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Video game OCD

When I was a kid, I was into video games.  We used to schlep down to the corner store to play the big arcade games.  And when I was in my 20's, with oodles of disposable time, I was a huge gamer.  I loved getting sucked into a game.  I was into strategy games like The Sims and Civilization, Sim City and mystery games.  I could sit at that computer for hours.

Now, a million years later,  I have a multitude of game systems in my house, ranging from Wii, PS3, PSP, computers, iPads, iTouch, and iPhone, and I have time for none of it. There are a million apps available for the iPad and aside from looking for educational ones, I don't pay attention to all that is out there.

That is, until the girls were screaming that they HAD to play Tinkerbell. When the girls scream in tandem and Isaac is in the house, he is in my face instantly begging me, "They need you. Help them. Make them stop crying." Their crying/whining is painful. So painful, that you wish for that moment, that the world would swallow you up to put you out of your misery.

I had no idea what they wanted, but I grabbed the iPad and went to the app store and found a free Disney Tinkerbell app that you design a fairy. Ok, that's simple enough. I can get it and leave them so I could do some laundry. I told them that they couldn't have it if they were crying and in a heartbeat, they stopped. But, then I had to explain the game to them.

The game was a wee bit more complicated than designing fairies. First you designed a fairy, but then, your fairy became a fashion designer. You had a certain amount of fabric and could unlock designs and had to buy mannequins to display your designs and the fairies would come in and ask you to design them stuff. If you ran out of fabric, well, you could use real money to buy more fake fabric to make fake outfits for pretend fairies.  And then you had to train your bugs by playing games with them to get more fabric, and it cost stuff to wake them up if they fell asleep. It was crazy, and a bit more that a four year old could grasp. I felt myself taking over more and more.

Every time one of the fairies came into the store, I felt that obligation, Have to greet the customer and take their order. I heard myself saying to the girls, "No, we can't design all pink clothes, your customers want green." My intense gaming instincts were coming back to life to design fake clothes for fake fairies and I found myself pushing the girls to the side while trying to maintain the order of the game. They got mad at me for disrupting their plans, and there we were arguing about video games. It was sad, so sad.

I found myself playing the game after they went to bed to secure more "fabric" for them so they could design to their hearts content when they woke up the next morning. I sat there like a big dummy, forgetting to eat because I was staring at those freaking fairies.

When they woke up, they made a bee-line to the iPad to play with their fairies. They asked as they grabbed the iPad, "Momma, did you make me some pink clothes and get more fabric?" I replied, "Yes I did," and they squealed with delight.

I had to make a conscious effort to leave them alone and let them play. If they spent all their  diamonds and pixie dust, so be it. The world was not going to end if they made all pink clothes or ran out of "fabric." I had to put that competitive gamer back to work in the real world.  But at least they knew enough about the game to play with a little less guidance from me.

Pink is the new black. At least that what Pinkalicious says. And if you fairies don't like it, go shop somewhere else.

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