THE BLOG

A Parent's Primer To Minecraft

07/20/2013 11:05 EDT | Updated 09/19/2013 05:12 EDT

2013-07-19-Minecraft_Skin.jpg

Do you have a child between the ages of seven and "I-stopped-counting-after-the-third"? Did you also make the huge mistake of giving them access to electricity? Do you provide opportunities for that child to have social contact with other human life forms? Do they shout random terms like "Butter!" and "Creeper Lava Diamond Pig!" even before you give him a dose of Benadryl on the drive to Gramma's house? If you answered "yes," to any of these questions then it is likely you know my pain. My gigantic, cubic, vertigo-inducing pain known as Minecraft Mania, or "MM" for short.

Note: If your child has not yet asked you to download this game, you should close this window, find your family's passports, and make immediate plans to relocate to North Korea where Internet access is sketchy at best. WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE?

MM has been going on at our house for some time. I first became alarmed when several friends inquired as to the prognosis of my child's "medical issue." I was confused until I realized that every time they saw him, he appeared to be attached to the wall by an electrical device charging plug, thus giving them the idea that he was on dialysis of some sort. The truth is that he lives with constant fear of a dead iPod, because something - something - Zombie - Pigman - Diamond - Sword - BUTTER!

My son awaits Minecraft updates with more anticipation than he does Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Because those guys -- meh. Board games and chocolate eggs have nothing on TNT and crafting tables. My nine year-old cannot be trusted to flush a toilet, but he can build a city better than a Mayan aristocrat, and that's what will matter instead of pesky social graces when trying to secure a life partner.

We have a problem with MM you guys, and it's sweeping the continent. It's not even the game itself that forms the crux of the issue. I'm pretty strict with my kids about the games they can play and in researching Minecraft I've come to understand that it can be a great learning tool. Players get to be creative and tech-savvy, and they can build friendships with unseen online players in damp basements all over the world. Minecraft also allows parents to have alone time to get dinner made, or a pile of laundry folded, or have sex with a partner who doesn't require batteries. Nope; the real problem is this, and it's approaching our house faster than my neighbours with a "cut your lawn" petition.

There are only so many synonyms for "cool" and if my calculations are correct, I'm due to run out at 7:16 p.m. on June 28, 2013. Which, as the cruel fates would have it, is the last day of school here. I cannot spend eight weeks of summer showing continual awe over TNT and lava explosions without compromising my already fragile mental state.

Let's help each other. Here's a list I've compiled in case you've exhausted adjectives feigning interest in Minecraft:

  • awesome
  • neat
  • wow
  • nice
  • impressive (non-beginner parents only, please)
  • rad
  • interesting
  • hmmmm
  • mmmmmm
  • mmmmmm-hmmmm
  • FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST I SWEAR TO YOUR HOLY ENTITY OF CHOICE YOU BETTER GET THAT IPOD OUTTA MY FACE OR I WILL RUN IT OVER WITH THE CAR WHILE YOU WATCH AND I WILL LAUGH DOING IT.

Sometimes you can get away with using a term more than once if you alter the inflection. (But be careful -- I went too far turning "cool" into the three syllable "kewwwwl" and lost street cred with my son's Minecraft gang. Related: Guess who found pee all over her new bathroom mat?) I will also warn you against pulling any smart-ass moves like using words that would appear in a freshman college paper. Words like "fascinating," "riveting" and "enthralling" are best left to the pros, lest any sarcasm seep through. You can try "nifty" and "cats-pajamas, ole chap!" but only if you take blood pressure medication and could pick Slim Whitman out of a line-up.

I don't ask for help often, but I am calling in all favours now. Hit me up with your terms and coping strategies parents, because if you've got a Minecraft kid, I know you've got some tricks up your sleeve (and also probably some tear-soaked tissues).