Sometime in the early 2000's, an older cousin in the family handed my boys a shoebox full of yellow cards with imaginary animals on them, called Pokemon. The boys were little - maybe 3 and 5? For almost ten years, Trevor and Andrew traded the cards back and forth and had daily Pokemon battles. They got new Pokemon cards in their stockings each Christmas. I remember that Trevor's favorite Pokemon was jigglypuff and Andrew's favorite was squirtle. In fact, that is why I called him psquirtle for years.
Okay I still do. Moving on.
Somewhere in the file cabinets in my brain I also remember that a squirtle evolves into a wartortle and then again into a blastoise. Please don't ask me what that even means in the game, but I'm pretty impressed that this data still exists in my brain. High fived myself just now.
So, when the new PokemonGo game app was released this summer, I downloaded it for the boys right away. (Still shocked it was free!) Once they were back from their dad's, it was ON.
[For the Nana reading, let me explain: PokemonGo is a free, virtual game that is played using your cell phone. It is structured much the same way the card game was a decade ago. There are hundreds of these little imaginary animals, each with certain powers and worth different amounts of points. The goal is to collect as many as you can or want of your favorite kind. When you stand near someone else playing the game, the animals can battle and do fun things. The Pokemon are broadcast using a fancy GPS that randomly makes the Pokemon appear near your location, and you can "catch" them using your phone.]
While it is a game and is certainly "screen time", I love that it's gotten kids out of the house and moving. Entire families are enjoying it because you can join teams in the game and battle Pokemon together! It's not sitting on the couch or killing zombies, so for me, that's a plus. And I have to tell you, watching the boys plan Pokemon stops and talk about point values and Pokemon evolutions brought back a lot of memories for this (at the time) boy mama. Watching them sitting together without whining or punching is also lovely.
And then another strange and wonderful thing happened: my husband was too intrigued to resist Andy's pleas to, "Turn left! Right there is a pidgey! Wait, go back there!" and he downloaded the game for himself.
They've gone on several Pokemon hunts together. Bonding time and all. Hey, quality time is sometimes unexpected, but all the time awesome.
This is also why I typically do the driving now because he sits in the back with Andrew, Hayley, and Trevor and catches/battles/evolves Pokemon while we drive around town. The giggles are awesome.
The most exciting Pokemon hunting area here is in a large park downtown. We made plans to go as a family and after Trevor drove us down there (yep), everyone but Mabel and I scattered in search of rare Pokemon. Moo and I climbed the rocks around the waterfall.
Andy counted 60+ people Pokemon hunting on our side of the park. He was definitely in his element. Team Mystic!
Even Hayley Noelle has gotten in on the action, leveling up 6 times in about a week. Her brothers have taught her well. Mabel just watches because yo, she's not old enough for a cell phone with data.
Love my Pokemoners.