Tuesday, January 06, 2009

what wii did during our winter break...

The kids are back to school (thank goodness Sunday's Seattle snow didn't terrify Seattle schools into calling another snowday on Monday--my gaskets have been preserved) and we're very slowly working our way back into a normal, regular schedule. Last night after dinner, baths, and homework, we even got the kids to bed at a halfway decent hour--which is also pretty normal.

The only spur sticking out of our totally well-greased machine of a schedule (I'm cracking myself up here) is that after almost three weeks of no school, the kids are resistant to going back to the no screen time during the school week rule.

They watched a lot of television and played a lot of Wii during their snowdays and winter break. A lot. There's been a whole new population explosion of Miis on our Wii, and after discovering the Wii Fit, the kids have started complaining about getting antsy without their morning workout. Huh. And that bouncy little Wii medley? We all know that by heart now. Naomi was humming it to herself in the bathtub last night.

It is my fault they got out of control.
In attempt to get some work done, I knew it'd be easy to put on the Tinkerbell video, give the girls a bowl of popcorn, and know that an hour and 22 minutes was take care of. And all of them like the Wii. And Samuel did learn some interesting things about Native American history on Google (though I did have to do some supervising--who would've thought that searching on "Squanto" would bring up sexy photos?) Seriously, that was one long winter break with some serious cabin fever...

But when they start getting antsy for the screens, it makes me nervous. For someone who is definitely drawn to technology and video games herself, maybe it's hypocritical of me to feel so skeptical about the draw. We all know that moderation is good, too much television is bad for multiple reasons, but what about something like that Wii? They're interacting with each other, they're getting physical activity, especially with the Wii Fit, and they're even using their imaginations as they role play with some of the games.

Yesterday, on an NPR story about the closing of the Woolworth's stores, a woman was talking about how her childhood memories included buying a bag of broken biscuits from Woolworth's and taking them home to eat with her brother in a tent they'd made in the living room out of sheets.

Which got me thinking...
My kids don't make tents out of sheets. And at the risk of becoming a cliche, I used to love making tents out of sheets. I also used to love to play outside, which is something my kids don't do much of because of all the rain. And I walked to school. Or at least to the bus stop.

And even though Samuel loves the Wii Fit and loves to jump and do all the physical activities, and is even very interested in what makes a body healthy and how much activity needs to go into that, I feel a bit sad when he talks about taking an early morning "jog" around Lake Wii.

But I guess the thing I worry most about is are they losing those wonderful make-believe games they loved to play just a few years ago, especially Samuel, because the video games are so much more attractive? Or is he simply outgrowing them?

For now we'll experiment by taking away the DS and putting away the Wii controllers during the week so that he's freer to do the other things he enjoys. And our normal schedule doesn't really involve a lot of time around the house, anyway, so it's a pretty natural change.

But after the kids go to bed, I'll bet there will be some Wii Fitting going on. Boaz has some pretty slick hula hooping moves...

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