During the school week, we try to limit the time that the kids are able to use electronics: iPods, computers, Game Boys, etc. In fact, we generally don’t permit them to use their electronic games during the week; I guess in order to torture ourselves with the battery of whining and complaints that ensue when said rule goes into effect.
But weekends are another matter… like this one.
They’re bored. I’m tired.
They whined. I was desperate.
The Wii closet was unlocked, remotes distributed, & the games began.
Unlocked, you say? Yep. First of all, The Captain and I try to run a tight ship in terms of toy/game distribution. We keep many items under lock and key, especially those that are costly to replace, or tiny little toys that HURT when you step on them. And remotes are locked away, too, because #5 once chewed the corner off of one, resulting in an ER trip (she was fine; the TV remote was not).
Secondly, the Wii has always been a controversial toy in our home. It has been the source of countless hours of entertainment, but it’s also been the bane of my parental existence at times. Mainly because…
They’d fight over who got more playing time. They fight over who won. They’d fight over who wasn’t winning. They’d fight if they didn’t get to go first. They’d fight if someone ELSE wanted to go first.
The arguments droned on until the day we realized one day that one child -who shall remain numberless to protect the guilty- was actually neglecting to go to the bathroom in the midst of heated games, opting to urinate in his/her clothing and change at a more convenient time. Or not at all.
So the Wii system had been tucked away for a long time. But this weekend, in an act of sheer desperation, I broke it out again.
And the angels sang.
The children danced in delight.
(They really did dance. We have one of those Wii dance games.)
The kids played for hours; all six kids. And I got lots of laundry done.
Here are some observations from our Wii weekend; the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” how to help Wii time run smoothly. Because I’m here to help.
clean the discs before handing them to children. Because exactly one minute after handing one over, you will hear, “Mom! It’s not working! Can you clean it?” And you’ll have to come back over and wipe the disc with your shirt. Then you’ll return it and walk away, only to hear, “Mom… still no…” And then you’ll need to break out the glass spray. Again. And again.
put the disc into the Wii yourself. Kids’ hands are grubby and gross. Even glass cleaner can’t cut the grime of a few seconds of kid handling from box to machine.
make sure you have lots of AA batteries. Because the instant that a kid chooses to play Wii, the remotes will be dead. One remote will be, anyway. And once you replace the batteries and walk away, the next remote will die, also.
make sure children have a bathroom break prior to playing. And during (see above). They will say they don’t need to go. They LIE.
keep extra, unplugged remotes handy for younger children. #5 played over an hour of Super Mario Brothers. Or so she thought.
let your bossiest child have the “main” (controlling) remote. The power goes to his or her head, and a dictatorship is established, resulting in angry muttering from the powerless.
let the “oil and water” pairs of children play together. Because when #1 and #3 do ANYTHING together, someone ends up crying. And any buried resentments flare up in a nasty way over a game of laser swords. It’s quite ugly.
don’t let the quitter play with the competitive one. Because the competitive one will talk trash. Then the quitter will get frustrated and quit, and the competitive one will be shocked and horrified that such a thing happened. And both will cry.
leave your windows open. Because the games are intense. And children will shriek with joy. They will shriek in anger. Then you will be mad, and will shriek at them, telling them to stop shrieking. And then the neighbors will judge you.
let young siblings wander through the gaming area. If they happen to block the screen in any way, shape, or form, they are subject to verbal harassment. Which will make them want to do it again. And again. And again.
And the most important rule of thumb: play with them. At least one game, because the Wii is really, really fun. And nothing shuts them down just before dinnertime like their mom nailing the world record in Wii Sports wakeboarding. Yeah, that’s right…
Oh, and if you have small children, please put the remotes back in the closet. I learned this… again. You’ve been warned….Six Pack Mom