Leading up to Christmas of 2009, when the Short Kid was nine, he started begging for an iPod Touch. I had one and his big brother had one, and he wanted one too. His dad said no. SK made all kinds of arguments has to why he should have one. Dad said no.
When I pointed out how much SK used mine, how adept he was with it, and how careful he was with it, Dad started wavering. Then I started nagging about the fact SK getting his own meant I could have mine back. Dad relented and Santa brought SK an iPod Touch for Christmas.
In the year-plus since, the Short Kid has never been far from his Touch. Every morning, he pulls up his weather app to check the temperature. If it’s over ten degrees, he knows they’ll have recess and he needs his snowpants. He reads the news apps and Wikipedia. He loves the Dictionary app and Word Warp and the GeoBee. Oh, and Angry Birds.
Toward the end of last summer, some friends of ours stayed at the campground and their son had a Nintendo DS with a Mario game. SK came away from that weekend convinced that he had to have a DS and, of course, that he was the only child on the whole planet who didn’t have one. When November rolled around and he was still asking, we bought him a Nintendo DSi XL for his birthday.
After a frustratingly brief honeymoon period, that was the end of that. I’m not sure he even knows where it is right now. Despite the cost of the DS, this doesn’t break my heart. Why? The games. Buying a decent game for the DS will set me back $30-40 or more and it might hold his attention for two weeks. Most of his iPod games were free or 99 cents. And there’s often a lite version which lets him try before we buy. He’s got a couple of pricier ($10?) flight simulators, and I think I paid $5 for Civ Rev and Oregon Trail, but I knew those were solid games he wouldn’t lose interest in. I think all of his games (except the simulators) might add up to less than the cost of a newly released DS game.
And it sure makes it easier when family members ask what my boys want for their birthdays or Christmas. Give SK a $10 iTunes gift card and he’s in present heaven. That’ll get him a few games and a couple of songs, or maybe a more expensive app Mom’s too cheap to buy him. (TK knows the iTunes password, but SK doesn’t. He brings it to me for purchases and updates.)
Because I decided not to upgrade their 2nd & 3rd gen devices to iOS4 after doing so to my 2nd gen resulted in massive battery nomming, we’re starting to find apps his Touch can’t run (and iTunes tells us so) so he has a few games on my new Touch and the iPad. And, even though they’re pricey, TK will probably get a new one in July and SK for Christmas. With all the things the Touches do, from games to educational apps to…anything and everything, I can’t see us buying a dedicated handheld gaming system ever again.