Sunday, 25 November 2012


Just some thoughts on Jack turning six.

My biggest problem with this birthday has been his change in age. For the last two years Jack's age has conjured up pictures of a little toddling boy wearing costumes and saying cute things. When people ask how old he is I just say four or five without any thought whatsoever and I get the "aw" response. But six is much more awkward to say, it doesn't project a barely coherent little boy anymore, six is a real age. "Aw" changes to other things like sentences and comparisons.

Six-year-olds can read, write and answer back with a degree of articulation and intelligence. They have choices, make decisions and have opinions. They're missing teeth and or have teeth of a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They can play games without supervision or assistance, they have tastes and a sense of humor. They're in real classes like first grade and year one. They're too grown up for the kiddie rides but not tall enough for the good rides. They get more expensive because not only do they want the bigger and more expensive things, all the child discounts and free entries disappear.

So for me, I'm not very happy about six. This year marks the beginning of a change in the role of father as well. Gradually from here on out my role will get less and less hands on and become more advisory. Until now there is nothing he has done that I have not done before but from here on out that changes, he will experience new things that I never did, or no longer can. His future is beginning to open up right in front of him and his parents have a smaller and smaller part in it.

I'm by no means just focussing on the negative here. I'm glad to see my boy growing up, I'm looking forward to seeing what he becomes and achieves. I'm just going to miss my little boy.

So with mixed feelings I wish my son a happy birthday.

Yay for being six

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Birthday Boy


Jacks birthday has come up rather quickly for everyone. Even for him.
Jack has been very excited over the last couple of weeks, he's been theorising about his presents and getting himself all worked up about it.

We tried to take it easy this year as out house is full of toys and the like that he doesn't touch, ever. We've run out of room. So we figured that from now on, before each birthday and Christmas we'd go through his toys and make a little room for the new arrivals. We also planned to get shop more precisely and try to keep the number of toys down.

This year we figured it would be pretty easy. Mainly his wish list consisted of three things, Moshis, Lego Star Wars and and video games.

When we gathered all the gifts together for the wrapping and got a good look at the total number and its turned out a little bit more than we'd hoped. His last minute interest in Lego Star Wars is the main culprit, but aside from that we're not sure how this has happened. Being that it was a school day we divided out his presents into before and after school piles, and then told him about neither. In the morning there was a spontaneous pile of small quiet gifts for him to open and enjoy before school, then after school another pile appeared with even better gifts.

After the unwrapping the presents don't look so numerous, we've obviously done better than we'd though.

Jack is happy with his gifts and so far has spent more time playing with them than we've come to expect in the past, less really is more.

Decorating his cakes for his party
Favourite presents are Sonic Colors DS. Which he's already about half way through and the Star Wars figures. The Moshis seem to have taken more of a collection role, he's happy that he can now say he has some these new ones, he finally has an Iggy and and Oddy, but he's not very interested in playing with them in any sense other than toting them around the house in their bag from time to time. He got a Lego Star was x-wing fighter which he's delighted with, as am I because it looks like he might be a Lego-head like I was when I was a kid, I've been hoping for the days when we could build Legos together.

All in all it was a good birthday for Jack. Tomorrow he's taking a few friends to the snow dome for a tubing party.

The end result

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Super Mario and Son

Jack has a nintendo 3ds but only has one game for it so far. Super Mario Bros DS.

Jack loves the game and will play it all day long if you let him. We generally try to limit his play time to something resembling an hour a day but somedays it's nice to just let him play.

I, along with many from my generation spent most of my time playing video games when I was growing up, and I still spend a lot of time playing them now. In fact it's the subject of my degree. I'm well aware of all the stigma that's attached to children playing video games and I can honestly say that it doesn't concern me. I'm not concerned particularly about the reported effects on his imagination or anything like that. Jack created an octopus on a pogo stick out of a few pieces of one of his building sets a few weeks back and he gets plenty of exercise and all that. Sure there's a lot of really violent games out there, but no more so than movies, or dare I say it, real life. So no I don't think there's any harm in Jack squashing the walking toadstools or winged tortoises, it's a game. I personally don't see how a child playing a video game today is any different to a child reading a book. But I digress.

I often muse as the prospect of Jack, aged fourteen, bringing friends over to play video games. I'm waiting for the day when I'm not allowed to play because they'd like to win for a change. I'm sure I wouldn't be allowed to play with him and his friends anyway, being that I have every intention of being the un-coolest dad ever, but I can dream.

When I was growing up the Mario games were some of my favorites so I know the answers to most of Jack's questions about the game, its plot and characters. Jack plays along and talks to me about it, sometimes I play the more difficult levels for him, or I help him with a difficult manoeuvre. Sometimes he just wants to watch while I play a few levels. It's something that we can share and do together and I hope that it will always be so. Some parents never find something like this that they can share with their children, I'm glad that I'm not one of them.