My kids are really big fans of Minecraft. If you don’t know what that is, go have a boy and you’re certain to find out. It’s a computer world-building game, intentionally low-res, and you wouldn’t think it’d be of interest to anyone until you sit down and start playing with it. 90 minutes later, you’ll look up from the mountain hideaway you just finished building and realize with a start that you’ve spent the better part of your evening acting like a four year old. Then you’ll go back and put a battlement on your mountain hideaway because, and let’s be serious now, you simply can’t have a mountain hideaway without a battlement.
The funny thing is, my kids were fans of Minecraft before they even knew what it was. My six year old (turning seven in a few weeks) had heard kids at school talking about it, and although he only knew that it allowed you to “build stuff on your computer like LEGOs”, he knew that if his friends at school liked it, he did too. His younger brother, four years old, liked it simply because his brother liked it, and his brother is never, ever wrong (unless they’re engaged in a death-battle over a LEGO Star Wars character, and then he’s always wrong).
I swear, if I got my eldest son to say something good about auto-erotic asphyxiation, the four year old would fall in line instantly. “Yay! Otto-roddy fishy-ation! I want otto-roddy fishy-ation for my birthday, daddy! I LIKE otto-roddy fishyation!” Four year olds are real fucking idiots that way.
When I actually went ahead and installed Minecraft on the kids’ laptop, however, they took it to another level entirely. If they weren’t playing Minecraft (which they always were, except sometimes I demanded that they play with something else for the sake of variety and turned off the laptop), they were building LEGO models of the buildings they’d created in Minecraft. That’s the kind of obsessive, borderline-maniacal devotion you normally associate with mental patients or maybe Star Wars fans, but they’re little kids, so let’s be charitable and say that they’re just really enamored with Minecraft.
Let’s switch gears for a second. When I moved this last December, I had to begin slowly replacing pieces of furniture I’d left behind. The boys really needed a dresser, but since they have drawers in their bunk bed, they had to wait until other pieces of much needed furniture were replaced first. This month, though, they were set to get their dresser. A day before I got it, I was in the store and stumbled across… Minecraft posters! For five bucks!
So the last couple of evenings were spent assembling their dresser and putting up framed Minecraft posters. When I was done, I began to look forward to showing them their “new” room when I got home from work. I mean, I really looked forward to it all day. I love it when little kids totally lose their shit with excitement. There are few more rewarding feelings in the world.
But instead of making a big announcement, and marching everyone upstairs, I played it cool. “Hey, can you do daddy a favor?” I asked my four year old. “I left my… uhhh… iPhone in your room. Can you go get it for me?” Now, the opportunity to play with Daddy’s Forbidden iPhone of Mystery was too great an opportunity to pass up, and so he violated his long-standing policy of not doing anything that didn’t involve candy or Minecraft, and marched upstairs.
Six Year Old: Hey, your iPhone is in your pocket!
Me: Shhh! Listen!
From Upstairs: (high-pitched squeal, approximately 47,000 octaves above high C)
The Dog: What the fuck is that?!?
My youngest son came tearing down the hall to the top of the stairs and yelled to his brother something that sounded like, “Wee-wee-wee-wee-weeeeee-weeee-WEEE-WEE-WEE-WEE-WEEEEEEEEE-WEEEEEEE! WIGHT NOW!!!” and then turned and ran back to take another look at his room.
His brother, of course could tell by the excitement in the air (if not the pee trickling down his brother’s pants) that Something Was Up, and ran upstairs to take a look, with me right behind, grinning from ear to ear.
4 Year Old: (arm outstretched to showcase the room, Vanna White-style) Wook!
6 Year Old: Minecraft! OH YEAH, BABY! YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!!!
Me: You got a dresser too, you know. That huge brown thing under the posters?
4 Year Old: Minecraft, Minecraft!
6 Year Old: Cool! Cool! Cool!
4 and 6 Year Old (in unison): Thank you daddy!
Me: You’re welcome. Now, remember…
4 Year Old: I love you, daddy!
6 Year Old: You’re the best daddy in the whole world!
Me: Well, naturally, but…
4 and 6 Year Old (in unison): Yaaayyy! Woo-hoo! (etc.)
So that went well. A half an hour later, when my four year old informed me that he hated me because I asked him to go sit on the potty, I hardly even heard it.