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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Houston... Wii have a problem


I have done a lot of hard things in my life.  I had to stand up to the neighborhood bullies (in the neighborhood I grew up in there were several (and I think they worked in shifts to make sure every hour was covered)).  I learned how to divide and multiply fractions (a skill that is coming in handy when helping my oldest with her homework).  I have even had to be in the room while my wife was giving birth. (Side note on the child birth experience... That is one thing that looks COMPLETELY different on TV than it is in real life.  Don't get me wrong... it is a beautiful and wonderful thing... in theory.  I'm just gonna leave it at that.)

But I survived all of those and many more things with only minor scars (minus the whole birthin' thing.  It takes a lifetime to measure the full effects of this one). I have even learned to take some of the proverbial lemons and make some proverbial lemonade.  And in some cases, I have taken the lemons, sliced them up a squeezed them into some much nicer drinks!  Those cases are rare but they do happen.

Now more recently, I have undertaken something that, at first glance, I thought was going to be easy.  I was mistaken to the nth degree.  I have 2 equations for you: E=MC(squared) (I would have put the little 2 in the correct position but apparently the equation is too tough even for blogger.com) and the other equation is HB+Sy@b+Sy@f+LGoB=X.

The first one is Einstein's famous Mass-Energy Equivalence theory.  Basically, the theory states that Energy (E) is the product of Mass (M) times ((the Speed of Light (C) times the Speed of Light (C)) in a vacuum).  Now see how easy that was?  And even if you don't get it you will soon get the point to what I am writing about.  You wouldn't think of trying to explain this equation to a 4-year old.  But I promise you I would have had more luck explaining THAT to the 4-year old than the second equation.

Here is the second equation explained: HB+S@b+S@f+LGoB=X.  (It's a lot scarier on paper than it is in real life.)  That stands for Hold the B-button + Swing your arm back + Swing your arm forward + Let Go of the B-button = Strike.  For those that don't have a Wii, that is the simple formula for rolling the ball in Wii Bowling.  At least I thought it was simple until I tried to get my 4-year old to understand it.

We had a blast with the boxing game.  Just punch left and right as fast as you can.  We even had fun with the baseball game.  All you do is swing your arm to throw and swing your arm to swing.  She didn't hit the ball, BUT WHO CARES!?!  It was fun.  Wii laughed.  Wii played. Wii enjoyed ourselves... until...

Wii Bowling!!!  There was a lot of WHOOMP!  That's the sound of the ball not being "rolled" properly.  There was a lot of "I can't do it, daddy!" That's the sound of a 4-year old getting frustrated because she keeps getting the WHOOMP sound.  Then came a lot of "Let's just play something else!"  That's the sound of daddy giving up on the second equation because he is tired of hearing the 4-year old say she can't do it when she keeps WHOOMP sound (OVER and OVER and OVER again)!

Now I did my due diligence.  I tried every possible way to explain how the bowling thing works.  It just wasn't sinking in.  She had the swinging arm part just fine.  It was that stupid B-button!  It was digging grooves in both of our souls (for different reasons, of course).  My only solution to this problem was to hold her hand while she was bowling.  This made her go all Exorcist on me.  She couldn't understand why I was showing her how to swing her arm.  She had that part.  But I was trying to explain to her that I had to move her arm so "Wii" could press and let go of the B-button at the right time.

Finally, that sank in.  Wii were bowling in no time flat.  A strike here.  A spare there.  It was great.  But this created another problem.  She decided that she wouldn't ever try on her own.  I had unknowingly become her right arm. So when I wouldn't help her there were even MORE "I can't do it" daddies than ever before.  Daddy had to help her or this B-Button would defeat her.

This story has a happy ending (sorta).  We defeated the evil B-button!  It took a while but the deed was done.  I would like to think we were better people because it but in the end it was just a game on the Wii.  For some reason, however, I personally feel that I have given her another tool to be successful in life (she can add that lesson to THIS one as well as THIS OTHER one).  It's like teaching her to tie her shoes... only electronically... and with a Wiimote.  OK. It's not really like teaching her to tie her shoes but this is my moment.  You look at it how you choose to.  But in the end she will never be afraid of the B-button or any other button for that matter.  And I will always be able to look back at this shared moment and say that Wii did it.

But next time... I'm teaching her physics.  It has no B-button.