Posts Tagged ‘computer games’

Commentary and replays


Playing a game with Robin, he’ll often pause the action so he can recreate the manoeuvre he’s just completed. Alongside his slow motion replay of the kick, save, hit or dive he’s essayed, there will be fragments of commentary, “did you see” ..”I whammed it”.. “with my foot over here”. I wonder if it’s something to do with the FIFA computer game where slow motion replays are at the player’s command.


Eliza has a funny self-deprecating act that she goes to when pretending to be annoyed. I think it stems from being told how she use to lose her temper when a toddler. She spins, while stamping and harrumphing in a high-pitched voice.


Gabe is enduring another period of bedtime fears. This seems to have arisen from him being sick – something he considers to be akin to being possessed – a few months ago. He starts worrying he is going to be sick, which makes him feel nauseous, which makes him anxious, which stops him going to sleep, which makes him more anxious. L has taken him to a GP to help him through it.

Sleep-over – home and away


Eliza chose her birthday party to be an afternoon, evening, night and morning with her two best friends. They visited a craft cafe to make pots, ate ice cream and then back at home, watched tv and two videos, before the serious stuff of chatting in bed took hold. A word from L at 12.30am and they quietened down and slept until.. 7am when they soon had energy for indoor kickstone and spying on the rest of us.


Gabe was invited to a sleep-over at his friend’s house the same night. The day before he mentioned that they would be playing Call of Duty, an 18 rated game. Not so fast, I said. Gabe was upset when L and I set our terms. he said there would be nothing for him to do there if he wasn’t allowed to play. The next day I called his host’s mother and said that he wasn’t allowed to play the game. She consulted with her son and called back saying, a little archly, they would find something ‘within the rules’.

He wasn’t effusive about the sleepover the next day. We seem to have found a fracture with some of our peers over their willingness (and our refusal) to let pre-teen children play violent video games. I wonder if Gabe mentioned to me the plan because of his discomfort with it.


Robin followed L into the loo and said it smelt of her. By which he meant it smelled of washing. Explaining more, he said I smell of rice – as I always make it; Eliza smells of ‘in my pockets’ – as she’s always playing with them; and Gabe smells of sweat – as he’s always playing football.

Present opening

Christmas morning

6am – stirrings from all rooms, but the kids are on a strict 7am curfew

6.30am – intercepted on the way to the bathroom, I’m challenged as to whether the kids can open their stockings without L and me. I confiscate the stockings and take them with me back to bed. L sends me to the kitchen to find fruit, which had been missed out of the stockings.

7am – our room is invaded. We relocate to Eliza’s room and in 15 minutes Santa’s stocking – the present aperitif – has been gorged.

7.30am – breakfast is eaten at pace. Gabe, in particular, struggles with the nag interdiction. L and I finishing our tea and toast stands between the kids and the main meal: the presents under the tree.

8.15am – one-by-one, taking turns as if playing a board game, we open our presents, express delight and thanks. The living room floor is covered with torn wrapping. Eliza skids and wipes out trying to cross the floor.

The aftermath

Eliza changes straight into clothes she was given: spotty tights and a new top.

Robin changes into his Spanish football top and wears it and blue shorts for the next four days. He spends Christmas morning chasing Slithery, a remote control rattlesnake, around the house.

Gabe lingers in the living room, willing and chipping away at having set up the centrepiece of the 2010 Christmas – the Wii. In the five days since Christmas Day, the Wii has been Gabe’s default activity. It feeds, but not yet sates, his competitiveness. Eliza and Robin thrive on it too, but with lower intensity.



Gabe has knowledge and scepticism in abundance. Yet belief in Father Christmas has survived well into his tenth year. Today he asked L whether Santa would bring something as expensive as a DS game. L said he probably wouldn’t. Suddenly Gabe’s knowledge burst in: how can Santa get over the copyright problem of making and giving DS games. Do parents give the presents, he suggested. L, suppressing laughter at the proto-lawyer’s concern for intellectual property, failed to apply the coup de grace and innocence was preserved.


Eliza has written her letter to Santa:

Dear Father Christmas I would really like… a neclase that is the same as my other one but if there isnt the same one just one that is like it. And because I lost the ring that you gave me last time can I have a butterfly ring please. And can I have a few chocolates. And can I have a new cup for my lunch box. Love from Eliza

Eliza responded to Robin’s 25 metre badge by earning her 50 metre badge three days later.


Robin took the day off school. A temperature, a headache, but nothing very serious. While I managed my work emails, Robin sat in the kitchen drawing the Spanish football team. Eleven little figures, each with spiky hair, jazz hands, cylinder bodies and stick legs, distributed across three sheets of A4, playing under two suns; ten with red shirts and blue shorts and one all in green.

4-3-3 formation

Got talent


Eliza entered her school’s talent contest with two friends. They performed their dance in the preliminary round and qualified for the final held in front of the school. One of her friends bottled the performance but the show went on with Eliza and her other friend, although details are sketchy.


Gabe chose to spend indoors the most part of a hot, sunny afternoon spent at a party at a friend’s house. The draw was a wii.


Robin continued his charm offensive on our close family and friends – revelling in Nan and Grandad’s visit. He walked hand-in-hand with them and chattered away without inhibition.

Asthma attack


For the first time in over a year, Gabe has been felled by asthma. Triggered perhaps by a cold and maybe by the dust from the extension, he coughed throughout school on Wednesday and couldn’t manage to cycle home. To GP and then to A&E and paeds ward. Oxygen, nebulisers and steroids controlled the attack, but he was discharged only after 2 nights on the ward. Several times it looked as though he would come home sooner, but his breathing worsened. Having got his hands on the ward X-box, he was in a dilemma: come home or keep playing Fifa 05.

under attack


Robin began school nursery on Wednesday. A challenging week, made more difficult by Gabe’s illness and Lou being at the hospital. His response has been to develop a new facial expression – a jutting chin. When I picked him up from play-group on Thursday, he fixed the expression and ran to me, butting me in the lower stomach.


Eliza was upset by Gabe and Lou’s absence. On Thursday morning she complained of a stomach ache, which wouldn’t go by sitting on the toilet. Eventually, getting shoes on for school, she found it had gone. She asked me whether you could get a stomach ache if you were worried about something. Rare self-knowledge.