Pinball Wizard.

I don’t always talk about it, but there are a number of obsessions my son recycles over time.  I wonder, at times, whether they are cyclical or random.  For a time, I thought certain obsessions were season related but that theory has been debunked around here.  I have no idea what triggers a return to a past interest for him.

Right now, he is going through his pinball phase.  Lucky for me, the “purchase” phase of this little hobby is fairly well exhausted.  We’ve bought “Puppy Pinball”,

these little toy pinball games over the years (Spongebob was the newest),

Pinball for Wii, and, most popular, the apps for the iPhone and iPad:

Fairly harmless interest, right?  One would think so.  But you see that app on the left there?  The one that says Pinball HD?  That’s really a bunch of pinball games that includes, for example, this one:

Believe it or not, AC/DC is a fairly mild pinball table comparatively speaking.

Mostly, Tootles will play the Wild West table, which prominently features a bank robber.

Tootles loves the bank robber.  He has no understanding of what a bank robber does or how he does it.  He just likes the Wild West theme and saying “yee-haw”, so this table is his favorite.

Now, Tootles, is a smart child, and by smart, I mean, manipulative.  Since long ago when I received a huge bill from iTunes for his repeated download of several items that cost around $80 (which I subsequently got refunded), I have signed out of iTunes after giving him an app or download that I have approved.

Except when I forget.

And he knows I forget.  So, he purposely has deleted several apps (one at a time) and then asked me to reinstall them.  Early on, I was puzzled about why he was deleting some of his favorite apps.  I thought, hmmmm… he must’ve accidentally deleted it.  And so I would reinstall them.  And if he caught me at the right time for him, (in a rush, wanting to pee in private…etc.) I would forget to sign back out of iTunes after the download was done, leaving him a gateway to untold app riches for 15 minutes…

After he deleted some of his favorite apps, several times, the old “mom-ster” finally caught on.  I’d find this or that bill for 99 cents or $1.99.  Rather than get frustrated, I had to give the little guy credit for outwitting me and chalk the cost up to my own fault.  I’d have to be more careful.

One day, though, before I’d completely learned my lesson, I found Tootles smiling and laughing, quietly playing by himself for far too long.  I didn’t know what was keeping him so content and me so free to do as I wished without interference.  (It had probably been at least 15 minutes by then…)  I was suspicious.

It was then I learned he downloaded a new Pinball app to his collection.  This one:

Yes, my talented little Christian school boy downloaded Slayer.  I deleted it.  He reinstalled.  I deleted.  But by placing so much attention on it, I was only heightening its appeal to him.  He has absolutely no concept of what Slayer is.  There is no teaching him that information.  It does not compute.

So, I left it alone and he became uninterested.  Until the obsession came back into focus recently. Slayer still makes its appearance.  In the game, there is a shout of “I want blood!”, Toots thought he was shouting “I want blue!” and would repeat the mistake over and over as a script.

Lately, Toots has been asking me about Massachusetts.  “Mommy, what’s Massachusetts?” (not where, of course)  For the longest time, I could not figure out where he heard about the state.  I knew it had to be a script from somewhere.  When we’d be driving down the road, his Team Umizoomi would be on the DVD player while he played with his iPad and he’d randomly shout out “Massachusetts!”  Naturally, I thought somehow he’d heard about the state on Team Umizoomi.

Then, about a week ago, there was no TV and he was playing on the iPad.  He yelled out “Massachusetts”!  I saw that he was on the Slayer pinball table.   I have to admit that foolishly, at first, I thought, “Wow, there is some value in that.  He learned Massachusetts from Slayer?  I guess it’s no so bad after all.”  I felt redeemed.  Perhaps, I wasn’t such a terrible mom after all.

Until yesterday, when I heard the actual words that were being said.

Much like “I want blue!”, Tootles misheard what was being said.  It was not “Massachusetts”.  It was “mass suicide.” Oops.  My bad.  Time to delete again.

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About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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7 Responses to Pinball Wizard.

  1. Flannery says:

    Oh no!! I didn’t realize my kid was getting so savvy either, until I found him on the Netflix app on the Ipad. We had to slap those parental controls on there real quick. But, like you, it’s an issue of remembering to reset them after we used it, which is sometimes a problem.

    Tootles is too damn smart for his own good. On the bright side, maybe you can work this into an educational spring or summer trip to Boston?!

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh, my! Glad it came out as “Massachusetts”…but, yeah, time to delete that one.

    Tate’s been known to download his favorites, too. We have a few bug smasher games for him. Those kids…too smart for our own good!

  3. 1. I’m with Tootles I really like to say Yee-haw too.
    2. WTH? when did pinball get so nasty? that is almost as annoying as those horrible people who do inappropriate voice overs on kids cartoons and post them on you tube for kids to find. GRRR…

  4. savvyadvocatemom says:

    I know how all that goes. I just wrote a post about using the restrictions function. I have to have my kids leave the room when I enter the codes and I have to keep the ipad with me until downloads are complete. We had lots of trouble with YouTube and internet access as well. Those smarties keep us on our toes!

  5. Allie says:

    HAAAAA! Cam loves some Slayer pinball!!!! My husband is a serious old school gaming fanatic, especially pinball. He keeps trying to talk me into letting him buy a machine even though we have no room for it. He built his own arcade machine that has thousands of games on it. It’s insane!

    I have the restrictions set on my iPad so that no one can add or delete except for me.

  6. Wow! Tootles is a sneaky little guy! Talk about innovation! I’ll have to keep my eye on Henry – he’s taken to the games too, but has yet to figure it all out. 🙂

  7. Mary says:

    Always have to be 2 days ahead of them, don’t we? 🙂

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