Tuesday, March 23, 2010

BOYS! (And Yes, I'm Talking About Mine)

Those who have known me for many a year may be a tad surprised to hear we now own an xBox, as I've always sworn I never wanted one in my house and that if my kids wanted one they'd have to earn it themselves. Several months ago my hubbs and I were concerned at the enthusiastic playing our boys did on our aged computer, and were thinking along the lines of picking something up to give it a break.

This was such a huge concession on my part, as I knew full well how easily hours could be wasted playing something silly and unproductive (hello - I am a Facebook junky after all). The thought of my kids sacrificing time outside to sit in front of the tv didn't seem like a good trade. However, at the time I put out the idea in my family newsletter winter was setting in, the kids were in the house more often than ever, and they were off-track. This translates into a whole lot of time spent on my computer!

My big brother and his sweet wife called me with some wonderful news - they had an old xBox with some games they were completely willing to give us. That's right! The entire system and games were a gift. How awesome are they! Though it took a bit of practicing how to be nice and share, and after a bunch of time-outs happened combined with a lovely set of rules, the kids were doing really quite well at balancing time outside (on nice days) with taking turns on their new beloved toy.

Until yesterday.

A friend gave the boys two of his old games: Lego Star Wars 1&2. J is ecstatic, but B got tired of them awfully fast. #2 had to be fixed so we only got it back yesterday, and J's whining side came out full force! He didn't WANT to eat dinner. He finished some homework at school all ready! What do you mean it's bedtime?!?!?! By the time he actually said goodnight to everyone we were ready to ban him from the xBox for the rest of the week.

A little before nine he came in crying. "What's wrong?" I ask (first mistake). "I just know B's going to wake up before I do and he'll get on the xBox and play what I don't want to play!" I had to try really hard to keep my eyes from rolling around in my head. What could I say? Certainly not "You've been whining all night long so I'm going to reward your behavior by telling you B can't play his own game in the morning before school?" Uh...no. But I was too tired to think clearly, and that's when I made my second mistake.

"Whoever gets up first gets to pick what game you play."

Dumb, Laurie. Major dumb! Know why? At four o'clock in the morning I hear someone cry out and think one of the kids' is having a bad dream. I jump out of bed and go into the hallway where the flickering lights of the television are coming from the living room.

"No way," I think. "Yes way," my inner taunter shouts back. Sure enough, both my boys are on the xBox. AT FOUR IN THE MORNING!!! I made them get right off, saying their dad hasn't even gone to work yet, and told them to go back to sleep. When I get up a couple of hours later they're back on the xBox. I wasn't sure if they'd even gone back to sleep until I talked to hubby later on this morning. Sure enough, when he left for work, they asked if they could get back on and play.

If the boys are even a little ornery with me tonight, you'd better believe they'll be getting ornery right back!


Missy AKA Little Messy Missy said...

You now own the most important bartering tool a mother can have. My son, a teenager, still jumps through hoops to play that darn thing. I have even seen printable exercise or reading charts for kids that lets them earn xbox play time points. I am afraid as of this year a far bigger thing has attracted my son, so the xbox is dusty (except when I play Katamari). I can't figure out how to ground him from girls, they are everywhere!

Mel said...

I've been chuckling to myself ever since I read this. All I can say is I'm in shock something hasn't happened sooner. :)

There is nothing better than having a bartering tool. The best part is if the controllers ever "disappear" for an extended period of time, for whatever reason that may be, the kids still have a visual of what they can't do until they "return". Oh how well it worked on my brothers and I growing up . . . Just make sure it's a really good hiding place. Like at work with Dave. :)

Herbie said...

Like when you put your foot down the youngsters stand on it. Have been there.