#28daysoftshirts – Day 17 Gamer Pride

Gamer Pride!

I’ve always loved rainbows. I loved them as a promise and a sign of hope. I love them for their color and variety of hue. I’ve loved them even more since they’ve come to represent acceptance, love and the brilliant variety of humankind. The rainbow of colors reminds me of all the people I love for whom that flag means welcome. I think of this as my gamer pride tshirt, and like to wear it in dice-related circumstances.

Color: Black
Fabric: Soft
Design: All standard gaming dice in a rainbow of colors

Why we have children

Role playing in paradise
Role playing in paradise

When I was pregnant, I used to joke with people that we were having kids so that my husband would have a built in gaming group constantly available. Anyone who has ever been with my husband on a quiet evening and seen the glint in his eyes and he pulled out a dice bag and asked who was up for a Cthulu one shot knows that I wasn’t really kidding.

Still, kids have had more of a dampening than enhancing effect on our gaming life. Our weekly game has survived (the fourth kid has recently been added to the table in the person of a wee little boy born on Christmas Eve), but… well… let’s just say that Adam missed Gencon hotel reservation because he was picking up a sick kid. If anyone has an extra spot in a Gencon hotel let me know. He’ll only be there from midnight to 7 am.

But lately the kids have been getting old enough to do some real actual gaming. Grey is a full on reader, and pretty patient with games. What Thane lacks in literacy he makes up for in spacial reasoning genius. I refuse to play the game, but I bet he’d whup me in Ricochet Robot.

Adam has been playing games with the boys for years. He’s taught them to roll dice and simplified systems. He’s drawn maps and created compelling npcs with silly voices. Grey has played “Eric of the Golden Sword” for years. Thane calls his 1:! game with dad “Lord of the Rings” (it’s not).

On the plan to Cozumel – in which tropical island I currently find myself – Grey read a 7 page Fate rulebook. (Reading a rulebook cover to cover puts him one up on me…) And right now, on the front porch, Grey is running a game he’s been working on all day. There are puzzles and NPCs and monsters and props. Thane and Daddy are sitting with the GM, enjoying the story. Grey is doing a great job – I’ve played in worse games than he’s currently running.

Adam may not have been waiting for this QUITE his whole life. But he has been waiting for it all Grey’s life. Let the gaming begin.

Grey at 6

October is a busy month. Pretty much everyone has a birthday in October. So I’ve spent the last few weeks running around like a chicken with her head cut off. (Brawk!) In the brief gap between birthdays and Mocksgiving, I thought I might actually (gasp) give you an update.

As indicated, my sons are both now a year older! So I thought I would tell you about who Grey is at six years old.

Grey's kindergarten school picture
Grey's kindergarten school picture

First, the facts. Grey is in Kindergarten – the second oldest kid there – with Mrs. Carrozza. She is a delightfully experienced, take-no-prisoners model of a Kindergarten teacher. Grey is 46 inches tall (3’10”) and weighs 45 lbs. Perfectly balanced now, in not too long he’ll tip over into more pounds than inches for the first time. He has reddish hair, the only blue eyes in his class and a little red mark on his right cheek.

Grey’s favorite things right now are Collectible Card games (Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh – doesn’t really matter), DS games (he’s particularly enjoying Pokemon Soul Silver and Scooby Doo First Frights), and Kidz Bop music. He likes to read and reads everything around him, but prefers to stick to picture books. He’ll read a chapter book if you get him hooked, but he’ll rarely pick one up and tackle it himself. He’s spending a lot of time drawing detailed narrative pictures and labeling them appropriately. He adores Legos, and will build extensive Lego edifices. He never likes to break them up, so they linger in piles around his room.

Grey has also started telling intricate and often compelling stories. Last weekend we went hiking in Octobrish woods, exchanging spooky stories about what lurked in that pond, what was buried under that stone, and who we just saw vanish into a hole in the ground. Grey got really into it, telling terrifying stories with aplomb and timing. He’s at that delightful period of imagination after all sorts of possibilities have been introduced to the mind, but before you start living by the tropes and unwritten rules that so often govern grown imaginations.

