Browsing Category: Gaming

If parenting a newborn were a video game

When it comes to a newborn, “parenting” feels a bit like a misnomer. I mean, there are some things I’m doing to try to develop her little mind, to introduce her to the world, but mostly I seem to fall into an endless cycle of changing nappies/cleaning her, feeding her and getting her to go to sleep. She is only awake for a little while at a time, and most of that time is spent looking after those baser needs. However, there can be more to it, and in the early hours of the morning, I start to think of it as a video game.

Seeing as it keeps me entertained, I thought I would share the various genres of games that I think parenting falls under at this fragile age. I’m sure as she gets older, it will take on more tactical elements and perhaps some elements of psychological thriller or horror, but for now most of her parenting falls into these genres.
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A throne and a Tomb Raider

From the moment we found out that we were having a little girl, I have been calling Harley a princess. I’m not sure why, but it just seemed to fit. Now that she’s here, we have a range of names for her, including calling her our little banana thanks to how she looks all swaddled up in her yellow baby blanket, or the little terrorist when she would scream and cry seemingly without cause. Now that we’re getting more used to her, it seems that “princess” is even more fitting considering her preferred postures.

Yes, Harley loves being worn in the sling, and she likes being held in general. However, once of her most comfortable and happy positions is sitting up. Obviously, she isn’t old enough to actually sit up, but she¬†seems to love being propped up as if on a throne. We already knew she loved her car seat, especially because we could also use it as a rocker in the house, but Dean discovered that she also enjoys the couch. It’s one of those discoveries that feels inherently like a dad experiment, and has given us some newfound peace and free time. Continue Reading

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On getting kicked out of the boy’s club

I have always been “one of the guys”. As a kid, I used to have mostly male friends and I always felt at home with the banter and jokes of being around the boys. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed more and better female friendships with women who are truly brilliant, hilarious and awesome in every way. But I still always feel at home with my male friends and colleagues. At least, most of the time.

Over on Lazygamer.net, where I work, I often write about how I haven’t experienced the kind of sexism or abuse that is so often talked about in gaming and tech. It’s not to say that it never happens, of course it does, but not on the scale or frequency as often depicted. When it has happened, I’ve made a point of calling it out, highlighting what happened and why it wasn’t cool, so that hopefully people can improve or at least be more aware in the future. But this most recent experience probably had more to do with my being pregnant rather than female, although it was no less distressing. Continue Reading

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Real vs imagined connections

I have been desperate for Dean to feel Harley’s kicks. I can feel her moving, growing and generally doing her thing inside me and it’s so magical every time… except when she’s throwing her 3am dance parties. It makes the whole thing feel that much more real (and sometimes alien) and I want to share it with Dean. With her kicks getting stronger and more predictable, I tried to get his hand in the right spot at the right time to feel her movements. This weekend, I thought I had managed, but I think the movements were a bit too far under the surface as Dean said he couldn’t feel anything but gurgling that could have just been my stomach rumbling (it wasn’t).

That tiny disappointment, combined with a series of work disappointments was making me feel a bit down going in to the rAge weekend. For those who don’t know, rAge is a massive gaming expo that takes place each year in Joburg where tons of gaming media, distributors, community and fans gather in the ridiculously hot and sweaty Dome and get to play games, buy merch and generally have a rad time. I was feeling a bit down about it, mostly because there were a few people I had considered friends who had turned out to be lying to me. I was feeling like maybe I was wrong all along, and like the possible stomach gurgling, maybe my connections with people weren’t magical but were simply imagined. Thankfully, I was proved wrong. Continue Reading

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When I plan to introduce my kid to Skylanders

I recently reviewed Skylanders: Superchargers for my day job over on Lazygamer.net. I was expecting to be bored by it seeing as it’s developed to be a kid’s game, but I actually really enjoyed it. Plus, it made me even more excited to get to play it with Harley one day – there is fun co-op so that we can play together, and I think any kid will get a kick out of the humor and adventurous experience. Also, the characters show a lot of empathy, even for the bad guys, and it’s nice to see some cool ideas of friendship and cooperation reenforced in a game. I already explained some of the reasons why I want Harley to be a gamer when she grows up; from mapping and problem-solving skills to decision-making alacrity and an interest in mythology, gaming helps with all of that. But there’s always the question of how old she needs to be to start video gaming, and if all that screen time is good for her.

I started looking into this, especially after discussions this weekend where I was seen as a bit odd for being so intent on having specific kinds of stimuli for Harley from birth. I know what I want, and I want her to learn about all kinds of things from before she can walk or talk. There is so much that happens in a kid’s brain so very early on, and reading to her and playing games together will be a big part of that. But mostly these were based on experiences without a screen because so many people rant and rave that screen time is dangerous for every human. Well, not so much. Continue Reading

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