Chapter 7: Daddy vs. Nancy Drew
So, I saw this game online that looked interesting. Nancy Drew and the Haunted Carousel (and to make it legal, it’s by HER Interactive, available now, online at www.herinteractive.com).
Anyway, I could get a free 1-hour trial. I like mystery games, so I thought, “Why not?” Long story short, I ended up buying it. The girls (the older 2) saw me playing it one time, and as usual, begged to play what I was playing. At first I said no. But, as only kids can, they broke down my resistance with their non-violent, psychological methods. The primary technique used, which is not taught in any class, but is somehow genetically imprinted into the psyche of the little people who range in age from “just learning to talk” to “finally moved out, got a job, and my own place to live”, is Repetitive Petitioning.
Notice the base form of the question: “Daddy, can I play your Nancy Drew game?” Again, it’s not taught in any class but somehow they instinctively know how to do it: they slightly altar that question each time they ask it. Let’s start with the base question again, and work our way from there.
“Daddy, can I play your Nancy Drew game?”
“Daddy, when can I play your Nancy Drew game?”
“Can I play your Nancy Drew game now, Daddy?”
“Daddy, please can I play your Nancy Drew game? Please?!?”
“Daddy, you know what I would really like more than anything else? I would really like to play your Nancy Drew game, please?”
Notice, also, how manners (i.e. “please”) is instinctively injected as their pleas turn more desperate. Interesting, is it not? Now, because I have a 7 and 8 year old, I had the begging times 2. Actually, in this case, it felt more like begging2.
So, I thought about it. I’ve read a few of the Nancy Drew books with them. Nancy doesn’t swear, doesn’t dress provocatively (but always fashionably), is a good friend, is smart and determined, is not too interested in boys, doesn’t believe in ghosts or monsters, is non-violent, and last but not least, adores her father. The game was pretty much the same way. The carousel isn’t really “haunted”, and it’s not really scary. And there’s even a “Junior” mode for younger players. So, I considered myself soundly defeated, and let them play. Oh, poor Daddy, if you only knew then what I know now.
“Daddy, what does this mean?”
“Daddy, what does that mean?”
“Daddy, I don’t understand this.”
“Daddy, can you help me?”
“Daddy, can you please help me, please?”
“Daddy, you know what I would really like? I would really like you to help me with the Nancy Drew game.”
That’s right; all new questions begin, yet somehow sounding so familiar. They liked the game, sure enough, but they didn’t have a clue about using the resources given in the game to solve puzzles. I think, maybe, the amount of reading was a challenge for them. And, the games they’re used to are primarily motor-skill games (using hands and fingers) instead of using their minds for deductive reasoning and logical thinking. So, in one way, it was actually a good experience for them. And, I got to spend time with them, helping them learn how to think and deduce for themselves.
Sure, it was trying at times, but they enjoyed themselves. And since I liked it, I waited, looked, and found a deal at Best Buy where I got 4 more Nancy Drew games as a bundle for $20. Yeah, I felt good: $5 a game, which normally sell for $20 a piece.
(Sorry, no longer at Best Buy, but you can get it at www.half.com, Amazon, etc.)
But since I had waited a while before buying them, the passage of time had rubbed from my mind the endless questions and the begging for help.
So let’s please end this post, please!
You know what I would like? I would really like to end this post now. Please!
I’ve beaten all four games. The younger has made it through 2; the older, 1 ½. Through this Month O’Nancy, there has been: arguing and yelling between the girls, sometimes hitting between the girls (one insisting on helping the other when the other doesn’t want to be helped), incessant begging for help, incessant whining for help, spells of crying in frustration and hopelessness when I couldn’t help right away, and to top it all off, endless petitions to play the last two games. Enough was enough, and I declared no more Nancy Drew games until after school is over! That will buy me some time while still giving them hope. Surprisingly, they accepted that without argument (at least to me).
Nancy, dear Nancy: I love ya, but who knew you could cause a father early ulcers and thinning hair that was already so thin, it’s almost non-existent?
I like to call this one “Cute Birthday Wishes to Mommy!” Who knew cake could be so exciting!