He also has already put on his Gamemaster hat. I gave him his own set of dice for his birthday. Just like his father, he has a gaming notebook full of dungeon maps and notes. He’ll walk a party through the labrynth, usually with many explosions and all-powerful devices and incredibly rich rewards. It’s very fun, and a joy to watch. I imagine a day some day a few years in the future when Grey is running the “kids game” in the kitchen while we play the “grownups game” in the dining room.

Examples of Grey's work
Examples of Grey's work

Grey does aikido once or twice a week. He has a yellow belt, although sensei threatened him with its loss if he didn’t remember all the yellow belt techniques. Grey took the threat in the productive way, and spent all week working on tsuki kotegaesh with his father. Grey did swimming lessons all last winter and through the summer at summer camp. He can paddle around ok in the water, although I would not consider him a strong swimmer. I have no intention of doing swimming lessons again this winter. Getting them in conjunction with summer camp works out very well for me, thanks! He’s an excellent walker and hiker. We try to walk to school at least once a week, which is .7 of a mile. He’s gone on walks of nearly 5 miles in length in the past.

At Sunday School, Grey is really learning and paying attention to the teachers. He retold the whole story of Isaac and his sons the other day. He’s a bit rambunctious in combination with the other boys, alternating as a follower and a leader in their light mischief.

Grey dislikes being alone, except in his room during quiet time. Whenever possible he will be wherever other people are. He refuses to brush his teeth at night by himself, even if he has to sacrifice story time and even if I’m just a room or two away. He’s quite independent skills wise: he will set the table by himself, work on his homework, put away his clothes, feed the cats, brush his teeth, etc. But he will not do these alone.

Grey is particularly fond of cute things. He has a collection of stuffed animal friends who are not lovies, but who are treasured for their cuteness and relationships. They are, with hardly any exceptions, named AnimalName-y. So we have Puppy and Tigry and Liony etc. He also like cute people. One of his favorite people is the year old son of friends of ours, whom he dotes on as adorable. (Which, by the way, is totally true.)

So far, Grey seems to get along well with others. He has friends at home, at school, at church and at afterschool. He seems to make friends pretty easily. He doesn’t have one single best friend forever, but had plenty of people he wanted to invite to his birthday, and plenty of them came. He and his brother have started playing in more intentional ways, although Thane will still drive Grey nuts by taking whatever toy Grey’s playing with, or knocking down their shared block tower.

When I asked him how he would define himself, he said, “Grey is the person who loves.” Also, “Grey is the one who makes new friends, and visits his old friends.” Those are some pretty awesome things. (He would also like to tell you that one of his cats is stinky. It’s true!)

By the way, I recently posted a bunch of our pictures. You can find them here:
Late October 2011

Breaking news

So rumor on the street is that there’s a worldwide shortage of FUDGE dice caused by the emergence of a Dresden Files game using the mechanic.

I’m happy to say that I was cool and using FUDGE dice years, YEARS before the bandwagon fans did. My house is well supplied with FUDGE dice, as well as enough D12s for a whole HORDE of barbarians.

D6 gold, baby
D6 gold, baby

We have an unreasonable amount of dice. Grey could correctly conjugate die/dice by age 2.


In slightly less geeky news, batch 3 of plum jam is popping away on the counter. It still looks darker than last year’s magic batch. I wish I knew what varietal it was. I’m pretty sure these aren’t damson plums, and from what I’ve read I may have to track down some damsons for yet another batch, because they sound awesome.

Grey brought one of his Star Wars books to school today and read it to his class. I wonder if he pronounced the “r”s? It’s funny what even an open-minded parent like myself won’t put up with.

OK. Dice shortages and yet another jam update. That’s a sign that I should leave you all to your sweet dreams!