Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teenage Son Takes Flight

One of the bedrooms in my house has become a dungeon. The door always closed and locked, the dirty washing only thrown out on occasions, and the moldy trash emptied only when there is no more room on the floor. Yes, this may be an exaggeration but, honestly, it is not far from the truth. My teenage son has turned into a hermit that growls in the morning and disappears as soon as he comes home from school. I wanted to say a gremlin but he is far too handsome for that.

I have questioned myself frequently how my bubbly, blond haired boy morphed into a deep voiced young man, sprouting a moustache. I remember the days when he used to run around the house wearing rubber gloves on his feet pretending he was a duck, or throwing a cape over his shoulder and becoming a super hero. Time goes so quickly when raising children that it literally comes up and bites you on the bottom, derrière, or whatever you personally call it!

He has ditched Thomas the Tank Engine and Power Rangers. His whole life now revolves around texting and that mechanical box on the floor called Xbox 360. Some would argue that I should never had let him have the game box in his bedroom but, to be honest, I couldn't stand listening to guns blazing and assassins screaming all the time. I think I would go insane.

The Xbox has also become his social circle. The boys do not get together in person, they arrange to meet at a certain time, online, in a certain game. I just don't get this concept of socializing, maybe he will grow out of it. I have given up telling him to go out and get fresh air. It seems fruitless. It appears times have moved on and this mum is out of date.

If this scenario sounds similar to you then do not despair, there is a positive aspect to this situation. Firstly, they have to come out to eat at some point so I am always ready with a cookie or two (bribery works wonders), and secondly your son may find that gaming has given him an extra skill. Mine has.

Two Christmas's ago he received a remote control plane. He has never taken any interest in it. He could not manage to fly it successfully and was afraid to break it. This year my biggest kid, aka my husband, got a small plane too. So together, they went flying in a local field. The first flight was disastrous, the second better, the third ended in a tree, and after much frustration, my son hit the home run on the fourth flight.

The plane glided in the air, landed smoothly, and took off again with as much precision as any pilot. My husband on the other hand was crashing almost every time. This scenario went on for days with my husband's frustration level rising a little more each time. My son had progressed onto loop-de-loops and night flying with the little lights on the plane. He is amazing, but daddy wanted to know his secret. The answer was quite surprising. Very sensibly, he told him it was due to the skill he had learned from the game controller. He just looks at flying the plane the same way he does maneuvering his characters on the screen. Quite literally, he had increased his hand-eye coordination tenfold.

My hermit now comes out of his dungeon almost every day in order to fly his plane. He laughs and giggles, runs with a spring in his step, and shows signs of his pre-teen self. I guess you could say he has taken off but this mom is not ready for him to fly the coop just yet!

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