right, he's kinda quiet. When he talks, it's usually interesting." That, she knows, is like her mother. She enjoyed our social RP before you joined us most of all, I think. I will never, ever show her Second Life. Actually she wouldn't like that either - too many creeps.

But... I'm glad. If she had liked it I would have kept playing with her and taught her how to be responsible concerning the time spent playing. Either way, as she likes her NDS and some PC games, I knew MMO's (as they are the future) were going to be in her life at some point, and I figured, opportunity knocking with her saying she wanted to play with us, there was no better chance to teach her the ins and outs.

Lastly, one day my 10 year old little girl will be reading Daddy's blog, and she won't mind coming across this. She knows I do lots of things like this to teach her about the world, rather than just try to tell her how it is.