Aside from the TV, the fascination with electronics has got to be a Venus and Mars thing. Sure, there’s a certain thrill when you’re standing there playing “Message in a Bottle” on Guitar Hero in front of the adoring masses (four, including my brother, my husband, my son and little G) who are encouraging you with rip-roaring
Honestly, I think Ian bought the Playstation just as much for himself as for L. When I’m blogging after the kids are in bed, he’s spending quality time with his “Need for Speed” or whatever next generation shoot-em up game. The shooting game is reserved for after hours, for Dad, and Dad alone.
Well, we just brought home Brain Age and Brain Academy courtesy of my brother, for Nintendo DS. I figured at least we could expose the Boy to something pseudo intellectual, some brain exercises shall we say. But to be completely honest, it was really more for me.
Since being at home with the kids for a couple of years now, I feel like a part of my brain is atrophying. Not being faced with clinical data to digest, not having to deal with departmental budgets; not having to make decisions in tight timelines, or forecast milestones to meet marketing objectives; not having to negotiate with health authorities, conduct performance reviews ... blah, blah, blah … not having to do any of that in a while, has made my brain feel soft. Mush on some days.
The other night, I asked L to show me how to work his game. Boy did he get excited … something he could actually teach his Mom! He did so gladly, demonstrating “Brain Academy” first. I couldn’t believe how quickly he handled the stylus on the screen, how the jargon just flowed out of his mouth about which buttons to press and when. And then the game came on. I tell you, there isn’t much more humbling than having your 7 year- old shout out the answers as to which animal is heavier compared to the other, based on various pictures of animals on see-saws. He was answering them faster than I could even discern one coloured creature from the other. One … no wait, now two, no … there are three see-saws!!! Accccckk! So encouraging he was though, giving me a well-intended, “Good job, Mom!” before he packed it in for the night.
As soon as he got into bed, I grabbed the DS again to try “Brain Age”. On comes this computer-generated, obviously Japanese fellow, who will be my master, my tutor, my sensei, as I embark on this new journey of training my brain. His bobbing head is what gives me the instructions for each exercise.
First we get the brain age check. Apparently, the ideal age is 20. How realistic is that? I remember what I was like at 20 … but then, this is about mental gymnastics, so let’s stick to that.
The first test asks you to say the colour of the word you are about to see. The trick is that the colour of the word, may not match the actual word itself. You have to say the colour, not just read the word. Operative word here is “SAY”. Well, how difficult could that be? So I touch the stylus to the screen, wait for the countdown… and we’re OFF!
First few colours, not a problem, as I speak them (feeling somewhat ridiculous, even though it was just me and the TV in the room) fairly clearly into the … air? I don’t even know where I’m supposed to be talking into. Smooth sailing, until the word "YELLOW" came up, when it obviously didn’t compute my "BLUE" response. The words “Try Again” popped into the screen. And then again, every time I tried to answer, RED, BLACK...."Try Again”, “Try Again”. After about the fifth time it didn’t take, I’m yelling at the black device in my hand, “BLUE! BLUE!, dammit, f*%kin’ BLUE!!!!” (remember, kids are in bed? A bit of a hothead, type A freakazoid mom when they’re not around).
Well, after that there were a couple more math and sequencing tests and I guess my Asian math genes pulled me out of the water. Brain Age = 36.
Well, well, that just ain’t good enough, nope. Still younger than I actually am but nowhere near good enough. It was the distractions of the household, yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket.
So the next day after L left for school, and after I dropped off the girlie to preschool, I came home and picked up that little black box that beckoned me, taunted me … and after about another half hour of training, I tested myself again.
Verdict: Brain Age: 20.
That was my brain. Now if only I could get the black box to do something with the rest of me.
Don’t tell L-sterI told you this but, yeah, I get it now. The DS rocks.