Today I let Chewey play swordplay on the Wii.
I know, you could call it lazy parenting. But really, the kid got exercise, which even I admit is sorely lacking in his life (he has lots of unstructured play outside, but I wouldn’t necessarily call that exercise). I mean, the kid lays down at Disneyland.
So, he swung the remote like a crazy man, and huffed and puffed and sweat until his face turned the color of a ripe tomato. In between, he’s looking at me and saying, “It’s okay, Mommy. Believe in me. Have faith. I will rescue you.”
Good lines, kid. After all, he’s four.
And then he says to me, “I have my mighty sword. Just one more time, Mommy. I will rescue you this time from the bad guys. Because that’s what good guys do. Just believe in me, Mommy.”
Goddamn, I love this kid.
Of course, after the fifth or sixth time he said those same words, “Believe in me, Mommy,” I started to wonder: Does he think that I don’t?
So I cheered him on. And when he got upset because he lost (again), he’d turn to me forlornly and say, “Mommy. I failed. I didn’t rescue you.”
And I’d say, “Don’t worry, buddy. You always have another chance.”
And he’d try again. He tried for about forty minutes, until sweat dripped into his eyes and, as he put it, his “brain was sweating.” The only thing that holds his attention for that long is a movie at the theater, complete with popcorn and water. (The kid is destined to be the next Leonard Maltin, I think. He LOVES movies. Most kids lose interest, want to talk to one another or play with toys. Chewey pays attention, laughs at all the appropriate times, and will recite his favorite lines for days [weeks, months]. He has recently begun asking questions about plot and character motivation. It sounds like I’m making this up. I’m not.)
I’d cheer for the little dude. Tell him when he’d improved over the time before, even if he’d still lost. And while he might have been upset he lost, it wasn’t until he decided he was rescuing me from the bad guys that he got legitimately upset. Because he’d failed me.
I talked him through it. Told him it was a game, but that I appreciated the rescue. That the next time would be better, but it only mattered if he tried his best and had fun doing it.
I feel bad he got so upset, but I’m also strangely happy the boy loves me enough to want to rescue me from bad guys. He has a sweet heart, even if there are still those occasions where I half expect his head to rotate 180 degrees while spewing pea green vomit everywhere.
But the kid loves his family–his dad, his sister, and me. And I think, in his head, the rest of the world doesn’t matter. His sister can make friends with a tree–everyone is her friend until proven otherwise. Chewey seems to wonder why he should bother. He has his people, and he’s content with that.
I love this boy.