Character Select: The End of a Cycle

Written by on July 22, 2013 in [, , , ]

There are no more babies in my house. In reality there haven’t been babies in my house in the better part of almost five months. Kaitlyn started walking before her first birthday meaning she’s been a toddler for a while now. It took me those five months to wrap my head around the fact that I have two toddlers. You could go so far as to argue that I have one toddler and a little boy living in this house now in addition to the very cranky cat who hates my face on a regular basis.

It’s surprisingly difficult to get my mind around the fact that neither of these children is a baby anymore. Each of them has their own personality and preferences and, while they still depend on me, they are no longer amorphous blobs who have to be carried around everywhere. In incredibly cheesy fashion I’ll say that it feels like mere moments have gone by since I first held each of them and it’s blowing my mind a little bit. Kaitlyn will turn 1.5 next month and Nathan will be 3.5 the beginning of September. I bet you’re wondering where this realization came from all the sudden. Along with all of my other great light bulb moments it actually all started while I was playing a video game because I couldn’t sleep.

I’ve been going back to a lot of older games these days mostly because I finally have the motivation to play them (and also because my Some Other Castle co-host Leah is demanding I play them). Last night while playing Darksiders I came to the realization that this console generation is essentially almost complete. Come November we’ll have the option to get on board with fancy new hardware and everything will kind of iterate forward. Over time the Xbox 360 and PS3 are going to fade out of focus. For me new consoles come with excitement but also a touch of apprehension. I had gotten so good at operating my current consoles, knowing the ins and outs of those controllers and interfaces. Soon it feels like I’ll have to learn it all over again. Will I like these new toys? How much of a learning curve am I going to deal with? Are the games going to make the transition feel worth it? Lots of questions and regrettably no answers until I have the box in my house and I can hook it up.

In a lot of ways the transition that children go through from one life phase to another is kind of similar to getting new hardware. Just as you are achieving some kind of proficiency as a parent they switch up the game. Think you’ve got the house properly baby proofed? Well now they are walking and climbing. Think you finally understand the sounds they make and what they want? Well now they are kind of talking and you have to figure that out all over again. Think you understand what the temper tantrums are about? Go home, you’re drunk because those never make sense. The thing about kids is the transitions from one phase to another are so much more intense than any other change. It’s not just apprehension that you feel it’s straight up anxiety. What if I’m not good at parenting a school age kid? What if I can’t help with homework? What if I do something ridiculous that guarantees therapy down the road?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an anxious person by nature. I worry and I hate not knowing the answers which means certain types of change are difficult for me to cope with. My children amplify that a million fold. Simply stated, I don’t want to screw it up. When you mix my personality with the inevitably transitions kids go through as they get older you get me as a hot mess (and you find out how little sleep an Engineer can get and still actually function at their job).

All of this kind of dawned on me last night while I was sitting in that stupid recliner playing a game last night. Thinking about the shift in console generations forced me to think about the shift in my kids, something I had been pushing to the back of my brain for quite some time.

When I sit here this morning, after a terrible night of sleep, and really think about all of this I realize there might be a lesson to be pulled from something as stupid as new video game hardware. That lesson is simple, people adapt. I’ll figure out a new piece of electronics, adjusting to the systems and interface in the same way I did the last time this all went down. It may take a little time and there will likely be frustration and teeth gnashing involved but I’ll figure it out. Why can’t I apply the exact same logic to parenting? Each transition I’m essentially getting a new version of my kid. One that has grown and learned new things and pieced together another bit of their personality. I’m pretty sure if I can quell my anxiety over the whole situation that I can figure this new phase out. This will likely take a little bit of time and there will be frustration and teeth gnashing from everyone involved but it’ll get figured out. It kind of has to get figured out because my kids aren’t going to stay the same age forever. I can’t lock them in the phases that I’ve grown accustomed to dealing with.

Looking at things that way, however ridiculous it may seem, makes me feel better. It gives me the ability to step back, take a deep breath, and press on. I still wish my kids came with a manual like my PS4 will but at least I have a little more confidence that I can figure things out as I go along.



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Author: Elaine View all posts by
Electrical Engineer, podcaster, writer, gamer, tech lover, mother of two children (who are often trying to kill me) and lover of rum, vodka and wine from a box.

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