I did not think I could love more than I already do but magically, my heart grew big enough for two.
When I was in grade school Pokémon was all the rage. Everyone had the trading cards and watched the show. I got consumed by it myself. Everyday after school I would watch the show, every time I had some change I went to the corner store and got a pack of cards. It was a rush to crack open a fresh pack and see what surprise critters waited for me inside; maybe I would get a shiny or one I adored from the show. It was a little silly that I was so obsessed with the cards considering the majority of the people in school playing the game were boys and they were not anxious to have me join them. I never actually learned how to play but I still enjoyed collecting. One day in grade four during recess someone went into my cubby spot and stole my shiny Hypno; I am still mad about it. That is the power of this game. I am sure a lot of the hype is nostalgia but for good reason.
I certainly was not the only person who enjoyed the show and games. Pokémon became a vital part of many millennials’ childhood. Many of us grew up playing and never actually stopped. In fact, for my 24th Birthday my partner and I went and got a pair of Nintendo 3DS’ along with a pair of Pokémon games so we could play together. My partner is actually a much bigger fan than I am and he has helped me fill in a lot of the information I was not able to catch on to when I was younger. We have watched all the seasons and movies together and now that our son is old enough to enjoy the show, we watch them with him as well. Pokémon Go could not have come at a better time for our family. It is exciting for us to be able to share such a big part of our childhood with our children now; to have our children enjoy something we loved so much. Pokémon Go brings our childhood wishes alive; we can be Pokémon trainers!
The game appears to be getting a wonderful reaction. It seems like everyone I know, young and old alike, are enjoying this game. Of course there are people out there that are not impressed or it just is not something they enjoy but I am really impressed with the game for various reasons. Although there is a lot I would like to see added or fixed, the game itself is fun and what it has accomplished is even more amazing. This game is doing what many others have tried and never quite accomplished on such a large scale. Pokémon Go has gotten people out of the house to get exercise and fresh air but it has also, which I never realized would happen but I am pleasantly surprised, made people socialize. In a world where technology and social media seems to distance us while claiming to bring us together here comes a game where people just happen to find real community while playing. This is not a forced kind of socializing; you go out not even expecting to meet or talk to people but you do. You have this connection, you have tips, and jokes, and you have a good time with it all. It is exactly what the world needs right now. It is exactly what makes it such a great family friendly game.
My son is two and a half and he loves to go catch “Pikamon”. Today alone we spent at least an extra half an hour walking around while doing errands just to have fun with this. Something that would normally be rushed and boring became an adventure. We even went up a level while simply walking to the store. While my son does not quite understand how to actually catch the Pokémon and I am not sure he gets the whole augmented reality thing, he is able to get excited about walking around and catching them. He cannot swipe to throw the balls but he tries, most of the time I do it for him quickly and he presses the button on the ball while the critter is being caught, he feels like he is doing it. Once the Pokémon is caught he jumps for joy, we high five, it is a blast and it makes him so happy. Maybe a part of it is because he recognizes the characters, I am sure it is also partly exciting to be doing it with Mommy but I love to see that joy on his face. I love that it is getting us out of the house longer, it is something we both enjoy.
We are not the only family playing this together. My Facebook feed is full of my peers and their children trying to “Catch ‘em all”. Honestly, I cannot find a con to playing this with your children. It is something you can all enjoy and bond over. There are a few things I will say in warning, if you are interested in jumping on the Pokémon wagon: 1. Be cautious and teach your children how to use caution while playing- people have been seriously injured or worse while not paying attention while playing 2. Be mindful that this game does use the data on your phone if you are not connected to Wi-Fi 3. Be present and play with them, this is a great opportunity to have fun with your children- simply driving them around for them to do it defeats the purpose, and yes I saw a mom driving her two children around in a minivan doing this a day ago.
All in all, I say I am down with PoGo as family fun! It is a great way to get out with your kids and explore your neighbourhood or even travel to find new places with new Pokémon. You can easily make a whole day out of this. I really love that this is fun for all ages. It is available on the Android Google Play Store and Apple App Store and is free to play with the option to buy items in game.
Let me know what you think about Pokémon Go as family fun in the comments below. Is there any other game you enjoy playing with your kids?
