Monday, January 24, 2011

308. Pokemom

If you have a seven-year-old or if you are a seven-year-old yourself, you can skip today’s blog, as you could have written it yourself. Still there? Please, come on in. Enter the dark secret world of all things Pokemon.

Now, having grown up with a sister (hi, Oakley!), we never had Pokemon. We had Barbies. I remember my sister and I spending hours “choosing” our Barbies and all their accessories, down to the last little shoe or purse. We would lay out all the possibilities in neat rows and most of our “play” time was actually gobbled up with us going back and forth bickering over the acceptability of each other’s selections (“If you're going to choose the white fur coat, then the shoes and purse combined should only count for one pick for me, not two.”). I got this part down to a science: being the older sister, I would pretend I was interested in something (say, that ugly green jumpsuit) and then I’d talk it up so she would pick it.

Oh, how I miss the simple days of mind manipulation. Now, Tall has a passion for Pokemon cards. We have his friend Ashton to thank for this, as Ashton gave these cards out as party favors at his recent birthday party (thanks a lot, Ashton, and Ashton’s mom:  you've ruined me).

In a word, Tall is: obsessed.  He sleeps with the precious cards mere inches from his bed, and he wakes up spewing important details about these Japanese characters, such as “Muk can do 50 damages”—whatever that means. Tall corners me several times a day (more on week-ends) saying will-you-play-Pokemon-with-me-will-you-play-Pokemon-with-me-please-please-Pokemon in a relentless loop. Naturally, I try to force the game off on my unsuspecting husband (“MOV, I’m trying to make dinner here, if you want to make dinner I’m happy to play a Japanese card game with him,”). Eventually, I succumb.

Tall grins at me, partly because he’s worn me down, but mostly because he knows he’ll win. We sit down and he starts dealing out the cards. I do not qualify for the luxury of having the rules explained to me in advance. Apparently, in Pokemon World, things are on a need-to-know basis. “Please, Tall, please can you give me a quick run-down on the essentials?” (Insert Tall’s condescending gesture of eye-rolling here). “How ‘bout I just tell you as we go along, Mom, it might be too complicated for you.”

I would scoop up all the cards and throw them at him in a rage if he weren’t right. It is too complicated for me. These unpronounceable characters have nicknames and powers and levels and damages (an inordinate amount of time is spent going over damages, does my kid have law school in his future?). There are also various “points” associated with each one, and from what rudimentary knowledge I’ve garnered, you play by setting down one of your cards against your opponent’s, while your opponent proceeds to tell you how your card sucks and his card is so much better. Next, you lose. Over and over again.

I am immediately nostalgic for the uncomplicated times of “CandyLand,” “Sorry!” and even “Monopoly.” With the first one, as long as you weren’t colorblind, you could figure out how to play (“Mommy, your card is green. Move your person to the green square here.”). With the second, basic one or two digit numbers were involved (“Your card says two, Mom, move your game piece two spots.”). My favorite, “Monopoly” required the advanced skill of knowing how to read dice. Fortunately, I’ve been to Las Vegas and I can roll dice with the best of them.

As Tall is dealing the cards and taking my so-called “bad” cards (shades of me manipulating my little sister all those years ago?), I am zoning out, thinking about backgammon. Backgammon is a game of advanced skill and planning, and by some random trick of nature, it is a game I excel at.

Tall wins again. What a surprise. The Husband calls us to dinner, we eat, then get the boys ready for bed. After we read to them and turn the lights out, The Husband and I retreat to the living room. “Ready for House Hunters?” he says, “They might even have an international episode tonight.”

I ignore his offer as I walk toward the front hall closet. I return with a small briefcase. “I don’t feel like watching TV tonight,” I say, “Let’s play backgammon.”

(“Monopoly Or Videos?”)


  1. but you have to admit, Piplup is awfully cute ... :)

    (meanwhile, keep Tall far, far away from Pokemon comic books. You think none of it makes sense now? Just wait til you try to read the comic books, which run back to front, right to left ... and each segment is so nonsensical, you're never entirely sure if you're reading it in the right order or not. Now THAT is a fun time.

  2. oh god, stephanie, don't you have some editing to do?

  3. On the bright side: They do grow out of the Pokemon obsession. I went through it with all three of my boys and was so happy when the last card made it to the trash.


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