With my daughter away at sleepaway camp all summer, I’ve been getting some really yummy alone time with my son. He’s such a different kid without his big sister around; it’s as if he can really be himself, without having to worry about her interrupting him or making him feel stupid or teasing him. As much as I miss my daughter, I do love this time with my son, because I feel like I get to know him in a way that I otherwise never would. What I hadn’t bargained for, however, is the education I’ve been receiving in all things Pokémon.
My son has cycled through just about all of the little boy obsessions. It was cute when he was two and he was really into trucks and Thomas the Train. It was mildly disturbing when he was three and all he wanted to do was fight people with lightsabers. It was annoying when he turned five and insisted on owning every iteration of Power Ranger figures from the last two decades (Sumurai Rangers! Ninja Storm Rangers! Mystic Force Rangers! Operation Overdrive!), even though they all looked exactly the same to me. But Pokémon is by far the worst. Pokémon is it’s own special kind of hell.
If you’re lucky enough to not be schooled in Pokémon lore (and I hope you never are - I really wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy), I’ll give you a quick primer. As far as I can tell, the Pokémon world is sort of like a parallel universe to our own, except with these monsters living in it called Pokémon. In this world, people called Trainers try to catch Pokémon in order to learn about them, get to know them, and well, train them so that they can eventually battle other Pokémon. Each Pokémon has a special power, and as they become better at using it, the power grows stronger, at which point the Pokémon evolves into a new form of Pokémon that’s better suited to handle the increased power. Depending on how you look at it, the whole thing is either totally genius or horrifically stupid (hint: I’m in the latter camp).