If you are looking for a different Pokémon fix or perhaps to wind down after a long day of Poke hunting, Netflix Canada has plenty of Pokémon episodes and movies for you to enjoy; we certainly enjoy watching them there!
Niantic (the company that created the Pokémon Go app) actually has another augmented reality game called Ingress that my partner and I had started playing a few months ago. If you aren’t a big Pokémon fan but still enjoy this particular type of game Ingress is definitely one you should check out. I would not consider this a family friendly game. This is more of an adult game.
Were you aware that monsters main source of nourishment comes from grass. Also, did you know there is an Apparently a Mom Youtube Channel?
I am new to feminism in the sense that I have never thought about my beliefs or perspective as being a movement with a label. I have always just considered myself a person who believed in equality and stood up to social injustice. I wanted to make a difference, I still do. Most of my post-secondary schooling is in the field of social work. It was not until the birth of my son did I have what people might call my feminist awakening. I realized that there was in fact a label to what I stood for. There was a name for the injustice I encountered more often than I would like to admit.
As I have embarked more consciously on my feminist journey in the past year I have found myself in an interesting spot. I seem to have become more aware of my perspective and more inclined to act upon on it now that I have a child. Bringing a life into this world was a journey in itself but I now find that I am riding a slippery slope I did not realize was there. I am the mother of a boy which has coincidentally made me a more mindful feminist.
Like any good parent I try to watch what I say or do in front of my child. I want to set the right examples and hope that I am making the right decisions. It is not as easy as some parents make it look, believe me. While parenting my son I have learned more about myself in this past year than I have in all of my twenty-three years on this planet. It was suddenly too easy to see my faults, quirks, insecurities, and societal boundaries embedded in me. I am sure much of what I realized was in part due to the anxiety issues I struggled with more predominantly postpartum or maybe it all just made me more cynical.
I opened my eyes to many things in the short time my son has been here. One of the many issues I have been more aware of recently is the very real problem our society seems to have with gender roles. I am not sure if the reactions or thought processes I had were normal in the sense that the majority of parents with sons have them or I am one of the few. I found myself getting increasingly annoyed with blue clothing and people questioning my child’s gender like it made a difference. Apparently people need to know so they can fit you in a box, even before you are a year old. The problem with boxes is that not everything is perfectly square. In fact, I would wager that most things are not.
There is only so much you can do at home but I will do my best to encourage my child to be true to himself regardless of the messages he will get elsewhere. It is so wrong to place these constraints on children. I am tired of feeling a little guilty when I walk in to the “girl’s section” in the toy department to buy my son something he will enjoy. Why should I? It pains me to know that one day he may be made fun of or told he is wrong for liking the color pink, wanting to cook, or playing with a baby doll if that is what he chooses to do. It bothers me that one day it will not be okay for my son to show that he is hurting but the little girl next door will be consoled and reassured. The last I checked we are all humans and some of the most human qualities are to have feelings, opinions, and choices and to be able to act on them. In my ideal world people would just be people; there would be no glass ceiling, rape, gender roles, or prejudices. Unfortunately, we do not live in such a world and that is why I will do what I can in my own home. I do not want my child to grow up feeling like he needs to conform to the limited view of masculinity that we have. Being the parent of a son in a masculine society has made me be more aware of what I say and how I say it, not only to my son but to everyone.
And this is why I have compiled a list of things I will not say to my son:
- “Man up”- This goes right along with sayings like “grow a pair”. Everyone’s feelings are valid and should be acknowledged. Courage does not come from having testicles neither does being a leader. Setting an impossible standard of “masculinity” that every male needs to live up to is plain silly.
- “Don’t cry/ Crying is for ‘pussies’”- Since when does having a vagina mean you are the only one that is allowed to cry or show your emotions? When we are hurting it is a natural reaction to cry. It is a stress reliever and a coping mechanism. Why on earth should that be gender specific? Humans have the ability to do this, humans have feelings, and every feeling is valid.
- “No, that is a girl’s…. “- Whatever. I will not tell my son he cannot do or have anything because it is not for boys. That is just ridiculous, sexes do not own rights to colors, toys, activities, hobbies, or fashion.
- “Boys will be Boys”- I will not give my son an excuse to misbehave. There is no old boys club in my home and I expect my son to respect others no matter where he is. I will encourage my son to be inclusive. Men should not get away with acting inappropriately because of their genitals, neither should women.