Nanny McWii

We held out as long as we could. And it wasn’t very long. I read a statistic one time that said something like 95% of boys play video games. 95%! How do you compete with that? My wife and I have two boys so our chances of keeping video games out of the house were pretty much shot the second the X chromosome laid eyes on the Y chromosome across the crowded DNA strand. We were never into video games before the kids came along. My wife didn’t like them because…well she’s a girl. Sorry to generalize and sound sexist, but that 95% of boy gamers drops to about 25% for girls. And while I played a video game or two as a kid, I never really obsessed over them…probably because I have the hand/eye coordination of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. With the popularity of video games today we knew it was inevitable, but we wanted to keep them out of the house for a long as possible. Maybe until they’re, say, 10? Stop laughing. We may have been naïve but we really thought we had a shot. Then my 5 year old discovered Super Mario Bros at a friend’s house earlier this year and those Italian paisan won the war. (Italians won a war. There’s something you never hear.) He was hooked. When the time came, he quickly hopped on Santa’s lap and placed an order. Santa rolled his eyes, but realized resistance was futile.

We decided to go with a Wii because the games are more active and get the kids up and moving. If they were going to play video games all day, they were going to work up a sweat while doing it. It sort of worked. One of the games we bought was Dance Party 3 which is a fun game in which you copy the moves of the dancers on screen. It’s a great workout and trust me when I say you’ve never seen anything more cute than a 5 and 2 year old dancing hip hop to “Pump It” by the Black Eyed Peas. Even their Mom and Dad danced a song or two although their Dad almost had a heart attack. My epitaph would have read “Death by The Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited”  But the “keep them active” plan backfired as well because the Wii console comes with Super Mario Bros included for free…which requires no activity whatsoever. And my son’s favorite game? Yup.  He’s a 5 year old junkie and that bastard Mario is his dealer. Completely addicted. He could play all day and would too if it weren’t for those pesky human functions like eating and sleeping. Notice I didn’t include “going to the bathroom” on that list. That’s because I constantly see him playing the game while hopping from foot to foot in a manic dance of “holding it in”. While I appreciate the fact that he is getting a little bit of exercise I have to yell at him,” Put that thing down and go to the bathroom now!” Every now and then I’m tempted to see what would happen if I didn’t say anything.

The key word in that last sentence is “tempted”. I’m wrestling with the Bad Dad devil on my right shoulder that is telling me that my job could be so much easier if I just turned that damn thing on and let him play it as much as he wanted. A free babysitter for as long as I need. I could get stuff done around the house; I could run errands without the constant “Why are we here? When can we go home? Can I have this or that or that?” I could, dare I say, relax with a good book! Remember reading, parents?! Just as I crack open a book that doesn’t rhyme or have pictures though, the Good Dad devil on my left shoulder appears and ruins everything. He shows me the future and there’s my morbidly obese 25 year old son, sitting on his bedroom floor in a filthy t-shirt and shorts about to reach the highest level of Super Duper Mario Bros. 26. Strewn on the floor around him are half eaten bags of Cheetos and empty Red Bull cans. I recognize his bedroom because it’s still in my house!! This thought alone is enough to make me reach for the “off button”. So video games have infiltrated our home like termites. Now it’s up to me keep them from burrowing too far into my kids’ brains.

Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.

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About A Wishful Thought

I am a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. I am an entrepreneur. At Villanova University I studied Operations Management specializing in Program and Project Management. I worked at various oil refineries honing my skills and ultimately opened my own consulting firm. I consulted on Environmental Restoration and defense projects including software development, satellite development and programming, phased array radars, helicopter and tank development, etc. I decided to take new direction in life when I became pregnant in 2000. I founded my own corporation, Wish Enterprises, Inc., to fulfill my own wish of being able to stay home with my son while contributing to the family income. With my husband’s full support, I developed and founded The Wish Place. I now also own Buy By Mom to continue to my mission of assisting parents who want to be successful in their businesses. I am the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the Colorado State Coordinator for Smart Girl Politics. I am a professional writer and blogger. I am the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Moms Examiner for Examiner.com. I write articles for work at home parents on my blog associated with The Wish Place. I review products produced by moms and dads and feature businesses run by moms and dads on my Buy By Mom blog. I write for various online publications and am also a political writer. My specialty is connecting people with great home business opportunities and providing unmatched one-on-one mentorship to those starting a home business. My passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children. To that end, I am a Legislative Advocate at the National and State levels to influence policy so that it is favorable to those in business.
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3 Responses to Nanny McWii

  1. Tina Smith says:

    Good for you, Chris! (And Ally, of course.) We too have struggled…but we are a technology family. My husband is a video photographer/editor (and a bigtime gamer), and I make websites…so computers are a big part of our lives and games were something that we actually were ok with our kids playing, so long as they are not violent. We’re VERY strict on the content. No violent images or play. (Or, as my kids have come to know them, no “fighting games.”)

    And we do limit their time…they have to earn time on the computer by doing their chores. Then they get an hour. (An extra hour if they do a set of extra chores…2 hours daily is plenty…but my oldest, 11yrs, has been known to scrounge around for even more work to do to get another hour and I’m ok with that since she’s actually helping us out around the house! LOL!) There is a timer on our computer (http://www.timesupkidz.com/ is AWESOME!!) to boot them off after their time has run out. AND we resisted game systems. No game systems in our house. Computer games are plenty for us. And my husband and I have iPhones, so they fight to play on there as well. That’s plenty. We have no game systems and at this point we never plan to. (Same idea we have with tv…we watch PBS only, and that’s plenty…if we had cable we’d watch FAR too much, so we just don’t get it. Saves the temptation.)

