Nintendo Skills

Lately I find myself thinking back to my days as a kid playing Nintendo. Or to be more exact, trying to get the Nintendo to work. Usually when we put in a game cartridge, it wouldn't work simply by sticking it in. Getting it to work was half the fun of Nintendo.

One of my brothers discovered that it would work if you blew on the cartridge's metal strip first. Problem solved.
But then that stopped working, so we had to get creative:
One looooooong blow. Three short blows. Make the strip wet by licking it. Lick it, then blow. Clean with shirt, lick, blow. Blow in it through your shirt. Lick, under the shirt blow, then another lick....
When those methods failed, we got creative about how we entered the cartridge in to the Nintendo. First it was veeeery slowly and carefully. Later we were slamming it in. Then it was other slight of hand maneuvers. Finally, some sibling (Glen, I think) discovered the trick of wedging a screwdriver head  into the machine that held the cartridge at just the right position to function. He was regarded as a genius. Soon we were stuffing all sorts of objects into the Nintendo to make it work.

I'm not sure that in all my negotiating with my mom to get more video game time that I ever thought of the reasoning that I was building important mothering skills. I think I came up with the usual "hand-eye coordination" and "driving skills" stuff that even I didn't really buy into.

But everyday as I work with raising my little monkey (who sometimes passes as a human baby), I find myself trying trick after trick after trick to get him to eat, to get him to nurse, to get him to drink, to get him to sleep, to get him to stop crying, to keep him entertained, to keep him still for his diaper change, to keep him quiet at church, to get down his vitamin D, I find one solution, I regard myself a genius, and I hold on to that solution as the holy grail of solutions. But then it stops working. I regard myself as incompetent. But I keep trying, I get creative, I find a new solution, and the cycle repeats.
When it comes to nursing, the other night I actually found myself repeating the secret code for infinite lives to that game Contra. (Up up down down left right left right A B start.) Because the first several steps of the Contra code seemed to be quite similar to the secret pattern for getting Smalls to finally settle down and nurse. Left may not work, right may not work - but left up left up right up right up left up right - that was the secret code that finally worked.
Feeding at meals. Oooooooooooh, I could go on for ages about the special tricks to get this to happen: Spoon. Only spoon if in my lap. Peas, he loves peas. No spoon, only hands. Only hands if it was MY food. Spoon if it was MY spoon. No spoon, no hands, only fork. Only fork if he could hold the fork. This piece of cheese, but not THAT piece of cheese. Peas, he hates peas. Throw food off the tray to show me he is done with lunch. Put him down on the ground and discover he is NOT done with lunch as he eagerly devours his table scraps. Hands and spoon and fork, it's all good now. Yogurt - no way. Now give me that yogurt! He's not hungry, so out of the high chair and into my lap, and now he IS hungry....
I just feel lucky that Nintendo prepared me for how to deal with all of this.
Thanks, mom, for letting me play.
But Smalls will probably not get one. I hear video games function much too reliably these days.

Andrea J  – (5:32 PM)  

I wonder if engineers are better Moms? All those problem solving skills. Or maybe economists - they're so good at removing themselves from the situation and just analyzing the data. I know interior designers are good Moms, oh and mathematicians who are really great bikers.

Erin S  – (11:10 PM)  

He's such a funny little guy!

AJ Candrian  – (12:28 PM)  

Wow. That was a really good metaphor. Well done, Lorena. And I hope MRC continues to hate peas. :) That would make his aunt proud.

KellySummer  – (6:08 PM)  

i LOVE that metaphor. As you know I am a lover of patterns and systems and I am always trying to find the correct pattern or system or nintendo trick to get ollie to do things. our main struggle is naps. :)

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