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Tale of a new Gamer Dad: Sleeping Dungeon

April 6, 2012 Leave a comment

There will be many trials when you’re a new parent.

Other parents will give advice but when it all comes down to it, you have to experience everything yourself.  There is no equation on how to be a perfect parent.  Each circumstance will be unique. One cannot tell someone what being a parent is like.  It’s like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, one must travel up and see the light themselves to understand.

If parenting was like gaming, then it would be like a massive Role Playing Game where you battle the world and all that is evil and hope to teach your child to live right.  But before you can begin to do that, your child relies on you 100% of the first few years of her life and this will be the hardest training exercise ever.  Man has persevered through the centuries while the weaker animals have become extinct because of our ability to endure the first few months of parenthood.

My daughter is going to be one year. Our second child is on the way in August.  Things will only get more complicated.  In the first year of my daughter’s life, I learned that changing diapers is not as difficult as I anticipated.  The sleeplessness is something I could never have imagined.

This blog was started out under the pretense that I am a lifelong gamer and as one grows older responsibilities mount and it’s harder to find time to game.  Never has this been more true then with fatherhood.  Fatherhood is a treasure and I enjoy my weekend mornings with my daughter under the shade of the trees at the park, far away from my gaming devices.  I cannot help to feel most alive during these moments.  There is nothing I would rather do than spend time with my daughter, but let’s also be realistic, babies do sleep and nap and these are the times when people start to get back to their hobbies.  The first few months are impossible as you are dedicating all your time to late night feedings, but then your baby starts to sleep through the night and sit up on her own. This gives you chance to pursue some of those things you did before you became a parent.

I love reading books, playing guitar, writing, and gaming.  I pretty much stuck to these few items.  I gave up gaming until dawn, playing baseball on Sundays, and the luxury of sleeping in until mid-day like I assume Link would do if he wasn’t saving Hyrule.

So if there was a Parenthood RPG, your first task would be to build your character and acquire energy, stamina and special powers like “story-telling” or a “comforting and a sleep inducing voice.”  Once the baby arrives, the parents are drained from these powers, but those who persevere and see the beauty that is their child growing up quickly before their very eyes, start to use these parenting abilities, but it’s a never ending struggle.

I’ve been playing Zelda:Skyward Sword lately and my favorite character has to be the man who is married to the lady who sells potions and has his newborn on his back in an ergo carrier.  If you visit him at night he also has the daunting task of putting his fussy baby to sleep.  I knew I had to help him.  Me and him are brother in arms, (Arms that rock babies to sleep).  We both come from the same army of dads who have to endure the late night rocking of the sleepless baby.

Zelda Dad

Out of the bunch of mini-games available Wii Party, there is one game where you rock a baby and if you don’t keep a rhythm, your baby will not sleep.  Unfortunately it is not that simple.  This is how my baby rocking experience goes when the parent steps into the Baby Rocking Dungeon, don’t bother searching for a map or key, it’s you against the boss, the “Sleepy baby that refuses to sleep!”

I walk into the room and she is turning. Her body is twisted and contorted.

Her eyes are closed but her cries are increasing in volume.

I stare at her and hope that perhaps she’ll feel comfort in the fact I am now awake with her,

She cries and begins stretching out arms,

I pick her up and she instantly quiets down and closes her eyes.

Her body relaxes and I look at the clock to mark the time.

I tell myself, “give her five minutes of the rocking motion and then set her down gently.”

I rock her back and forward, I walk about the room in a random pattern to simulate perhaps a car-ride which has proven to induce sleep,

She moves herself from her head on my shoulder to the reclined position and is now cradled in my arms, which facilitates putting her down,

I lift her up ever so slightly so she clears her cradle, she opens her eyes sightly as she senses a shift in her gravitational pull.

As I begin her slow decent towards the mattress, she arches her back and lets out a scream!

A heart goes down on my health meter to indicate I’ve been beaten,

I pick her up and mark the time so I can decide when to set her down again.  The Cycle continues until finally the baby is breathing heavily and both her arms are heavy.  This means you’ve solved the puzzle on how to get her to sleep.  You set her down.

She lets out a little peep and slowly turns over and sleeps through the next 6 hours.

Warning: If you attempt to set her down too early, there is a chance she will completely wake up and then you’ll have to be up another hour or so instead of enjoying the sleep reward.

Good Luck Gamer Parents!

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