Most parents are dismayed by the amount of time kids spend online, watching television or playing video games. Not me. I prefer that they relax with some "Grand Theft Auto". I encourage them to watch MTV's "Cribs". Heck, I encourage them to steal my credit card and play online poker.
My reasoning is simple: If technology doesn't entertain my kids, they get all Amish on me and start making up their own terrifying, non-tech games.
It's true. One of my favorites so far has been the classic "Ask Dad a Question While He's on the Toilet" game. The rules are simple. Ignore Dad until he goes into the bathroom and locks the door. Wait for the fan to come on and then start messing with door knob. When he yells, "I'm in here!," start asking questions. The first question should always be "Dad, what are you doing?," but any question after that is fair game.
Now that my children are 7,4, and 2 respectively, they've designed a terrifying new game to play when they're not watching television. It's called "Let's Catch Mommy and Daddy Doing It".
Warning: the rest of this essay may include frank discussion of the ways that parents express their love for each other. The mental images generated by this kind of discussion can result in light sensitivity, motion sickness or seizures. Before reading on, try saying a sentence that includes the phrases "my parents" and "open-mouthed kiss". If this makes you a little queasy, please do not continue.
Editor's Note: I, for instance, tasted a little Hamburger Helper just writing that sentence. But I will soldier on.
"Let's Catch Mommy and Daddy Doing It" is, at its core, a hunting game. Any time you suspect your mother or father are sharing a moment of intimacy, it is your job to track them down, bypass any obstacles they've set up, burst in and destroy any sense of privacy that they've built.
My kids are good at this game and getting better. I want to explain to them that winning this game might ultimately scar them for life. I want to explain that even their mother and I feel uncomfortable being there, but we sorta have to be. My kids can win this game, but only in the sense that the Nazis won when they discovered the Lost Ark of the Covenant.
I hope they come to their senses before it's too late. Meanwhile, the hunt goes on.
Me: Did you lock the bedroom door, the outer bathroom door, the inner bathroom door and the front door?
Me: Did you turn on that "South Park" episode we never wanted them to watch, threaten them with Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy and close their door?
Wife: Of course I did. I also turned on our radio, stuffed shirts under the door and spent the entire week practicing how to enjoy myself without raising my voice above a whisper.
Me: Good....wait...what was that noise? Was that the door knob? Omigod! I think they're breached the outer perimeter!
Wife: Oh god! They just keep coming. Why won't they leave us alone? What do they want? Aaaaaaaaaaiiaiaiaiaiia.....
Final Editor's Note: Sorry about the graphic imagery in this post, but I would like to point out that I'm the first writer in the history of the world to ever use the phrases "Amish", "Nazis" and "open-mouthed kiss" in the same piece. People better recognize.