Friday, 20 March 2009

Mother's Day and Lego Star Wars

This weekend is Mother's Day and a time I give thanks for my wonderful J as I am so aware that there are many women out there desperate for children who don't have the luxury of their own J. I am so grateful for J because even if he does turn my hair gray sometimes he also manages to move me to tears occasionally as well. Yesterday J's school held a Mother's Day assembly and for the first time ever J was saying something on his own. Not that he told me this of course - oh no I had to find out from his class teacher the wonderful Mrs N who said "oh you MUST stay for assembly because J is very good". Cue a frantic phone call to work "I am going to be late". Thankfully the colleagues in on a Friday are all mothers themselves and totally understood.The assembly was beautiful and the children were fantastic. J was the other side of the hall (surrounded by teaching assistants as is usual) and frantically waving to me with a big grin on his face. The other classes sang songs and read poems about how wonderful Mums are. And then it was the turn of J's class - they sang a song and then J and several others stood up, they were all holding paintings done of their Mum. One by one the standing children said "Thank you Mum for...." and then it was J's turn - loudly and actively he raised his voice and shouted loudly but clearly "I LOVE YOU MUMMY". Oh I was sooo proud. Finally all the children sang a song called "You Are So Beautiful" while two little girls handed all the mothers there a daffodil. Not a dry eye in the house and a testament to the hard work of all the staff and children in putting it together. Mrs R the school's head can be rightly proud of her school.

I have always had an innate dislike of the realistic and graphically violent computer games which involve one player (or more) shooting, maiming and killing other characters. The ones my brother owns are horrifically realistic looking and the scary thought occurs that in the hands of someone unstable they could very much muddy the waters between fantasy and reality. In the hands of children the negative psychological impact does not bear thinking about. I have always been grateful therefore that J shows great interest in the computer but little actual obsession with game playing although he does like the ones on the Cbeebies and NickJr websites. I rest easily with those though as they are very much aimed at young children AND in most cases feed into the National Curriculum in some form or another. Many of J's class mates own DS Lite systems, Nintendo Wii consoles, Playstation 2, 3 or an XBox. J owns a VSmile console aimed at 5-8 year olds. It's robust and takes J's rather ham fisted handling with ease unlike a much more expensive DSLite console. The games are all based around learning and J enjoys them on an occasional basis.
Recently though when J's Daddy was here we went out for an evening to some friends. Their son who is 11 very generously gave J a Lego Star Wars computer game. This was a massive hit as J is currently very interested in Star Wars - and I suppose Star Wars is fairly simple to a 6 year old - there is no gray area for any of the characters - they are either goodies or baddies. I won't mention that from the the moment J received this wonderful gift he spent the rest of the evening saying "can we go home" as he wanted to load the game onto the computer NOW!
The next day the game was duly loaded and J and his Daddy spent several frustrating hours trying to work out how the characters moved and what to do. It was the cause of some friction between them and several arguments ensued. I tried and failed to act as peacemaker but eventually left both "boys" to it and reflected upon who might actually be the child!

Anyhow - Lego Star Wars is wonderful. Not only does the character the player adopts actually appear invincible - returning to the game almost as if he never left but the "baddies" when fought break into wonderfully clear lego pieces - not a drop of blood in sight and no suffering either. J though is obsessive - Lego Star Wars is the first thing he thinks about when he gets up in the morning and the first thing he wants to do when he gets home from school. I am letting him play and as the week has gone on the time at the game has decreased. For J it's wonderful and something he can talk to his friends about when they rave about their various adult consoles. Lego Star Wars is a hit on most of these consoles too if the games in the Argos book are to be believed - it appears as a best seller on all of them. So I am guessing that more than a few of his class mates know exactly how wonderful the game is. And for J who can find social situations difficult it gives a very valid means of communication and helps him socially.


Manifestation said...

Thanks J for sharing.Pretty interesting idea for mothers day.Wish all the Mom's around the globe a joyful Mother's day.

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Lady M said...

We are also a Star Wars crazed household, and I love the Lego game because I can't let the four year old watch the real movies yet.