Poképarenting Journal - An Introduction

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

Being a parent is all sorts of weird. When you're a kid, you generally think that your parents have it all together and know what they're doing. Let me tell you: we don't! Parenting is a constant tension between hoping you know what you're doing and super not knowing what you're doing. At the end of the day--and I mean, literally, at the end of each set of 24 hours--if all 4 members of my family and even my 2 cats are upright and breathing, I consider it a success.

My primary hobby is video games, which adds an interesting aspect to parenting. When my daughter Cory, the older of my two kids, was a baby, I could hold her on my chest asleep while I played whatever game I wanted. Funny thing with kids, though, is that they grow up and start to observe. Eventually, when Cory started to take an interest in what was on the screen, I had to curate my gaming a bit more. Games with excessive violence, or even cartoon violence to some degrees, were out. Certain parts of Zelda games had to be played after her bedtime because they would be too visually offputting. Games with voice acting were risky to play in front of a kid with listening ears but without a developed sense of when and where you're supposed to avoid certain words. Curating my waking-hours library eventually led me to playing a lot of Animal Crossing, Mario, and, of course, Pokemon.

My personal Pokemon journey started on Saturday mornings on WB Kids, riding the wave of the first Pokemania in 1998. My first Pokemon game was Yellow, which I thoroughly devoured and still hold dear to my heart. (One could even number it as number 74 on a list of top 100 games. Hypothetically.) The Pokemon numbered 151, many of the mechanics of the game were still being developed and discovered, and there were only three games to play. Not only was life simpler as a 6-year-old, but the Pokemon series was just eminently approachable.

Now? How in all the world do you get a four-year-old kid into Pokemon now? There are dozens and dozens of core games and spinoffs, and literal hundreds of Pokemon to learn and get familiar with. I, the parent, know all about EV's and IV's and held items and abilities and hidden abilities and base stats and type charts and critical hits and the list goes on. Where do you start? This little blog series is going to be an exploration of that journey.

The simplest answer I've found it to just let it happen. My daughter watched me play Pokemon Sword, so she got interested. She found my old Pokemon cards and thumbed through them. She thought Milotic was pretty, so she fell in love. She liked that Sableye had gems for eyes, so she became loyal. I got her a card binder of her own. She wanted to play a game where she could catch Milotic and Sableye, so I gave her Alpha Sapphire. She is now Hoenn's champion, and she has discovered that she hates Pokemon evolution because they become less cute. I've spent a lot of time farming for Everstones while she's asleep.

Just letting it happen has worked. She doesn't know that there are 898 Pokemon--in fact, to her, Pokemon have no finite number, because there's always more to discover. What I saw as daunting, she sees as exciting. She's learning that fire burns grass, but grass absorbs water, while water puts out fire. She's learning that psychics are apparently scared of the dark, and that it's hard to punch a bug. She can open the menu and switch her Pokemon around. She can feed Sylveon Pokepuffs over and over and over again. When she watches me make my way through my current Black 2 Nuzlocke challenge, she asks why I play with my "special rules." She doesn't like the special rules, because sometimes I have to knock out a cute one instead of catching it.

It's fun guiding someone through her first Pokemon journey. The experience has reminded me of the innocence that this game has at its core; the overblown drama of Dexit and the controversial design decisions of the Gen IV remakes mean nothing to her. She just likes the cute monsters that shoot fire and blow stuff up with their minds.

Every now and again I'll post about a specific aspect of Pokeparenting here on the blog. For now, I'm letting it happen. It's pretty great.

Pokeparenting Journal: The Games

Pokeparenting Journal: The Cards

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