Tag Archives: Minecraft

April 3, 2015

I’ve been feeling bad for Theo this week as it hasn’t been much of a Spring Break for him sitting around the house with an under-the-weather mum and a bit of a cough. He’s had a couple of nice play dates this week, has mastered his pogo stick and has been doing a bit of reading and homework too, but much of his time has been spent glued to his computer screen. I can’t help remembering a winter break a few years ago when he and I were both sick with a cold and I couldn’t send him to camp or ask someone else to look after him. I had a deadline to finish writing a book, so I let him watch movies while I struggled to write. At the end of that week, he uttered words that I’m sure no other parent has ever heard: “Mummy, you’re making me watch too much t.v..” I already felt physically awful; that comment made me feel like the world’s worst parent. This week hasn’t been that bad for Theo. Although he has undoubtedly spent way too many hours on his computer by my reckoning, he has been pretty creative, playing various versions of the video game Minecraft, watching Youtube videos and uploading videos onto his own Youtube channel (which he’d like me to promote, so https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFbXdyqQrvRsZNY6Nn5cpJA).


Today, however, I wanted to have some quality time with him in the real world, so I suggested we go to Barnes and Noble and return a book he didn’t want, buy a new one and then get some crepes for lunch. With some reluctance, he extracted himself from his game and we headed for the bookstore. The book we were returning was a Minecraft one that he’d bought a few weeks ago and then decided he didn’t want to read. Unfortunately, the cashier told us we were too late to return it, so we discussed what we could do with it as we headed up to the kids’ book section. Maybe we could give it away to someone we knew or even a stranger, perhaps some kid who happened to be at the Minecraft section. As we stepped off the escalator onto the top floor and turned towards that section, we saw a familiar face. It was Theo’s buddy Quinn, with whom he’d been scheduled to have a play date earlier this week, but we’d postponed because he’s particularly vulnerable to bronchial infections. Theo’s face lit up and for a few minutes the two boys quickly caught up on their weeks’ news, mostly about Minecraft. Sensing an opportunity, I showed Quinn Theo’s book and asked him if he’d read it. He hadn’t, so Theo gave it to his friend, a happy moment that we later called a nice “Quinncidence.” As Theo also suggested this be my Giveaway for today, I offered to buy him another book, and fully expected him to choose some other Minecraft or fantasy book. But instead, for the first time ever, he didn’t want anything and we left the store empty handed, both apparently satisfied with our little reverse shopping trip.


February 1, 2015

Last November I got a new laptop for my birthday and decided to give Theo my old one for Christmas. (No, this doesn’t count as a giveaway because it was last year and the object stayed in our house!) I asked our good friend Lyle, who is a computer genius, to transfer my data from the old to the new laptop, which he did for us very quickly. But, because it was for a Christmas present to Theo, he wanted to make the laptop as good as new. Lyle spend many, many hours cleaning up the hard drive, updating programs and he even meticulously cleaned the keyboard so that the computer looks brand new! All of this he did for us free of charge, which caused me to start believing in Santa again, just as Theo has given up! Theo was very impressed by the shiny new laptop, but unfortunately he couldn’t run his favorite game Minecraft on it, so I had to ask Lyle to work on it one more time. Last week, he spent many more hours working away on the laptop and when I went over to pick it up, we tested Minecraft on it and it worked. I knew Lyle had saved the day.


Today, when I was in the bathroom, I heard Theo exclaiming, “I love this computer!” Not only is he able to play Minecraft on it, but he has also been able to play an upgraded version of it and download a Pokemon modpack for it (It’s ok if you don’t know what that means – just know that Theo is very happy!), and he can’t wait to show his friends. Again, Lyle performed this technological miracle for us free of charge, because he was determined to make this laptop work for a young lad who loves to play on computers. There is very little I could offer from my closet to give Lyle in thanks for this incredibly generous gift to Theo and to us. Over the years, Lyle has taken his computing skills with him to China on a number of occasions, his partner is Chinese and he has supported many Chinese students in their studies here in the U.S., often providing them with board, and he often has Chinese guests in his home. I asked him if he by any chance needed a rice cooker and offered him the spare one I had bought after the fire to use until our belongings were cleaned. I was thrilled when he accepted it, and said he’d use it for sure. On so many occasions now – for David, Theo and me – Lyle has so generously given us his time, energy and expertise to raise the technology level in our home. The least I could do is save him some time preparing dinner by making his kitchen a little more hi-tech.