First off, it’s not what you think.

Second, if you know me, then OK, it may be what you think.

One of the things Tron likes to do recently is take a trip with me into the basement, a privilege he recently lost for 2 weeks, but that’s a different story.  Anyway, he likes the basement because it’s got different toys, a sleeping bag, and the Nintendo.  Right now, of all my various electronic gadgets, the Nintendo is the only one I allow him to touch, primarily because the number of buttons and potential for damage are the lowest.

Typically our forays into the basement have a set pattern.  We go down there and he plays with his small plastic slide for a while, then pulls out his basket of toys, sprays them around the room, then sends each one down the slide one at a time.  This process, which I call Stage 1, takes about 30 minutes and Tron is adamant that daddy not help with the task at hand (making a huge frunking mess).  Attempts to help with the “drop things down the slide” game generally end up with me being scolded in Tron’s gibberish language, so I’ve learned to back off and let him play.  This usually ends with me flipping on the Nintendo and playing 30 minutes of Dragon Warrior while waiting for stage 3.

Stage 3 is where it suddenly becomes daddy time and usually involves wrestling, playing with blocks, naming all the animals in his ABC menagerie (a word I’m surprised I can spell correctly on the first try), and playing with/tormenting the cat.  Apparently, so long as it doesn’t involve the slide, my input to play time is desirable.  I guess slide independence is the first step towards getting to college or something.

Between Stage 1 and Stage 3, each of which are about 30-45 minutes long, is Stage 2.  Stage 2 is about 5 minutes long and occurs when Tron has finished dumping all his toys down the slide and is now getting ready for actually wanting me to play with him.  He notices that I’m playing with the glowey-box and holding the rectangle with the buttons on it.  That won’t do at all.  So, he climbs into my lap and steals the Nintendo controller.  He then proceeds to press random buttons for about 5 minutes.

He doesn’t really understand the concept of video games at his age, more he’s just looking to make the TV make neat sounds.  He’s realize that pushing the buttons often causes the TV to make sounds in response, so he’ll press them in random sequences to try to get different sounds.  This often has the game character running into walls, talking to grass, or casting the odd heal spell on himself.  However, on Sunday I was in the middle of a dungeon run when we hit stage 2.  Usually getting to stage 2 during such a run involves Tron initiating a battle while running around and then getting my character killed by doing random, non-useful things in battle.  On Sunday he managed to get into a battle with a skeleton and then kill it by managing to mash the right button.  It probably would have been a greater accomplishment had he not been using  a character that I’d been beefing up across about 40 half-hour stage 1 sessions, and if he knew what he was doing.

Even so, I’m glad he didn’t get me killed.  Then it was onward to Stage 3 where he pulls me out of the chair, pulls me down to kneeling, and then tackles me.

And, after all that, there’s the less popular stage 4, which involves me continually telling him to clean up his mess, which he does grudgingly 1 toy at a time while screaming his frustration at me that I’m not doing it for him.  Stage 4 can last as long as the first three stages added together depending on how stubborn he wants to be.  And he can be immensely stubborn.  I do so enjoy stage 4.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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