It seems my 4-year old is a gamer. I have never forcefully exposed my children to video games. The few times they have encountered them outside of the house have been little more than pleasant interruptions of their day. They get excited about them in the moment, and then never mention them again. And the rare occasion that I play a game at home on my computer, I tend to play slow boring strategy games that they try to show interest in, but they quickly slide off my lap and go away.

Last night, after putting the kids to bed, I decided to play a game in the basement. Not long after booting it up, Lydia came wandering down the stairs complaining about how she couldn’t sleep. So, I pulled her onto my lap and snuggled her onto my chest hopeing the slow pace of the game would put her to sleep.

It did not. In fact, she became quite animated. She watched intently asking questions about how it all worked. Why did I do that? What is the goal? She eventually came up with her own logical strategies for beating the game, and told me her brilliant theory about how the bad guys were probably all friends and slept in beds with dinosaur sheets, because dinosaurs are mean like they are. She tried to convince me to make all of the good guys wear pink, but claimed it was only because she wanted to be able to see them when it was dark out. It’s amazing how she can mix form and fashion.

A few minutes later I found a place to save the game and began to shut it down.

“Thanks for helping me play the game,” I told her, as I kissed her forehead.

She looked up and smiled a dreamy sleepy smile. “Yeah. Maybe someday, when you are dead and I’m not dead, You can leave me this game and I can play it.”

I blinked at her and smiled for a long stunned moment, then with a sigh I bundled her up in my arms like I used to when she was a baby and carried her up the stairs to bed.