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How Being a Good Loser is Easier Said Than Done

Trouble

Have you ever played the game, Trouble? I’m the blue guys in the above photo. My 4 year old son is yellow. If you are familiar with this game you will know that I am getting destroyed in the match pictured. I couldn’t roll a 6 to save my life and he was swimming in 6’s and letting me know about it with an NFL style happy dance as they popped up.

Cute, right?

WRONG! As much as Daddy loves to play games with the kids, there is still that competitive fire that creeps in every now and then. That voice that calls out, “C’mon man! You used to be an elite athlete and now this kid is running all over you. Do something!” I’m not exactly sure what I was supposed to do in this instance, aside from yelling, “Look! Mickey Mouse!” while opening the dice container and placing it on a 6, but it was definitely a frustrating round.

Before this story gets out of control, I should point out that at no point did I let my son in on the fact that my head was exploding with the desire to pick up the game and throw it out in the snow, where I could then pretend that our snowman wanted to play with it. I’m not a monster, after all. The snowman, on the other hand…

I grew up as a competitive person and it has been the thing that has driven me for years. In sports, at work and even with blogging, my competitive nature is what pushes me to want to be better at everything I do and it’s not something I regret having. Now that I have kids, however, I need to work at finding the balance between competitiveness and fun. I wish it was something I could just turn off but it doesn’t seem to be working out that way. We played Mario Bros just last night and even though we were playing as teammates, my son’s need to get all the mushrooms, paired with his ability to stand directly in front of the television so I can’t see my guy, brought back memories of when I used to just smash my controller on the ground and then find something else to do until my parents bought me a new one.

Ironically enough, typing this post has given me a lot of perspective on the issue because, well, look how ridiculous it sounds while you read it back. It’s relatively easy to teach kids to be respectful and gracious when they lose at something but it’s not always easy to teach ourselves new ways of doing things. I’m working on it though and I’m definitely enjoying myself more and more as I suppress the need to win against my toddlers… It’s a good thing they can’t read our minds, that’s for sure.

Do you ever get the urge to flip the Monopoly board or turn off a game of MarioKart in mid stream? Please share your thoughts in the comments so I can feel better about myself.

Cheers!

Super Mario For A Day Courtesy Of Costume Discounters

I was thrilled to be contacted by the fine people from CostumeDiscounters.com to see if I’d like to review one of their products.

Clearly, as a Dad blogger and the owner of adorably cute children, they knew that my kids would look great in any of their costumes.

Unfortunately, they didn’t know that I am also a lover of wearing costumes, so I threw them a curve ball and ordered one for myself! Here’s the proof:

I have to say, the costume showed up in record time and all in one piece. My dealings with the fine folks at Costume Discounters were nothing but spectacular and I absolutely recommend them for all your costume needs!

Back to me for a minute though….I wanted to really test out the costume so that my review reflected the product and wasn’t just lip service to a client. I decided to test it out to see how it worked in real life situations.

You know, things like pretending to drive while playing MarioKart on the Nintendo Wii:

I also put it to the ultimate test by making dinner for my family. Spaghetti, a Mario specialty! From scratch too!

The costume passed all other tests it was given and is still in tip top shape and ready for my son’s Mario party next weekend. Seriously, I’m using it to entertain all the children at my son’s birthday party. Don’t worry, I’ll post videos!

In all seriousness, everything at CostumeDiscounters.com is of the highest quality and I dare you to find a place to get your costumes for a cheaper price (making your own doesn’t count!). For real, if you find an identical costume for less on the net, they will match the price AND give you an additional 20% off!!

Make sure to check out their Facebook Page for more great deals and information.

Thanks to the staff at CostumeDiscounters.com for providing me with the costume in order to facilitate this review.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have a long day of plumbing ahead of me and I’m out of here! (I think that’s still Mario’s profession…)

Cheers!!

Not Even Spider-Man Can Stop My Kid

I’m not even sure where to start this one because it’s a bit emotional and funny all in one event.

My son’s birthday party is going to be in a couple of weeks. I can remember last year, we threw him an Ernie birthday party and he loved it. I asked him what kind of party he wanted this year and he immediately answered “MarioKart!” with joy.

What?!?! How do you go from Ernie to MarioKart in less than a year?

On one hand it’s cool because I get to goof around with a bunch of video game stuff. On the other, I want my little boy back!!!

That brings me to our most recent event.

My son was just invited to his first “drop off your kid and leave” birthday party. He is 3 years old but soon to be 4.

You can forget about the fact that the party was just across the street at a neighbor’s house because it could have been on the moon for all I cared. The point is that my little man is growing up, and quickly!

