Tenacious C

No, this post is not about Jack Black’s musical alter ego, Tenacious D. This entry is actually about my tenacious Chloe.

Earlier today, the first morning after receiving her no-TV-for-three-days punishment, Chloe played games on the computer. One of her favorite sites is Funbrain, which is supposedly educational. And some of it is indeed minimally pedagogical.

Anyway, she decided to make her way through an “arcade” of different games, where you can’t move on to the next game in the series until you’ve conquered the current game. She was proceeding along nicely until “Mighty Girl.” The concept is cute enough in theory – a young girl draws a pencil cartoon in her math journal, and the cartoon comes to life for the game. Mighty Girl has to overcome obstacles by running past them, jumping over them or ducking from them. Chloe hit a roadblock. She couldn’t get past the third screen and was growing increasingly frustrated at her inability to finish.

But the thing is, with Chloe it’s never just simple expressions of frustration. It’s always accompanied by tears, yelling (specifically, that my computer “stinks!” – which, I am ashamed to admit, she learned from me, because I can’t stand our laptop), banging and lots of tears.
Yet, she would not give up. I told her to play a different game. “But if I don’t finish this game, I won’t be able to move ahead in the arcade.” I told her to take a break from “Mighty Girl” and try it again after school. That reasonable comment earned me a scornful glare. When none of my words of wisdom calmed her down, I resorted to threats: “If you continue to act like this, not only will you be grounded from TV for 3 days, but you’ll also be grounded from the computer.” That didn’t help much, either.

I even tried the game myself. But I was never very good at video games, and I thought this one was just plain stupid in its execution.

With minutes to spare before my having to plead with her (yes, it makes me crazy that I have to plead with her at all) to stop playing and get ready to walk to the bus stop, and after what seemed like 1,000 “Mighty Girl” fatal injuries (the character gets crushed by loose, rolling wheels, among other things), she conquered the game. I was pretty impressed. Not impressed with her behavior, mind you. But fairly amazed by her ability to work through the tears and master the game.
She’s started to ask me about Nintendo Wii, but I say, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

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