Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Clash of Siblings

My wife and I caved. We caved hard.

Well, to be fair, since she’s going to read this and I don’t want to get into more trouble than I’m already in, it was probably me who did most of the caving.

OK, all of it.

She already went back to school. That’s essentially the problem. She left me here all alone with the three boys. We had a fun summer, and together we played fairly effective man-down zone defense. But now she’s off enjoying the peace and quiet of teaching high school math, and I’m stranded here, a week before the boys go back to school, hopelessly outnumbered three to one.

There was nothing I could do. They got on my last nerve. I was out of options. I snapped.

Sure, I tried movies. We watched them all. We watched the Batman movies. Everything from Lego Batman to Keaton, Clooney, all the way through Christian Bale, and into the who-paid-to-have-this-guy-cast-as-batman Ben Affleck debacle.

We watched Planet of the Apes, Rise of Planet of the Apes, and Dawn of Planet of the Apes. I have no idea why.

We watched Paul Blart, Mall Cop 2. Twice. You heard me.

When we passed through Ocean’s Eleven and got all the way to Captain Ron, I finally said enough is enough. I was considering calling Child Protective Services on myself.

“Get away from the TV! Go find something to do.”

The things they found to do were argue, yell at each other, get into fights, and cry.

“Go get in the pool!”

In the pool, they forgot to swim. Instead they decided to argue, yell at each other, get into fights, and cry.

“OK, fine. If you can’t get along, we’ll do chores! How do you like them apples?”

We cleaned the house. We cleaned the backyard. We trimmed trees. We cut grass. We weeded vast expanses of lawn. We washed cars. And during it all they decided to argue, yell at each other, get into fights, and cry.

I simply couldn’t take it anymore. Like I said, I snapped.

We have always had a “no video games” rule in our house. In general, my wife and I believe that video games warp their tiny brains and turn them into moody, obsessed, psychotic little blobs of pasty-white flesh.

I still believe that, but I just don’t care anymore.

“Here’s an iPad. Why don’t you get that Clash Royale game you heard about?”

“What? Dad, are you feeling OK?”

“Shut up and get the game.”

They have all since graduated to something called Clash of Clans, and they are officially obsessed. They have learned an entirely new language in just a few short days. The people at Rosetta Stone should look into this technology for language acquisition.

Here’s a sample conversation I just heard when I was able to pry them away from the screens long enough to eat lunch:

“Bro, what if you put your dark elixir in front of your magic archer, with a dragon queen and a scarmy behind them?”

“Dude, then you could totally balloon a city hall with your pekka. But your barracks would be completely hard-pushed.”

“Not if your wall breakers were in front of a barbarian king or an archer queen. Then your goblins could balloon a hog rider, with a lava bowler hound golem….”

I tuned out after that.

We don’t have normal conversations anymore. It’s all they can talk about, 24/7, but I don’t care. Because they are talking, not yelling.

For now, I will take it. I will pull the plug the minute school starts and go back to being a responsible parent who cares about their mental health.

“How much longer can we play?”

“Shut up and play the game. Don’t ask questions.”

Right now, we’re dealing with my mental health.

School cannot start soon enough.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen

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