Walk down the hallway of any maternity ward and you'll hear the beeping of a multitude of machines accompanied by anguished cries of pain. If you had walked into my unit, however, you would've been surprised to find the beeping coming from a videogame and my anguished cries caused not only by contractions, but from the near misses and hard-fought victories of the videogame I was playing. Videogames are a part of my everyday life, and my pregnancy did little to change that.
The Baby Registry
Before the baby shower, my mother and sister "strongly suggested" that we register somewhere. The local Toys "R" Us seemed like the logical choice, so we made an afternoon of it.
During the registration process, a sales representative asked us to specify the baby's room décor. "Space Invaders," I said. My husband loved the idea when I suggested it, and we'd already bought the wall decals at Home Depot. The clerk looked up at me quizzically and asked, "Is there a color theme?" "Not really," I said. "They're mostly bright primary and neon colors. She looked at both of us and, still unsure, typed in "Space Invaders," then moved on.
After we were entered into the system, she gave us a scanner and let us loose in the store. All we needed to do was scan the items we wanted, and they were automatically recorded on the registry. Excellent! This is where the fun started.
We walked around and took care of the basics: Thermometer? Check; Diaper Genie? Definitely need that - check; Very cute dinosaur pajamas? Check. We then decided to venture out to the main part of the store where all the good stuff was - the toys!
There are some great videogame options for kids available, including systems by LeapFrog and VTech. We added the V.Smile Baby, a console for children aged nine months to three years, and looked forward to teaching our little one the joys of gaming. It's funny that she might be gaming before she can walk or talk!
Of course we went into the electronics department to check out the new games, but I fear we freaked out the young salesclerk there. I don't think he'd ever seen anybody with a baby registry scanner lurking in his section before. I was at the DS section, scanning in Rayman Raving Rabbids (yes, a game for me, but indirectly it would be for the baby because I planned on playing it during labor). He was watching our every move, and I thought for sure he was going to call security on us.
Packing the Hospital Bag
In every pregnancy book, they tell you to pack your hospital bag well in advance of your due date just in case you go into labor early. They also include very detailed checklists of things you should bring with you, like your birth plan, favorite music and a camera. First on my list were my laptop and DS, including which games I would bring.
I'd done a bit of research on how games are being used in children's hospitals to help their young patients through painful treatments and illnesses. The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto has great information for parents on easing their children's pain. One of the things they suggest is using videogames as a form of distraction.