Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Things We Do For Love

Willingly participating in something humiliating is nothing new to me. I dare say it becomes a natural part of life for any parent.

We (parents) have all made silly faces in public in order to try and avoid a temper tantrum. When you think about it, it’s hard to imagine any human being sinking lower than the act of wiping excrement from someone else’s rear while telling them they are special. Singing Wiggles songs, while long in my rearview mirror, is not a part of my life I’m particularly proud of, although I’ll be damned if I didn’t nail those tunes and bear a striking resemblance to the original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page who, for the record, is not dead, but simply had to leave the group due to a non-life-threatening illness that made performing extremely difficult for him. You can stop spreading the rumors now.

For all the ridiculous behavior parents will stoop to performing, there are things that we swear ahead of time we will never do. These are the most dangerous because it hurts your pride even more when you suddenly and unintentionally find yourself doing the exact thing you swore you never would.

Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. I have yet to willingly listen to a Justin Bieber song. I did, however, let my sons purchase a video game for the Wii that I never thought I would allow into my home.

Kids get to experience independence and valuable social development when they go to their friends’ homes to play. It’s always a nice thing to hear from a fellow parent that your children are behaving themselves and acting politely without you around to constant remind them to say please and thank you. The drawback is that the random, meaningless rules that you try to make them obey, like never saying the words “Green Bay Packers” (I’m mad at myself for even writing it just now), or pausing for ten silent seconds at the mention of the name Boba Fett, are not guaranteed to be enforced.

Case in point, video gaming in my home is meant to revolve around blowing things up, solving puzzles or defeating maniacal would-be world dominators, preferably clad in spiked tortoise shells. Should music be involved, it is to be rock music. It is certainly not to include dance music and the object of the game is specifically not to be dancing.

Alas, while at several different friends’ homes, my sons had occasion to play Just Dance 2. Instantly, it was cool to hold a Wii remote in one hand and mirror the moves set forth in front of them by the virtual dance instructor as if they were in a fiendish cyber-step aerobics class, forced to perform in order to generate energy and fuel for the evil master supercomputer that had enslaved the human race.

The next time we were at Target, they decided they wanted to buy it. I conceded, but only because they were using their own money saved from First Communion and a birthday. My pride was somewhat in tact. That was soon to change.

After hearing the same three songs over and over form my basement, I decided to go down and take a look to see what this game was all about. In an effort that was purely about getting them to change the music, I agreed to dance for one song with them on the agreement that I would get to pick the song. Several songs later, my wife and I were both sweating and I was rejoicing in the fact that my score was the highest of the four.

I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, standing there in the pink bunny suit, hoping nobody would happen to see me and spread the word of what I had just done. Of course, nobody needed to because my wife started talking around the neighborhood about how much fun Just Dance 2 is and how, who would have thought, that her husband (that’s me) happened to be really good at it. You should see him.

So, yes, I played an embarrassing dance game on the Wii with my kids. But no, I won’t be displaying my hip shaking prowess for anyone else to see. At least not until I get in some more practice sessions.

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