    One thing I’ve found works great though. Taking them out of the house…to a friend’s house, the park, shopping, anything to get away from the computer and sitting on their butts. 🙂 And lucky for us none of our friends have any game systems or even play computer games, so there’s no temptation there. But our friends are VERY uncommon, I know.

    Good luck to you guys. You can keep control of it, you just have to set rules up and be very matter-of-fact in your firmness. I’ve actually had conversations with my 6yr old about how his behavior deteriorates seriously when he has spent too much time on the iPhone games (haven’t gotten a timer on there yet…getting it worked out still). No that he “gets” it, but then there are tons of grownups that are addicted to games and computers so why would a kid be able to control themselves? We just have to force all of us to get out of the house and away from it all regularly and we all are better for it. 🙂 Everything in moderation.

    We’re all right there with ya though, I tell ya! Its a struggle for all of us! Hang in there!

    Say hi to Ally for me! 🙂

  2. Michael Odishoo, Jennifer Erzen and 2 others like this.
    1 share

    Cynthia Herteg If your child is interested in something, foster it. I am sick of video games being villified when the truth is they are simply geek sports. Withholding anything from your child when they are actually interested is simply censorship. If you are worried about how this will affect your child, STAY INVOLVED.
    2 hours ago · Like
    Cynthia Herteg But they are growing up in a world with video games, and keeping them from it will do them no service as an adult, it will only serve to drive a rift between them and their peers.
    2 hours ago · Like
    Eric Lewis I just experienced this same thing. My friends bought XBOX 360 Kinect for their son. The surprising part, how much I enjoyed the games. Cut to three days later and the purchase of my XBOX. Oy.
    2 hours ago · Like
    Chris Loprete
    Cynthia, I’m going to take a stab here and wager that you don’t have kids…or a sense of humor. A piece of advice. One things parents CAN’T STAND is being told how to raise their family…especially by non parents. Did you actually just accuse me of withholding or censoring my child? Or not being involved in their lives?! Who’s villifiing video games? This is meant to be a humorous piece about the inevitability of them and how to monitor their use. But thank you for letting me know that I’m doing no service to my kids. I’ll work on that.
    2 hours ago · Like · 7
    Adam Novicki Decaf for you Chris. 😉
    2 hours ago · Like · 1
    Cynthia Herteg
    So non-parents are not qualified to teach/influence your children? I in no way villified you, just the mentality that video games are something TO KEEP from your child. And that, my friend, IS censorship. You’re a parent; you’re doing it…See More
    about an hour ago · Like
    Suzy Hartz
    Chris… Love this – Well written and captured the sentiments of many parents out there! Having an 11 year old son who enjoys all Mario games – this is near and dear to our parenting hearts. I have one daughter who could care less – and t…See More
    about an hour ago · Like
    Alisa Wilson Tangredi I’m a non parent. So no. I have no idea. I’m not qualified. Nor would I ever presume. And I think Chris, that your very QUALIFIED observations are hilarious and nice lessons for the rest of us that don’t have that experience.
    about an hour ago · Like
    Suzy Hartz Oh… and I’ll stay out of the other banter – save for – a large part of parenting in the formative child years – is about “Censorship”… I would argue it’s what makes or doesn’t make a good parent.
    about an hour ago · Like · 1
    Cindy Loprete The real crime is your 5 year old son my adorable nephew got his Aunt Cindy addicted to Wii in less than 24 hours time. I am looking for friends that now own Wiis 🙂
    59 minutes ago · Unlike · 2
    Stacey Guckes Helmers If you come to Gladwyne we’ll set you up! Although while my girls were addicted to Guitar Hero for a while, they could take it or leave it now. All games on their itouches are another story – we have to have strict time controls on those or they would never stop.
    57 minutes ago · Like
    Ally Freund Loprete ‎(oh how I love this.)
    56 minutes ago · Like
    Ally Freund Loprete
    In all fairness Cynthia Herteg- I recall Chris and I both having strong opinions about how others should parent BEFORE we became parents- so we can’t pretend we don’t understand how it easy it is to make judgements. However, the humor in th…See More
    38 minutes ago · Like
    Sherry Speer Metzger Chris..your sense of humour is right on target as usual. This mean parent held off until her son was the only boy in his class without a DS…now Mario Cart rules our world. Never thought I miss Elmo so much.
    33 minutes ago · Unlike · 1
    Heidi Boren This article is hilarious.The good news is your cuties obviously have amazing parents!!
    27 minutes ago · Like

  3. Chris Laitta says:

    Hey Chris
    Great article. I have to say I never really got the “video game obsession” well that is obviously because, as you said, I am a girl. But a suggestion, it may sound a little corny why not ask your child to make a real life mario obstacle course in the driveway…grab stuff, make a course they have to follow…you know silly activities then film it. Have them make their own versions of the different levels of Super Mario but as a live action movie starring your child. Just a thought. It could end up being a YouTube sensation ….when he is famous send me a check.

    Chris Laitta

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