My son had to stay home from school a couple of days this week, on account of a nasty cough and some silly rules about not sending your kid in when he has a fever. Honestly, that school is so rigid. Anyway.
Most of his days were spent laying on the couch, reciting entire television shows and the commercials.
On the second day, he felt well enough in the afternoon to ask if he could play on the computer, and I acquiesced. You see, for Christmas, both of my kids received Webkinz animals. (Not from me. From me they each got a few sticks and a couple of rocks and a Test Tube Alien. Obviously.)
If you’re as oblivious as I was until recently, and don’t know this phenomenon, Webkinz are little stuffed animals which come with a unique keycode to allow the owner to enter the online Webkinz world. Online, your Webkinz comes to life. There’s a variety of ways to earn Webkinz Cash, and with it kids can expand their pet’s house, dress them (my daughter’s elephant favors a ballerina outfit), feed them, and generally spoil them rotten.
My son, being the younger of my kids, doesn’t get a lot of play time with his Webkinz. He will allow his sister to take his turn if she so much as bats her eyelashes (or shoves him off the chair, which also happens). So I had no problem allowing him a bit of time to play unfettered, and it gave me a break from listening to him recite the entire commercial for the Bedazzler.
The problem is that, apparently, you have to make sure you put your pet to bed and log off from your visits to Webkinz world when you’re done, or you run the risk of your pet… becoming ill? Dying? I’m not sure. And my son, he accidentally just closed out of the window when I told him his time was up.
That night, it was about twenty minutes after bedtime when I heard crying coming from his room. Concerned, I rushed in to see what was wrong. Was he sick again? No, he was crying because he realized that he hadn’t logged out, and he was afraid his Webkinz was going to die and be gone forever.
I comforted him, assured him that that wouldn’t happen, and got him settled down. And then I did something that I had never pictured myself doing: I went and logged on to Webkinz to check on his dog. He was still there, thankfully, but he was pretty hungry. So I fumbled through the menus until I figured out how to buy him some beef-flavored jellybeans (a favorite of cocker spaniels, it told me) and feed him. Then I put him to bed and logged off properly.
Yeah. I can’t believe it either. I’m going soft! But it’s one thing to say “Pick up all of these Legos off the floor” and another thing to have to say “Well, I’m sorry your dog died, but I guess you should’ve fed him.”