At Least They Are Getting Along

English: A Nintendo DS Lite, shown with stylus.

English: A Nintendo DS Lite, shown with stylus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, truth?  I didn’t want to write this post.  There are others bumping around in my noggin, jockeying for a chance to come to the forefront and have their stories told.  But this one?  I just had no choice.  Why?

Because It’s All My Children Have Been Talking About.  For Days.

During our summer adventures we had weekly trips to run errands with a huge side helping of fun with friends of ours.  As this was not our average “run to the grocery store” trip in length, my crew was very happy that their friends brought along their electronic game players and two to share.  They could all play the same game together (I have no idea how), which made it really fun.  So much so that my oldest pulled her game player out for the first time in a long time so she could play along.  That was lots of fun to listen to from the driver’s seat.  The laughter was near about intoxicating.  Happy children often makes for a happy Mama.

So I guess it’s only natural that the littles have decided that they want game players of their own.  They have gone through every possible scenario in their minds–big sister will give us hers and she will buy herself a new and better one, we will each get one for our birthdays, we will each get one for Christmas.  And then being assured Aub wasn’t letting go of hers, and deciding that Christmas was too far away, they decided to save money for it.

They’ve asked me if they can do things for pay.  Our Princess carries her change pouch EVERYWHERE just in case we are somewhere that she could purchase this name brand electronic contraption for a song and a dance and probably $2.52, all in pennies and dimes.  But mostly pennies.  It has been interesting to hear the planning and plotting of my two littles.  For one thing they are getting along.  That has been REALLY nice.  They are problem solving and working together.

A snippet of tonight’s conversation:

“Mama she (Princess) said she’d buy the games and cases if I (Cooter) buy the devices.  Isn’t that a good idea?”

“Well, buddy, sure, but where are y’all getting money from?  You have no money.”

Princess piped in. “Yes we do.  I have my purse and I have been saving money FOR THREE YEARS.  And he has his school bus bank.”

“Yeah,” said Cooter proudly. “I have about one hundred and three cents!”

Yeah.  That sounds about right.  Don’t judge, people, money skills are next semester.

After explaining to him that the total was only about a dollar,  I found myself looking at an undaunted child.  They are determined.  Another snippet:

Princess: “Hey Cooter, if you come keep me company, I will buy the devices and let you buy the games and cases.”

“Okay.” And off he went.  Happily.

Oh my.  I got no idea y’all.

But it works.  They haven’t fought about anything really since joining forces.  Well except for him taking apart a Lego minifigure that she’d built.  But that is so minor it hardly counts.  It has been really nice.  And when they put their heads together and come up with what they think is the perfect plan, they clap and get so excited.  I confess I look forward to hearing each new plan.

So what do I do?  Should I be upset that they are pretty close to obsessing over these things or should I admire their dogged determination? I don’t want my children to become electronics junkies.  We’re already headed towards that path.  (But is it really a problem if they are begging to watch Gilligan’s Island in the car? Really?)  I have to limit their screentime and then work on not sitting in front of one of my own so much.  Easier said than done.

On the other hand, I know part of the reason they want their own is that they want to capture some of the fun and adventure of the time they spent with their friends this summer.  Riding up and down Highway 247 in the van, playing all kinds of games.  Together.  And that’s the other thing.  Their greatest excitement about getting these devices is that they can play the games together.  And that does make me happy.  That my children want to be together, play together.  That is huge.  The fact that they are all piled up in here with me right now, snuggled together looking at a book, talking about their favorite movies, and laughing together…..that is more than I hoped for.  Getting along, yes.  Wanting to be and do things with each other, priceless.

I don’t know whether they will wind up getting their devices, and if they do, I don’t know when.  But I do know that I will savor every minute of listening to them all planning and talking and having fun together.  The joy of just being together.  The gift that lasts a lifetime.


Why I Love My Kindle But Not an E-Book

I love my Kindle.  I do.

I appreciate that I was given this really generous gift by my family.  I love having the fun and educational “apps” that my children enjoy when we have long waiting times.  (Like today at the Pediatrician’s…..and then again at the Pharmacy.  Long waits.) One of my favorite features, that I was not aware of initially, is that I can email files and e-books downloaded on my computer to my Kindle and read them there.  Excellent.  I have purchased educational workbooks from websites and sent them to my Kindle, which is so much easier to use with my children than reading them on the computer.  I have even sent my own word documents to it for later use.

A luxury.  That’s for sure.

For a while after I first got the Kindle, I checked a website or two for the free book downloads of the day.  Mama and I enjoyed comparing notes and talking about our “finds.”  Then I realized I was cluttering my Kindle up with books that I might or might not read.  So I stopped.

But one thing I do love is being able to download the first chapter of a book free as a sample–to take the book out for a spin so to speak.  Download, check it out, then delete if I don’t care for it.  If I do, I usually put it on my wishlist.  But things were different when I downloaded the sample chapter of this one:

pic of kindle book

And I loved it.

It was the first book I could really get into since Mama died in February.  If you don’t love books, “get into” probably sounds a little odd, but if you do, you know what I mean.  I was turning e-page after e-page and it was really, really good.  Then I came to that dreaded message that told me I was at the end of my free sample, but I could purchase it for immediate download by clicking {here}.  After a brief pause and comparing prices (it was cheaper as a Kindle download), I clicked that magic box: “Buy It Now.”

It was not without guilt.  I felt guilty getting the book, and I sure felt guilty over that instant gratification that I was giving in to.  Getting something on a whim like that?  I wasn’t raised that way.  We were taught to think through things and sleep on it before we did just about anything.  So yeah, this was a little out of my comfort zone.  By the time I continued into the next chapter two minutes later, I had pretty much chastised myself sufficiently.  And moved on.  Ahem.

It was a brilliant read.  I loved it.  It was like old times, flying through the pages, trying to sneak time to read–if only for a few minutes, even reading under the covers after lights were out.  I loved this book.

Uh oh.

That’s when I realized what I’d done.

I bought a book.  On the Kindle.

That I couldn’t share.

I hate it when that happens.

One of my great joys in life is sharing a book with friends and family.  I love thinking of just who would love the book, and I offer it with the caveat that it is okay if they don’t like it.  I learned that a long time ago from one of my aunts.  She and her very young grandson were talking about a movie that he loved.  She said she really didn’t care for it, and he was shocked and confused.  She told him that it was okay for folks who loved each other to like different things.  I like that, and it’s true.  So I pass along books I love, but it’s okay if my friends and family don’t love it too.

But this one?  I knew of at least four family members who would LOVE it.  And a couple of friends.  But there it sits, locked up tight inside this electronic rectangle, never to be shared or sit on my shelf reminding me of the great story inside. Very, very sad.  How’s that instant gratification feelin’ now? *sigh*

pic of book

Today my Aunt returned this book, “Ghost on Black Mountain,” that I’d shared with her a very short time ago.  (She’s a quick reader, that one!) I was overjoyed to hear that she had loved it as much as I had.  It’s a haunting tale, no pun intended, and now I get to share with her my excitement over the author’s next book coming out in September. Shared joys are the absolute best.  I can’t wait, and we can share that book too.  (And I’ve already put this one in a pile to take to MessCat’s house tomorrow.  I think she will also love it.)

Maybe I’m just too old-fashioned for all of this.  I think I’ll go back to my old ways.  Download sample, read it, and if it’s good, check with our locally-owned bookstore and then on-line.  And wait.  There’s something to be said about the good in things you have to wait for.  As the old song goes, “Anticipation…..”