The other day I was looking up something on the computer when I came across one of the craziest things I have seen in ever so long.
It was the offer to play a new game on the Internet. This is what the ad said:
The type of person who would play this game in the first place undoubtedly is inquisitive, loves children, innocent, compassionate, wanting to share the world with little ones and has a brain that is not yet fully developed. They want experience to guide them when they are ready to start their own families. How quaint.
The game will probably clean up the whole parenting experience and make it look like it is fun – because no one would voluntarily put up with runny noses, diaper rash, hearing the phrase "mine, mine, mine," 2,000 times a day, deal with failed toilet training and taking away the sacred ba-ba, repeated bouts of the flu every time the temperature dips, strep throats, temper tantrums, and separation anxiety unless they were bound by the threat of legal action if they didn't.
I thought about the idea of people playing at parenting to ready themselves for the real thing. Nothing they do or imagine will make it any better in the real world. Nothing remotely describes the feeling of being totally responsible for someone.
Maybe they think that if they are able to muddle through the infant and toddler years, surely it will get better as time goes on. Ah, yes. The dreamer. Obviously they have never gone down the cereal aisle at the grocery store with a 6-year-old.
I can't argue that childrearing might not be better if you are twice removed by a computer screen and the child actually being alive. One of the best things I can say about it is – It beats being on the business end of a teacher's tirade about your real live child's inappropriate sharing of family stories and passing gas in the classroom to make the other kids laugh.
The real house would stay clean and quiet and stress-free with virtual children. The trade-off is coloring Easter eggs at the kitchen table, seeing that look when your real children catch on to a math theory that they have been struggling with for most of the school year, listening to all of the day-to-day goings on at summer camp, the look in your real live kid's eyes when they talk about their first love.
Virtual children would never dream of saying, "Night, guys. I love you. Oh, and by the way, I need 26 cupcakes for the party at school tomorrow. "
I say for the sake of future generations, Never ever allow someone who has not had children yet to play this game. Once these people have seen what all is involved in virtual childrearing, which is definitely the cleaned-up version, the chances are pretty good they will not be willing to do it in the real world.
The only real and honest advice I can give these adoptive parents of virtual children comes not only from me, but from generation after generation of real parents.
Just wait until you have children of your own.
(You can reach Janet Good, Somerset, at any time of the day or night simply by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)