You Can't Do That.
by Risa Green
My son is a big thinker. And by “big,” I don’t mean that he thinks often. I mean that he thinks on a large scale. He’s one of those kids who has entire worlds going on in his head – give him a stick, or a rock, or a cheap action figure, and he can entertain himself for hours. I’ve always loved this about my son; he’s creative, he’s a non-conformist, and he always sees the big picture. But lately, his ideas have started to become, well, too big for me to handle, I guess, and it’s starting to cause me some serious parenting angst.
It started about two weeks ago, when he came home from school and declared that he wanted to make a video game. Not play a video game, but make a video game. I tried to be encouraging, and to direct him more towards coming up with ideas for a video game, as opposed to creating an actual video game. But he was not having it. He insisted that he wanted to make a video game, which he could then play, on the computer, or, even better, on Wii. I told him that I didn’t know how to do that, and he just looked at me like I was a total moron. And in this totally duh tone of voice he was all, mom, just type making video games into the computer and it will tell you how to do it. And I was like, okay, where do I even start? I tried explaining to him that while this was a great suggestion, it would not, in fact, work, because in order to make video games you need to learn computer programming, and then you need to make it compatible for Wii, and while you can, indeed, ask the computer to tell you many things, how to make video games is not one of them. Or at least, not one of them that I am capable of understanding. And so I suggested that we play some Wii Sports Resort, and we did, and he forgot about it.
Until the next week, when he woke up one morning all excited, because he had this great idea to build a robot and control it with an old TiVo remote control that he found in a drawer. Once again, I tried to re-direct. What if we make a robot out of cardboard boxes and pretend that the remote control is controlling him? And once again, I got the look. That’s boring, he said. I don’t want to pretend. I want to make a real robot. Out of metal. And, he added, I want him to be able to walk, and talk, and clean my room and build a really big house for my teacher because she lives in a small apartment. Oh, and I also want him to make you some pretty gold earrings and a matching necklace, because I know you like gold jewelry. And so, after mopping my melted heart up off of the floor, I gently explained to him, again, that this was not something that I know how to do, because I, in fact, am a writer who nearly failed every science class I ever took, and in order to do what he wants, he would need to have a mommy with a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT. Not to mention welding tools and a protective face mask.