The neighbor’s kid was turning 5 and was having a Spider-Man themed party, with a special visit from Spider-Man himself (very popular right now, the character shows up and runs games and stuff).

My son does NOT like people in costumes, so upon hearing this, I feared the worst.

Sure enough, I got a phone call from the neighbor about 30 minutes in, asking if I could come over and comfort my son, who was freaked out by Spider-Man. After some calming words to my delirious concerned wife, I ran over to hang out.

I tried to explain to my son that it was just a guy in a costume and that he had nothing to be scared of. Obviously that didn’t work, so we came to the agreement that if I went home and got his Spider-Man costume, he would stay at the party and take part in the games.

Excited to feel needed again, I raced across the street, Spidey suit in hand. Daddy saves the day!!

It took a few minutes for him to rejoin the party and he clung to me for another 10 like a shirt that had gone through the dryer without a Bounce sheet (you know what I mean, shut it).

Eventually I felt comfortable enough to leave him but figured he wouldn’t take part in anything until Spidey was gone.

Well don’t you know it, sometimes when left to fend for themselves, kids rise above the odds and make you the proudest parents in the world.

Here’s the photo I got from the neighbors, 15 minutes after I had left.

Very proud Dad upon seeing this picture. Almost as if I had said or done something to ease his mind about being at the party. Now if he would please stop growing for a couple years, I would very much appreciate it!!

Is there a moment you realized that you were losing your toddler to boy/girlhood? Share it with me in the comments so I can feel better about losing mine :)

Cheers!!

Dads, Kids, Video Games and Animal Awareness

There’s something about being a man that instills in me a need to excel at video games. I’m not talking about a specific genre of video game or gaming system, I mean that I feel the need to excel at EVERY video game I play.

So it was no surprise that I found myself wanting the same for my children, especially my son, who is now at the age where he is showing a lot of interest in them.

It began with some iPhone puzzle games and then evolved into an Angry Birds obsession that was beyond comprehension. My daughter started wanting to play too but she mostly just stares at the birds on the screen and laughs when they make noises. I have no expectations for her as far as gaming goes, it’s stereotypically a male thing anyway.

Now before I continue, I want to point out to all the parents who think letting your kids play with electronics is bad, that I am a dedicated father who loves to play things with my kids other that video games. We are an outdoor family who loves sunshine and snow alike but sometimes we also like to enjoy a good video game too, so back off!! LOL.

Back to my son, he recently saw a friend playing Mario Kart for the Nintendo Wii and decided that he wanted to play too. He’d seen the Mario box at our house but never knew what it was until that day. He started asking about it but I figured at 3 years old, he probably wasn’t ready yet. I lasted about 2 months before caving the other night and on went the Wii.

Had I known the reaction this monumental event was going to get, I would have started videotaping sooner but better late than never I guess. When I said yes, Luke began running around in circles like a maniac, shouting “Mario, Mario, Mario!!!!” His sister followed suit except her shrieks sounded more like “Mayo, Mayo, Mayo!!”, of course we knew better than to give her a cup of mayo. Even trying to explain the chaotic scene, there’s no way to properly do it justice.

Now, I understand that Luke is only 3 years old but when a video game starts, a man tends to lose control of his regular brain functions and turns into a modified version of a young boy. Common sense doesn’t apply and the competitive side comes out in full force. So on day 2 of playing Mario Kart, I fully expected my son to have figured it all out and to be crushing the computer Princess in every race. This was not the case.

The reality of it is that he has no idea what he’s supposed to do and just likes playing with the Wii steering wheel that came with the game. I think the fact the he has his serious face on is what throws me off, as it looks like he ‘IS’ Mario and wants to win at all costs. In reality, that’s the type of focus kids portray with most things they do and it took everything in my power to not yell “You have to turn there man!!” or “”Shoot the Banana at that guy!!”.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and I took some time to enjoy watching the gaming experience through his eyes. I even found out that we must be doing something right as parents because Luke stopped driving the Kart at one point to let the cartoon cows cross the road, explaining that he didn’t want to hurt them.

Point is, when he eventually figures out that he’s losing the game, he’ll probably get upset about it and I’ll lie and tell him it’s just a game. For an adult male, playing video games, there’s no such thing as “Just a game” because if it was in fact just a game, we wouldn’t be playing it. We eventually to get too old or too fat to do anything else well and this becomes a place where we can excel at something into our later years.

Don’t believe me? Ask my wife about my journey through all the Call of Duty games. Ask my Mom about her experience living with my gamer brother. As the saying goes, “You can’t take the boy out of the man”.

Do you have a funny gaming story? Share it below in the comments and don’t forget to do the Facebook/Twitter thing if you liked this post. Thanks for your continued support!!

Cheers!!